Art called me about a month ago to tell me that Premiere was using the occasion of his retirement to cancel Dreamland. This did not surprise me. When their parent company, Clear Channel, bought the Matt Drudge program, they were planning to cancel Dreamland. It was only the intervention of Art Bell and his partner Alan Corbeth that prevented this.
Instead, Clear Channel moved Dreamland to Saturday night. This was done with virtually no notice to stations. As a result, Dreamland lost about fifty stations and for a time the schedule was in chaos. But the efforts of Alan Corbeth's staff in the Medford, Oregon office got the situation fixed. However, Premiere never gave the program any affiliate support and made no effort to sell advertising on it.
The program has always been popular with listeners, and had reached a count of 240 stations, many of them large stations, at the time of its cancellation. However, because it was not being given any advertising support, it was not making money. Our only advertiser, Steven Halpern, has had success with the show, but this did not move Premiere to do anything more.
There are more than a few reasons for their lack of support of Dreamland. The first one is that they do not like my voice. They consider it too thin. For them, voice is first, content second. In the years I was host of Dreamland, Premiere never once tried to influence my content. In fact, if I wanted ideas about content, I had to actually solicit advice. I was free to do as I pleased.
I had a regular exchange of emails with Kraig Kitchin, the president of Premiere at first, but this ended when an announcement by me that listeners should inquire of Premiere if they had problems with the end of our live internet feed unexpectedly resulted in a flood of hostile email to Mr. Kitchin. I think that he blamed me for unleashing my listeners on him, which I certainly did not intend to do.
Another thing that rankled was the tremendous success of Unknowncountry.com. When I was with Keith Rowland, Premiere's webmaster, I could not get the attention I needed because he was stretched pretty thin just managing the huge Art Bell website. Then, when I left him, there were difficulties that boiled over on-air, and this did not make Mr. Kitchin happy, either.
Over the years, Unknowncountry has grown into the largest and most popular website of its kind in the world, far eclipsing all the others, and this success has been an irritant. The Whitleysworld website that I had with Premiere got about thirty thousand hits a month. Last month, Unknowncountry.com got seventeen million hits, and it is experiencing an explosive growth rate of 250% per year.
This success screams that I am some sort of missed opportunity, and far outstrips the success of Dreamland. The site reaches a much larger audience than the broadcast radio program.
The reasons for the cancellation, however, go deeper than these minor irritants. The first reason is that, while the show has been popular with listeners, my approach to radio interviewing scares management because it is so different from what usually succeeds. Success comes from the simple, the shocking and the extreme, not the complex, the provocative and the moderate. In addition, the corporate culture of Clear Channel Communications, of which Premiere is a part, is ideologically committed, and I am not. I am suspicious of extremes of both left and right. History--which is in the process of repeating itself at present--shows that they do nothing but harm. So I will not present the kind of politically colored programming that might have made Clear Channel value me more.
The second reason has to do with Saturday night itself. Dreamland owned Saturday night. There was nothing else in radio doing anything at all in that time period, and the other networks I went to in my effort to get the show picked up were unanimous in their verdict: it's just not a time period worth working for. They all felt that they could make the show profitable. But the amount of profit that could be gotten out of a Saturday night program just would not make the effort worthwhile.
Worse, nobody thought that they could succeed in moving the program back to Sunday night. Although the programming that Clear Channel has in there now is not exactly burning up the ratings books, it is ideologically congenial with the rest of the company, and that means that they will go above and beyond the call to preserve it.
I am not going to stop doing Dreamland, as long as I can afford to run it. My own personal commitment to my work is tremendous. This is because of the years I spent in relationship with the visitors, and my respect for them and the nobility of their aims. The lady whose portrait appears on the cover of Communion is a very real person. I consider her to be the best, the most conscious, the most brilliant and the strongest person I have ever known. She represents an ancient excellence that has placed touching faith in mankind, and I will never betray her charge to me, and never stop carrying out the task she put to me.
I also know that my life and work follow a plan created by her and her kind, and the brilliant world that stands silently behind them. For example, tt was an agony for me to have my cabin in upstate New York taken from me, but coming to Texas opened important new horizons. I believe that I was sent here primarily to meet and work with Bill Mallow, which I did for seven years. His recent passing ends my reason for being here, and tells me that there will be other changes in my life as well. What form they will take, I do not know.
A deeper reaons behind the cancellation may have to do with a process of filtering that I have seen at work in my connection to the public. I think that people are being winnowed out, and that my work is some kind of a concealed testing process. Communion was read by twelve million people worldwide. But then something happened. I had been a popular, well and widely reviewed author. Communion even received a good review in the New York Times.
I was told that the Times Book Review received a lot of angry comment from the paper's own science staff over this review. My book was taken to be a lie written to get money, a literary fraud. Nothing I said could change this because nobody of any note culturally dared to disagree, not even those who knew the falsity of the charge.
Nothing I have ever written since Communion has received wide review. Instead, the mad culture of the press has taken it upon itself to be silent about Whitley Strieber, or publish nasty reviews, in order to punish me for my alleged literary fraud.
As a result, Transformation was read by five million people, Breakthrough by just six hundred thousand. By the time Confirmation came along, my media exposure had degenrated into a grotesque identification of me as in the rectal probe man, thanks to cartoons like South Park and the Simpsons. When I appeared on Politically Incorrect in 2001, I was greeted by a sleazy, testosterone-soaked comedian hammering away at me with rectal probe jokes. This is what was left of Whitley Strieber in the media. The general public now dismisses me, if not as a fraud, then as an idiot.
But the process of filtering is not just generated by the narrow-minded intellectuals and brainless fools of the media. It is orchestrated, I think, by the visitors. For example, even though my website gets hundreds of thousands of visitors, barely two thousand people have ever bought a copy of the Key, and only one thousand six hundred have bought the Path, and many of them have complained that it is 'too hard.' These people went on my own message boards with their complaints, and effectively killed the Path, which was undoubtedly their intention. The book is profoundly, deeply freeing of the human spirit, and there are so very many people who don't want that, who fear it in their own souls, or who are consciously opposed to it, that such a tool has very little chance of being taken up by many. (If on reading this, you want to take it up, as you should, click here.
The visitors are using me and my work as a kind of sieve. In the end, they will find the few hundred people who can actually use the path and live on it, and if contact comes in this generation, it will be these people who lead mankind into a new world. I know from experience what they will be like: gentle, open-minded people with impeccable spirits.
Not only the visitors are isolating me. The dark side of this is doing the same thing, just as it is doing everything possible to spread fear about the visitors, and will do more. The closer contact comes, the more it will come to seem that they are a murderous, bizarre and unspeakable horror. That, however, is false, and it will always be false.
However, it is also true that their dark side is part of them. This is not a simple matter, and simple minds are going to fail in their efforts to grapple with it. How could it be that something so good would also, for example, be responsible for ugly things like mutilations of animals and possible murder?
I can only answer that question indirectly: did you know that scientists do not understand why the night sky is dark? We should see nothing by a uniform bright glow. Instead, we see stars shining out in darkness. When we understand the physics of of the night sky, we will also understand the true nature of evil, and why the visitors would manifest in such a contradictory way--why they would have to.
The aim of the dark side, insofar as it is concerned with me, is to silence me because I speak on behalf of human freedom, the advance of mankind into the cosmos, and the moral elevation of the human spirit.
It has the high ground: the government and corporate America, insofar as they are is involved in contact, serve the dark side. Both do so for the same misguided reason: they worry about maintaining control over the population in the context of the new world that contact would bring.
If the government cannot deny the existence of the visitors, it will spread false stories that it has an 'inside track,' in the form of secret contact with them. It will also spread stories that they are a dangerous presence, and that, if we are to survive contact, we must look to our government for protection.
The truth is that the government doesn't have any sort of an inside track. What it has is fear, misinformation and confusion. The people who claim that the visitors are a hive, for example, or that they are a bunch of cruel, emotionless monsters carrying out mindless scientific experiments on us, or that they eat souls or even that they eat us, are serving an official purpose: they are spreading the fear that will induce people to turn to the government for help if contact ever comes.
In reality, there are a lot of ordinary people out there who know more than the most highly cleared intelligence agents and military personnel. This is especially true among people who are soul-aware, in contact, and in control of their own imaginations. They are mankind's leading edge, these people.
I am not going to depart too far in this entry from the reasons that Dreamland lost its broadcast outlet. But the way in which the program approached the visitors, with a calm and open-minded attitude toward both the light and dark side of the phenomenon, cannot have been appreciated by government insiders. My version of Dreamland was about the end of the dark, warlike and controlling government that we have now, and the establishment of a new commonwealth of free souls, the band of human sisters and brothers who one day will venture out into God's tremendous garden, taking with them the superb gift that this earth is seeking to give to the universe: the soul of man.
Insofar as it was, in the depths of our spiritual reality, devoted to that aim, which is also the aim of my being and my life, Dreamland was hated and feared, and doomed to be silenced.
But--we're like roaches, people like you and me. Step on us and we learn to flatten ourselves out. Spray us and we breed children who actually thrive on the spray. Irradiate us and we learn to eat radiation for our supper. We will not be silenced, never quite, never entirely.
And, in the end, somehow, the future will find a way to accommodate the human soul in the glory for which it has been created.
A NOTICE FROM UNKNOWNCOUNTRY.COM
The latest Dreamland Online appears every Saturday afternoon at 3PM. You can listen any time thereafter as long as a given program remains available, usually for a month. You can turn off your computer, then later return to the point at which you stopped listening at any time.
For those of you who want to begin to listen to Dreamland Online and have never done this before, it's quite simple. You need to install Windows Media Player on your computer and then click on the Listen Now button on the upper right hand side of the masthead. If you have WebTV, you cannot listen to internet broadcasting of any kind, but there is a Windows Media Player for the Mac. We also maintain a station at Live365.
To get Windows Media Player, go to the Microsoft Download Center.
To listen on Live365, go to the Dreamland Live365 Station.
If you can't make either alternative work, please call your computer's customer support line.
NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.