Art Bell and Keith Rowland have made it official: There will be July fireworks in 2015 .. the talk show legend is going to go his own way.. A podcasting style as opposed to the terrestrial or even satellite radio he did previously. This time he is greeting the 21st century with open arms, working out private deals to play music, hoping that fans sign up in big numbers to help his return, and beaming himself to every smart phone that wants him.

The show will be called MIDNIGHT IN THE DESERT.

Bell posted two messages on Facebook tonight:
Midnight in the Desert is on the way! It is official now, Starting in late July we will begin streaming a full show from Mon-Fri 9PM- 12AM P.T. It will come to you Worldwide on the Internet in 64Kbps Stereo on Tune In which has a free app available for download right now.
Keith and myself have come to a agreement and the main Studio gear has been ordered. There is a great deal of work ahead and all of you who are friends and fans will have to help out when the time comes by spreading the word far and wide.
Wanna Take a Ride?
Art Bell

And the next:
From Keith: The Final Results, Art Bell IS Coming Back!
After extensive analysis and elongated negotiations with several suiters, we have decided that we can go ahead on the planned launch of “Midnight in the Desert” in late July, using a business model that will allow us to manage the entire operation on our own.
As was hinted by Art via his Facebook feed, we thought about it, compared the numbers and decided we could pay for bandwidth, pay the commercial licensing fees, pay our own overhead and still be financially viable, assuming the following conditions:

1. We have a considerable number of fans subscribe to a membership service that allows you to access the archived shows anytime via the website for a reasonable $5 / month.
2. We can sell advertising to be played during the breaks during the show. Not a lot, but enough to help pay for the music licensing during the LIVE FREE stream.
3. We can successfully curb pirated posts of our content to the Internet.
We’ll be operating under a certain specific licensing model that will allow us to ramp up from a “small webcaster” status into a large broadcaster in the future. It is imperitive that we earn enough through subscribers and ads sales to pay the bandwidth costs and music licensing fees. We believe that we can ramp up successfully using the current models in place at this time.
However, this happens to be the year (2015) that music industry participants are negotiating the next 5 years (2016-2020) rates for music licensing on the Internet. It is a wide open arena, and some license models may not survive. But we believe that we can operate under the current 2015 model for 6 months, and eventually fit into a 2016 model that is still cost effective.
We hope to recoup all of our investments within the first 6 months, so we can better endure the cost increases that will inevitably happen in 2016. If the fans support us with memberships and the advertisers are satisfied, we should be good for a long while.
Keep watching here for the launch date announcement and further updates as we can pass along. We’ll let you know when it’s time to promote the show.
— Keith and Art

A copy of the text was also placed on ARTBELL.COM to inform readers there of the return..

I do have a few critical thoughts regarding this. While on one hand I am celebrating the return, there's a little part of the 20th century boy in me that will miss the radio aspect. There are only about 2 shows I still actually listen to on radio. I have accepted the podcast world. I love it, as a matter of fact.. I think Art will be best, only though, on live radio. I am happy he is giving a free live stream with downloadable content afterwards...

As for the pirates? I don't know if there will be an efficient way to stop them. Recently Art Bell has posted on BELLGAB asking for users there to become his deputies around the NET this summer, scouring the sites of the hinterlands of HTML for any and all pirate streams. And then threatening legal action. But that is plugging a leaky hole in a flooding dam.. it's not just that easy.

As for the six month window, that is going to be a risky gamble.

And there are some, even on the ART BELL website, who are shaky on the return. After the quick SIRIUS XM quit--when fans were left trying to return hundreds of dollars in merchandise to the satellite company after DARK MATTER suddenly ended after Halloween--some fans have expressed hesitation to sign up for a monthly fee in return to hear Bell.  The other side of that coin, however, presents a much different picture of the situation at Sirius. Coast to Coast AM quickly showed up on the INDIE station after Bell left. Along with that, there seemingly were other things happening behind the scenes that perhaps even Bell will address this summer on MIDNIGHT IN THE DESERT..

I think I'll make a prediction: Those fans that are hesitant today will be signing up tomorrow. The talent that Bell has will be hard to pass up, especially when compared to the monotone moronfest that Coast to Coast AM has turned into over the past several years since Bell's 2010 final departure from the 'hot air' of that show.

Summer is set.


Fourth of July fireworks.
As the long and hot summer nights fill the air with heat and murky humidity, Art Bell will once again be broadcasting from the high desert for the world to hear. This time in a new century style..