10 Questions with ... John B. Wells
January 27, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
John B. Wells began his career shattering numbers in the afternoon drive slot at the legendary KZEW 98 FM in Dallas, Texas. Wells then went onto image top rated and high profile radio stations in the largest markets across the country and around the world with his distinctive voice and style. Wells' rising popularity as a guest host for the most-listened-to overnight national radio program, â€˜Coast to Coast AM,' landed him the permanent weekend host position from January 2012 to January 2014 where he began shattering numbers again. During his tenure on the program, Wells was often compared to â€˜Coast to Coast AM' originator Art Bell. An engaged and expert interviewer, Wells draws upon his experiences as a martial artist, musician, composer, writer, actor, aviator, researcher, biker and broadcaster to create a fascinating stage for radio's theater of the mind. With the launch of â€˜Caravan to Midnight' Monday-Friday, Wells may be in a position to shatter some numbers again on terrestrial radio.
1. You started way back in the day in radio, moved into imaging and announcing, then back to radio at "Coast to Coast AM" and now with your own show- what drew you to radio in the first place, and what led you back to host after so much success with voice work? Why radio?
As a voice over artist, visiting several studios every day put me in contact with a lot of people, from my agency staff to the writers, producers, AE's, clients and studio owners. When I acquired my own studio, everything went in-house, but there was still an engineer and a secretary. But as time went by, the tech got smaller and less expensive. Even telephone contact was supplanted by email, which I now consider to be an almost cowardly medium of communication except in emergencies or the rare long, lost contact. Eventually it had become just me and a computer.
After doing 6 or 7 hours of continual recording, I'd ask myself, "what did I accomplish today?" The answer â€“ "I made a living for my family," which was absolutely fine; but what drew me back into radio was the opportunity to do something more meaningful. There's a residual affect after doing a radio show that can feel rewarding. Working with people and the spontaneity of the medium also drew me back. Once I went onto "Coast To Coast AM," I realized how much I liked radio and how much I had missed it.
2. You can be characterized by several different careers and facets of what you do, from talk host to musician to investigative journalist, among others. How do you see yourself? If you try to explain who you are in a nutshell, what would you tell people? What do you see as your primary role?
As Christopher Walken in the movie "Man On Fire" said to Giancarlo Giannini, "A man can be an artist. It can be food...anything. It depends on how good he is at it." If I'm an artist, then my art is communication and â€˜Caravan To Midnight' is the masterpiece I'm trying to paint.
I get to discuss things that people are thinking about, or perhaps would if these subjects were brought to their attention. So my "role" is to provide the forum for free flowing ideas, theories, philosophies, etc. that are alternative to the norm. Sometimes it's as much fun to be the curator as the artist.
3. How does "Caravan to Midnight" differ from what you did at "Coast to Coast AM" and from other shows on the radio? How would you describe the show?
It doesn't differ very much from what I was doing on Coast. Just different than what 'Coast' wanted me to do.
4. You've interviewed a lot of people over the years -- of all the interviews, which stand out in your mind as the most memorable?
Without a doubt, the late Ray Bradbury, the visionary genius, writer and as it turns out prophet. In 1950, he foretold so much of what we're living through now.
At the end of our interview, he revealed his belief that conflict would not bring humanity down because the driving force, love, would take us into the future. It was the most hopeful and inspiring conversation I've ever been privileged to have.
5. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about America's future? Whether the country is on the right track or not right now, are you confident it CAN get on track or not?
I'm conditionally optimistic. We're living in an extraordinarily dangerous time in our history where without proper action, America as we know it will cease to exist. Our government has perpetrated so many things over the decades that cannot be acknowledged, things that cannot be undone.
As it is now, we are under more government duress than we were under England as its Colony. America will go forward, but absent a true Constitutional Rebellion I don't know what form it will take.
6. Who in your career have been the most important influences, mentors, or inspirations?
My father and mother. He taught me how to find the answers. He trained me how to think â€“ on my own and on my feet. He showed me there's always a pathway to the truth, and to be prepared for truth to take the strangest form.
Mom taught me creative determination. She told me "remember who you are."
7. What do you think is the most underreported news story right now? What should people be paying attention to but aren't getting the whole story?
What's consistently grossly underreported, or not reported at all, are the secret histories of our leaders, the people who we're supposed to respect, honor and revere. If the media uncovered those stories, the truth behind such events as Sandy Hook and Benghazi would be revealed.
Integrity, honesty and trust might be restored. But the mainstream media today completely lacks any sense of duty. The so-called free press has turned into the propaganda department for government and corporations. Effectively, the MSM is a government corporation.
8. Of what are you most proud?
I rarely use the word proud. I looked it up one day and its definition is not appealing to me. Instead, I'm most grateful for and appreciative of the opportunity to do something perhaps meaningful, certainly fulfillingâ€¦providing a forum for alternative expression with â€˜Caravan to Midnight' and sharing it with the world.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _____________.
â€¦consultation with the Great One.
10. What's the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best: "lean not on your own understanding." Which is true.
Worst: "it's all about money and product." Which may also be true. Just not true enough.