I know this isn't going to be popular, but I believe if you stop and think about it, and abandon your prejudices, you can't help but agree.
Art Bell could not host a live show in 2012 with live callers.
Before you skewer me, roast me on your spits, and dump me in the fires of hell, hear me out. There's two reasons I don't think he personally could do it for very long. If you listen to his shows over the years, you become aware of two things he cannot cope with.
The first is people who still have their radio on once he unmutes their channel and begins talking to them. His reaction grew from mild annoyance in 1995 to outright animosity towards the callers by 2004. I'm sure a lot of this had to do with a decade of people not turning off their radios. It also had a lot to do with the only people calling in being less than intelligent, stoned, drunk, or first time callers. Art is smart enough to know it's going to happen most of the time, but by the end of the show, his voice is rising to a fever pitch and he is counting down to the dreaded hang up like a fevered, new age wiccan priestess. You an't expect any different from the audience in general now, so it would be a huge point of contention for him now, as it was then.
Secondly is Art's phobia of bad phone connections and cell phones. How many times over the last few weeks of listening to the live stream have I heard Art inform someone that they are calling on a cell phone (as if they don't already know it) and that they need to get a land line. Even GUESTS over the years are subjected to the phone humiliation, and if you notice, it happens more and more often as the shows go on.
How in the hell could Art do an open lines show in 2012? He couldn't, unless he has somehow resurrected Father Malachi and been excorcised of these two very important things. Well, let me rephrase that. He COULD do a show, but how long would it take for new listeners to tune out because they got tired of him hanging up on 99% of the callers because they were on cell phones and the other 1% not having their raidos off?
He wouldn't be enjoying it, and I suspect most of the avid fans on this site wouldn't enjoy it either, once the novelty of hearing him on the radio wore off. It's like going to see a band you loved 20 years ago. Sure they play the same songs, and it's ok, but in the end you walk away with the feeling that they should have just left it alone.
Now please, before you flame me and damn me to hell. Art and C2C impacted my life in a great way during the mid to late 90's . I think he is a radio god. This post is just my opinion and I don't think I know anything more than anyone else. Just some thoughts.