Bell was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on June 17, 1945. He was a medic during the Vietnam War.
According to the Coast to Coast AM website, Bell was an FCC licensed radio technician at age 13. The website also said that Bell set a Guinness World Record for a solo broadcast marathon, at more than 116 hours, while working as a DJ on KSBK in Okinawa, Japan. That record has since been broken; the current mark of 205 hours, 2 minutes, 54 seconds was set in 2016 by Stefano Venneri on Radio BBSI in Alessandria, Italy, Guinness said on its website