Family Radio Shutting Down?

I’ve always complained that apocalyptics never seem to pay a price for their date setting. Hal Lindsey, Pat Robertson and the others seem to keep on trucking despite having published numerous false predictions about the end of the world. Despite the damage they do to the lives and finances of their followers they never seem to sacrifice much.

However, it looks like Harold Camping may not be so lucky. After the failure he suffered a stroke, so it’s a bit snide to continue heaping abuse on him. But now it looks like his organization, Family Radio, may be in a death spiral. According to the Hudson Valley’s own Daily Freeman, it’s the “End of the line for Christian radio network that predicted 2011 rapture

The free spending before May 21 combined with the drop in donations thereafter has left a shell of a nonprofit two years later. Earlier this year, Family Radio sold the last of its three powerhouse East Coast FM stations — WFME in Newark-New York City, WFSI in Annapolis, Md.-Washington, D.C., and WKDN in Philadelphia — the nonprofit’s cash cows. The New York station was sold to Cumulus Media in January for $40 million, the Philadelphia station went the previous month for $22.5 million to Merlin Media, and the Annapolis station was sold to CBS in November for $8.5 million.

Family Radio kept most of its significantly smaller radio stations and other assets — even buying some smaller stations — but has trimmed the on-air staff and cut its international schedule by 80 percent, sources said. [...]

Former and current insiders allege the situation may be even worse than it appears, claiming donations have dropped almost 70 percent since the Rapture prediction proved incorrect, leading to numerous layoffs of longtime Family Radio staff members. Those insiders say the nonprofit mishandled the sales of the stations, reaping far less than they were worth, and is on the hook for millions of dollars to devotees who have loaned them money over the years. Since the failed prediction, at least two letters have been sent to the California Attorney General’s Office requesting an investigation into the station sales and Family Radio’s handling of donations. The office does not confirm or deny investigations.

“You eliminate those three (FM stations) and, ultimately, the rest of it dies,” said Tuter, a 55-year-old San Leandro, Calif., resident and longtime right-hand man to Camping, who was fired last year. “I believe they are killing it off.”

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