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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  • Andrew Hall

    I’m not sad to hear this.

  • PsiCop

    I’d love to think the plunge in donations was caused by the prophecy’s failure, but it may not have been. It might have been due to Camping himself suffering the stroke around the same time and no longer being on the air. If the followers who donated money were something of a “cult of personality” which depended on Camping himself and his presence behind the mike, then donations naturally would have dropped off … prophecy or no prophecy.

    Just idle speculation, not sure if it can be confirmed or not.

  • Jasper

    I have big plans for the 2-year anniversary of the end of the world

  • Christopher Westlund

    I used to listen to Camping on the Philly station and on shortwave, where he had a strong presence as well (mostly aimed at overseas audiences I assume). His call in show was incredibly baffling and his theology so batty and I found it strangely entertaining. I’ll give him one thing—he was remarkably consistent in his beliefs and didn’t shy away from the asshole implications of them much.
    Sad to say the Philly station turned into FM hard right talk radio so I’m not sure it’s much of an improvement on that front.

    We had a couple of his diehards in our neighborhood, one with a decked out car and another (maybe the same one I suppose) with a neon yellow hooded sweatshirt pointing to the end day on 5/21. I always wanted to find him after that, but never could.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Maybe he got raptured.

  • Richard Raymond

    I wish to hell these xian nutjobs and the rest of the jesusites would hurry up and get zapped to their imaginary place in the universe so the rest of us could live in sanity.

  • Peter

    Don’t they realize that god is in a different time zone than earth?

  • James McMullen

    Wait a minute. . . .they were -still- getting thirty percent of their donations after that massive, public, complete and total epic failure of a prophecy went down? Really?!? Like an entire third of the people who were suckered in by the scam still haven’t gotten a clue?

    Actually, I guess I’m not totally surprised. After all, about a third of Americans still identify as Republicans, despite getting similarly screwed and defrauded.

    • Brian K

      I don’t know. After a term and a half of Obama (George W Bush’s thrid term in important respects), a significant plurlity of people still identify as democrats. Which is more foolish?

  • James McMullen

    Speaking of which, I totally want one of those yellow Judgement Day t-shirts to wear to parties. Anyone know where I can get one?

  • evodevo

    Too bad it isn’t happening to the rest of “family” fundie radio.

  • Jamie McQuinn

    No, it’s ok. You can pile on the guy with the stroke. He deserves it.