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End times for doomsday-linked radio network?
Harold Camping, now 91, is the force behind Family Radio -- and a couple failed prophecies.
May 16th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

End times for doomsday-linked radio network?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Dealing with a struggling radio business – this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. By all his calculations, Harold Camping expected to be nearly two years into his Rapture revelry, hanging in heaven with God and the select others who’d been saved.

But when his predicted and vastly promoted May 21, 2011, Day of Rapture came and went, and the end of the world on October 21, 2011, didn’t pan out either, Camping lost his doomsday mojo. It didn’t help that he had another knock against him, having made a similar failed prophecy back in 1994.

By March 2012, the degreed engineer who’s spent more than a half-century studying the Bible admitted mistakes. He vowed to back off from the prediction business.

Now it seems Family Radio, the nonprofit Christian radio broadcasting network Camping started in 1959, may be foundering, according to an investigative story recently published in the Contra Costa Times.

Financial documents show that Family Radio's assets dropped by more than $105 million in less than five years, despite an influx of $85 million in donations over that time, the California newspaper reported. This, of course, was during the big push to spread the news about the end that wasn’t. The paper also said donations have tumbled nearly 70%  since May 21, 2011, spawning layoffs of longtime employees. And saddled with loans, a dwindling cash flow and alleged mismanagement, the network was reportedly forced to sell off its three biggest stations.

“You eliminate those three (FM stations) and, ultimately, the rest of it dies,” former employee Matt Tuter told the Contra Costa Times. “I believe they are killing it off.”

All of these financial struggles, however, come as the network grapples with losing the voice of its biggest star - Camping himself. He suffered a stroke in June 2011. And though he remains involved and still serves as the network's president, the flagship show he hosted, "Open Forum," is only running previously recorded programs.

It was through Family Radio – and its multitude of U.S. stations, satellite feeds, shortwave radio use, Internet reach and translation machine – that Camping’s teachings and 2011 predictions spread across the globe. His doomsday message was bolstered by a massive billboard campaign at a reported price tag of $5 million. There were also initiatives like Project Caravan, which dispatched teams of volunteers in RVs to warn the people.

CNN hopped on board one caravan and traveled with faithful ambassadors who’d given up everything for this cause.

The coordinator for Project Caravan, Ted Kim, left Family Radio soon after May 21, 2011. Once his ambassadors - still around and not raptured - had a place to go, he told CNN, his work was done.

Even though he doesn't work there anymore, that doesn’t mean he’s lost faith in the mission. He still believes spiritual judgment occurred in 2011 and that the world’s physical destruction is near.

Photos: Doomsdays throughout time

Kim, who is now home schooling his children and caring for his mother, suspects the supporters who fell away had erroneously put more stock in Camping than they’d put in the Bible or God himself.

But Tuter, the former employee who served at Camping’s side for years before he was fired in 2012, suggested to the Contra Costa Times that a demise of Family Radio may be deliberate. He said Camping made it clear to him in 1996 that he wanted the network to die when he did.

"He was very specific he did not want it to continue," Tuter told the newspaper. He said Camping confided in him a week before going into heart surgery: "God raised up Family Radio just as a platform for me!"

Tom Evans, who has taken over the network’s day-to-day reins since Camping suffered that stroke, could not be reached by CNN for comment. But he offered the newspaper a very different perspective than Tuter's. Evans said he hopes that Family Radio can move forward, leaving this end-of-the-world banter behind it.

“We want to be a comfort and reminder of God’s strength and mercy,” he said. “In the end, our founding mission is to proclaim the word of God.”

That mission, coupled with the network’s recent history, may not make them boom like they once did. But to Evans and those who are keeping the faith, neither should it portend doom.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: End times • Media • Radio

soundoff (1,487 Responses)
  1. Once More

    Why do you cover this crap?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Alias

      Why cover it?
      Because now there will be no one to warn us when the end is near!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  2. HeavenSent

    Jesus said He would bring unto us teachers, having itchy ears. Atheists on these articles keep throwing rocks and hitting quicksand. My camel-toe was happy to open early but it was painful. I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm feeding off your fat juices for all of eternity if you don't love Jesus.

    Amen.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      fake and boring

      go back to your bridge, troll

      May 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @Bootyfunk

      Keep stealing my handle to spew the lies of satan bootyfunk. You Atheists will stoop to any low level to celebrate your father, satan (the devil). The flea and tick shampoo is in my shower. You are simply envious of God and want to replace Him because of your pride.

      Amen.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @HeavenSent – "You Atheists will stoop to any low level to celebrate your father, satan (the devil)." ... I'm sorry, but how stupid do you have to be to believe the nonsense you just spewed?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @Lucifer's Evil Twin

      All you need to know about he world can be found in Jesus' letter to us, the Holy Bible which is God's Truth. You think yourself a God when you are only a child of Him. My 12-year-old daughter quit smoking in front of her kids. Try reading the Bible sometime and learn what love is, then you will know the Truth.

      Amen.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Negative press toward Christianity

    First time on this part of CNN. It's obvious there's an anti-Christian slant just by looking over the headlines in about 15 seconds. Sorry you dedicate a section to bash Christians.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      cry more. these are opinions. that's what blogs are for. all sides can write what they want on here. all sides are free to debate. i know, you wanted a blog where everyone just praises jesus - go to a christian site, not a news blog. sounds like you don't like hearing opinions that conflict with yours.

      and btw, your comments are bashing non-believers, hypocrite.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      You should maybe read more than the headlines. There is a lot of space given to pro and con arguments in regard to Christianity. Also Atheism. Many of the other religions are not as evenly covered.

      Or do you believe that all opinion articles posted here should be specifically in agreement with your opinion?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam

      aka "I didn't actually read any of the articles, but I am now an expert anyway. And I feel persecuted."

      May 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Alias

      Or maybe the christians really are a bunch of bigots and racists, and they deserve the bad press theyare getting.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Which articles are those?
      the one that talks about jesus was a man of the people and not afraid to get dirty?
      the one about christian youth vowing to end slavery?
      the one where the writer of the bible mini series defends his show?
      the one asking if christians are persecuted?
      or the one talking about christians being hated?

      May 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  4. scranton

    Turn it off already,

    May 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  5. CommonSensed

    The world will end tomorrow. So send me your money today.

    [Tomorrow comes]

    Oops. I meant tomorrow, tomorrow. So send me your money today.

    [Rinse/repeat]

    May 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Peter

      It is a lot like a bar where I live that always has a sign out front that says "free beer and burgers, tomorrow"

      May 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  6. His panic

    His actions, speeches and predictions were foolish. No one, nobody knows the date of Judgement day. Jesus said that not even him knew but only God the Father. Foolish people do panic, just like anybody else and animals. However those who really, really trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's only Son will not Panic. All others will panic including Doomsday Sayers, false prophets, idolaters, atheists and whoever else have you.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      God is not real. Jesus is a myth plagiarized from other religions. get up off your knees and think for yourself. you won't regret it.

      protip: you can be a good person without believing in invisible sky fairies.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The 'day of judgment' is when one dies yet this world's ending day(s) are set in stone via the sun's ending time when the sun will expand and consume all the sun's planetary vessels, obliterating all of mankind who are left that did not venture forth outwardly onto the celestial continuum within the spatial chasms of the stellar objectives where other habitable planets are to be found out. We have the time. We can do it.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "All others will panic including Doomsday Sayers, false prophets, idolaters, atheists and whoever else have you."

      I'm not too worried, the only thing that makes me panic is that people like you still believe this crap and would wish eternal torture on your fellow human.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, just laugh at their posts and move on.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Booty, "protip: you can be a good person without believing in invisible sky fairies."

      'invisible sky fairies'? Fairy nice gays? What's that? Fairy nice gays aren't fairy folks? Who'd have guessed!

      May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    The wrinkles in his fingers smelled of gasoline
    Tremble and swallow and wipe and push and beep
    The little smear looks more like a face than his face does
    Shut the visor. Up. Tap.
    He is staring at them and wondering. Do they have smears?
    He should have been smart enough to die before 50.
    He should have been just that stupid.
    Which pill switches this off?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  8. Ryan Evans

    why does it cost 100 million dollars to spout fearmongering nonsense into a microphone and broadcast it?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  9. Michael

    There's one person/being who knows when the end our species will be. Anyone who tries to predict it is ignorant and will ultimately be wrong.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Who would that be exactly?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      My money is on Santa.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    here's some footage of when this guy used to go house to house "converting":

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuet7GRv7Bo&w=640&h=360]

    May 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  11. Ken

    Guy should be in jail for fraud.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Ken's right
      Isn't there something about making a promise, taking money to support that ... then NOT delivering?
      Harold Camping is the eptome of wasted life. He has totally abused his position in society. I have more respect for the homeless than I do him. At least the homeless don't scr.ew their fellow man.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    This world will come to an end when its sun expands and swallows the planets in a stellar storm of sunny expansionism.

    Tomorrow will this happen? Not likely. Next month? Next year? Next decade? Next century? Next millennium? No one knows the straight and narrow truth of this world's finality. Science cannot say assuredly the time when this world will be swallowed up by an expanding sun. No person can predict this world's ending days. Be assured that some time in our future, this earth will be swallowed up by the sun's finality of expanding fury!

    May 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Max

      According to calculations our sun should be around for at least another 5 billion years. We got some time folks.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'According to calculations our sun should be around for at least another 5 billion years. We got some time folks.'

      yeah but you know how we always like to leave things until the last moment.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Carl King

    There is actually a new movie about Harold Camping premiering next month. http://www.danceswithfilms.com/slt_apocalypse_later.html

    May 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Daddy_2010

    I'd be in rapture if I had assets that could drop more than $105 million in less than five years!!!!!

    May 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Despite $85 in donations!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  15. Apple Bush

    He's got the whole world in his ears.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I mean literally "in" his ears. Part of his ears. His ears are BIG because the whole world is in there. Big ears.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • ROMUL ISM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Pay no attention ears. He still one of you of this earth not of us. He speaks absolute Truth. Be afraid. Secular ism troll.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "He still one of you of this earth not of us"

      That explains so much about you...we knew you couldn't be part of the same world in which we reside.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Shakingmyhead

    @Bootyfunk
    Jesus told his followers he would come again before they died – he didn't. he was wrong.

    Jesus = FAIL

    NOTE: Christians are still in this world, therefore your logic-FAIL.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • lol??

      No resurrection?? What scripture are you referencing??

      May 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • .

      Jesus specifically referenced THAT GENERATION. Try not to look too stupid.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28)

      it's pretty clear he's saying he would return before all of them died. he didn't. so he's a liar or a charlatan - you pick.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Salero21

      And don't be such a jerk like . is.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • pdqbach

      Riiiight. Since you know nothing of the Scriptures, just make stuff up.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well Shakingmyhead?

      it says some of those "standing here" – so he did fail, right? jesus is fail, go ahead, say it.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28)

      That just means that that some of the disciples standing there wouldn't die before Jesus took off for the last time.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no, it's doesn't. you are changing the message to suit your views. it's obviously NOT what jesus is saying. he's saying he will return before all of them die. he didn't. jesus = fail.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • pdqbach

      Bootyfunk... he said "His" kingdom not "ours", and not the "world". Obviously mere casual reading of the Scriptures did not give you revelation or even increase your reading comprehesion. Neither will paroting the misconceptions of fools. Careful study will at least give you some ability to have an intelligent discussion on the matter. I would hope that this is not your strong suit.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Salero21

      Keep it up, fools. Soon the hom.os will give you all the butt flu.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • lol??

      "Luk 17:20 -21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      Wonder what they were seeing, booty??

      May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • UhOh

      "Bootyfunk... he said "His" kingdom not "ours", and not the "world". Obviously mere casual reading of the Scriptures did not give you revelation or even increase your reading comprehesion. Neither will paroting the misconceptions of fools. Careful study will at least give you some ability to have an intelligent discussion on the matter. I would hope that this is not your strong suit."

      Another illerate xtian, obviously you don't know what it means since you're ignoring the word coming, which still didn't happen.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Salero21

      Jesus gets very angry when you read the Bible wrong.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • jeff

      He said a kingdom would be established. Not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual kingdom. He started the new testament church. Jesus never wanted to be a king on earth, that is why the people of the time killed him. they wanted a king on earth. He came for a spiritual king. Please post a scripture next time you try to bash anyone.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah! Post MORE scripture and imagine it says whatever you want it to. That seems to be working for everyone. I mean, why the hell else would there be tens of thousands of denominations and sects of christianity, otherwise?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      wow Booty, this was like a virtual bible being tossed at your head...they all seem to think the have the inside scoop on their book of multiple choice fairy tales and they're trying to 'warn' you of the potential consequences, all the while not having studied that book themselves or knowing a damn thing about the history behind it...it's a bunch of blind leading the blind.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • lol??

      That is one way of keeping em harmless.

      "Luk 12:53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

      That being said it ain't gonna stop the slaughter from the socie mob with a Qweirdo leading the pack just like in Sodom. Get out of the fully leavened churches, Christians. Go underground, like in Paul's day.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • lol??

      Sure TP, your history is so, ahem, trustworthy. My previous post was to sam.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • yujinchia

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but Mt 16:28 is not the second coming. It is the kingdom of God which Jesus also taught the disciples to pray for in Mt 6:10. This is clearly not the second coming:

      And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
      Luke 17:20-21

      So no, Jesus was not being a false prophet by saying some there would not taste death until they saw it. In fact most of them did see it come.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    notice there are not any Christians making comments on this blog. As strong as their denial is, they don't like defending the undefendable.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • lol??

      You wouldn't know a Christian if he took your leash off.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Walter

      Yes, because Christians don't comment on here, they know their faith is indefensible. How sanctimonious of you.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • pdqbach

      Camping is not a Christian. He's a charlatan.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Peter

      I think the proper description would be a Christian charlatan.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Start with Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ. The proof is overwhelming.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ."

      The book is hogwash. The Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Peter

      I agree, the proof that Jesus was not the son of any god is pretty overwhelming.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "proof"? LOL? instead of quoting a book that has "proof" in it, why not post the "proof" yourself. oh, i know why - because there is none.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      Well, there's no proof that Jesus ever lived. He could be a character in a story that took on a life of its own. If he did exist and was in those places preaching like the bible claims he was, then he was a political dissident in his time, speaking out against Rome the way he did, and he did it in a way that wasn't supposed to challenge Rome and get him killed. When his cult (the one he inherited from his cousin John the Baptist after he was beheaded) was just big enough to get the Romans' attention, Pilate knew that there could be NO dissidence in any form so he had Jesus arrested. There was no Barabbas-choice to be made. The Romans executed Jesus for being a political dissident. The religious aspect of the story came about later.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Even if the "end of the world" myths were true as written and/or interpreted, it still would not be the end of the world.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  19. dzerres

    What is it with realigious nuts and the end of the world? The world isn't going to end for another 5 billion years. Yes, we humans might not be around for that long but the physical world isn't going anywhere. Life on earth has been extinguished multiple times already only to snap back – there have been at least 3 different huge die offs none of them having to do with any god. Continents move and shift, volcanoes erupt world wide and spew poisonous gases, meteors impact and wipe out virtually everything and guess what? It starts all over again. Until our sun burns out billions of years from now this planet isn't going anywhere and no god, no mythical being is in control of that.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • lol??

      You know this how, prophet??

      May 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      Some people need to believe that all the bad things that happen actually happen for a reason and were therefore orchestrated for a reason by a powerful, all-knowing being who actually knows what he/she is doing. It's not fun to think that the bad things that happen are just bad things that happen for any other reason or for no reason at all. That idea defies the human nature of finding the answer to the question "Why?" So ancient people came up with gods and goddesses who were controlling things that were out of their control and it gave them a 'valid' explanation.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Wraith

      Six. Six extinction level events, actually. Throughout the course of the history of the Earth, there have been at least 6 extinction level events.
      (no, I'm not providing a reference. It's out there, Google will show you)

      May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Max

      He knows this because there is empirical data showing there has been at least 5 major extinction level events in the planet's history.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Ardea

    Good riddance. Anyone who looks forward to the end of the world needs to reevaluate their priorities.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • lol??

      What wurld??

      May 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.