Monday, April 3, 2000 | 9:54 a.m.
Art Bell, a Southern Nevadan who hosts America's most popular overnight radio show, has announced for the second time in 18 months that he is quitting his program.
Bell announced Saturday his retirement from radio. He said his last show, "Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell," which deals with such subjects as conspiracies, mysteries and space aliens, will be April 26.
Bell also made the announcement on his Internet website. There, he told of the abduction of his son, Art Bell IV, in May 1997 and the then-16-year-old's rape at the hands of an HIV-positive substitute teacher, Brian Lepley, who was sentenced in 1998 to life in prison.
Bell, who broadcasts from his home in Pahrump, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, said that when his son "came to a crisis point" on Oct. 13, 1998, he resigned. Both his resignation and return were blanketed in a shroud of mystery, fueling speculation that it was a publicity stunt designed to increase his audience of 15 million listeners.
Bell said he is retiring permanently from his program that is heard on more than 400 stations nationwide because of false allegations that he is a child molester. Bell said he continues to receive on-air calls asking about that rumor.
Bell's show will continue with a new host, said Premiere Radio Network Inc., which syndicates "Coast to Coast."
The Associated Presscontributed to this report.