Thursday, Oct. 29, 1998 | 11:16 a.m.
Radio talk show host Art Bell returned to the airwaves Wednesday night, but kept mum about the reason he signed off two weeks ago.
"This is 'Coast to Coast' a.m., and I'm Art Bell, and I never thought I'd be saying that again," Bell began his show.
Listeners hoping Bell would reveal the "threatening terrible event" that occurred to his family and prompted him to quit his show on Oct. 13 didn't hear any more details than Bell disclosed last week.
"There's probably more theories about why I did it then why or who shot Kennedy," he said.
Bell, 51, again said he signed off because of the event that occurred to his family one year ago and subsequent events.
Early last week in a statement to his listeners, Bell said he hoped the problem could be resolved and he could return to his show. Then on Friday, he announced he would broadcast on Wednesday.
"That event occurred and became an absolute crisis on the night that I signed off, actually prior to it - something that I thought would take my complete, full-time attention and for a period of time of course it did ... and so it was a very sad thing for me."
Bell thanked his listeners for sending letters, faxes and e-mails offering support.
Bell, who broadcasts from the small town of Pahrump, Nev., 60 miles west of Las Vegas, has cultivated a worldwide audience of insomniacs who offer an earful on theories ranging from space aliens to conspiracies involving the FBI or CIA.
His show reaches more than 400 stations nationwide and had 15 million listeners.
Bell said his show didn't lose one affiliate through his two-week break, but actually gained three stations.
"During this time my network stepped in and helped me and that's what has made possible my return tonight," he said. "It's not that what happened didn't happen. It's not that what happened still is not very serious and life-threatening because it is.
"And obviously I would love to be able to tell you about it, believe me I would, but if I did I would immediately harm my family, and so I'm not going to do that."
Bell talked about the swarm of news reporters that have surrounded his home in Pahrump since his announcement. He said several media outlets, including NBC and some Las Vegas television stations, have found out the threatening event Bell has referred to, but have not reported it.
"My guess is that this will all become public in the next few weeks," he said, adding that he would then talk about the event.
"It is on its way to getting better, something I didn't think could occur. In fact, I really anticipated the worst."