ART BELL PULLS HIS WEBSITE AND DITCHES LONGTIME WEBMASTER.
Is his newest return over before it even begins?
Controversy began days ago when Dark Matter Network radio host Jimmy Church posted a photograph of himself standing with Coast to Coast AM host George Noory. The message that accompanied it: He would host Sunday’s upcoming Coast to Coast AM program. The outcry was immediate; fans of Church on the Dark Matter network smelled a rat.. and foes said it was what they expected.
The notable part of Chruch’s sudden apprenticeship with Noory is that his Fade to Black program is on the network built by Art Bell’s webmaster Keith Rowland. The Dark Matter network was also the expected vehicle for Art Bell’s return to streaming radio in 2015 when his Sirius XM non compete clause expired.
Last night, a seemingly angry Art Bell took to Facebook to announce several things, including his website being taken down and any mention of his name ont he Dark Matter page being scrubbed.
In totality, Art Bell wrote this to his fans and followers,
The Dark Matter Network was established as a Forum to showcase new Talent and as a place where after my two Year Non-compete was done (In July next Year) that I could begin streaming live, it was run by Keith Rowland and of course a alternative to Coast. In the last few days I began getting email’s from many of you who could not believe that one of the Talk Host’s on DM was invited to do a Guest Host gig on Coast. This was done I am sure to irritate me which it did, however the straw that broke the camels back was that Keith did not have the courtesy to call me. When I called him, his response was “don’t worry he will stay on DM and Coast”. At that point I decided to pull my Web Page and asked Keith to remove my name from the site. This is not about Jimmy Church, I wish him all the luck in the World, this is about trust in relationships.
Where this leaves me in terms of where I can stream a show now is a open question. What I do know is I have to be able to trust the people I work with.
The message was strong: A rift has seemed to develop now between Bell and Rowland–the man who has been Art’s right hand webmaster since the early days of the internet all the way to the Sirius XM shortfall.
Rowland himself posted brief responses to the Bell message on Facebook:
So because I didn’t call Art and advise him that Jimmy would appear on C2C, I’m tossed under the bus, even though many DMRN hosts and guests have appeared on C2C already
Rowland went on to write,
The appearance of Jimmy Church on C2C was to promote the Dark Matter Radio Network, the place where Art Bell was to return. I’m sorry that Art did that see that as its purpose.
I would love to resolve the issue, but Art doesn’t trust me anymore. I’m sorry that I wouldn’t be part of the Art Bell web site any more. I am running Dark Matter Radio Network as a basis for Art, but maybe that wont happen.
The always popular and readable BellGab website immediately lit up overnight with questions as to why ArtBell.com was suddenly unavailable. Some argued it was an error with the DNS. Then the truth came out when a message poster who emailed Rowland said that Rowland’s response to the web troubles was , “Ask Art.” Other posters guessed correctly what the problem was: The Jimmy Church exploration of Coast.
Apparently, as was expected by some watching the affair develop from the beginning, Rowland did not bother to mention to Art Bell that one of his radio allies was about to cohort with the enemy.
This newest event seems to continue the process of Coast to Coast AM constantly one upping the talk show giant. Bell left Coast to Coast and George Noory took the program into a new direction. Fans of Bell often will complain that Noory bastardized the Bell traditions, like open lines and Ghost to Ghost. After Bell came back to SiriusXM radio for a short stint, Coast began plucking off guests from Bell. Even more, they worked behind the scenes with Sirius radio and when Bell left, Coast to Coast AM took over the time slot he had occupied immediately. And now this newest event, plucking hosts away from the Dark Matter network, is the newest dagger.
Some will argue, including Jimmy Church himself, that when a big named national radio show calls and asks to host, you don’t say no. That may be true. But in Art Bell’s circle, it seems that trust weighs far higher in the pecking order than fame or fortune. The private and often quirky Art Bell’s beef does nto seem to be with Church, it is apparent that the focal point of the newest controversy is his relationship with long time friend Keith Rowland.
Those who understand the situation know this: A host being taken from the DARK MATTER network to host the enemy terrestrial radio program is a big deal. For Church, it could be the deal of a lifetime. It may begin a new career as a potential weekend host on a radio program with over 500 affiliates. But for Bell, it apparently is something he wanted to know about. He did not find out for Rowland, but instead fans on Facebook who undoubtedly expressed anger in a multitude of messages.
So where does this leave Bell?
Up in the air, as so often happens.
The planned return to radio was going to be done in a new medium for him: Live streaming. However, this rift seems to have stalled that plan.
There is a number of opinions being expressed on forums across the Internet, most notably on Bellgab. Some are angry at Bell himself, arguing that this is simply another temper tantrum and that he was looking for a way out of coming back. The majority however saw it coming. When Church announced his no professional relationship with George Noory–a man he once did not say many kind things about–the writing was on the wall: He wants to move on from Dark Matter. Keith Rowland neglected to tell Art that.
It’s tough being a fan of Art Bell. You never quite know where he stands on certain things. And when you do think you have it figured out, he takes his website down and exits the stage again.
As the famed ‘bateman’ on Bellgab said today: “Someone shit the bed big time here.” Perhaps the perfect summation to Church on Sunday.