home
RSS
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. james of the house

    everyday is doomsday for 250 thousand people across this planet... its called death.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  2. Fake christian

    I'll argue for the bible, just to make it interesting.

    ALRIGHT YOU PAGAN PIGS!
    WHO WANTS TOBE TOLD THEYARE GOING TO HELL FIRST!

    (just forgive some typos, i kind of broke a finger)

    May 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • james of the house

      hopefully the middle one... lol

      May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Fake christian

      yes. But my wife loves the way i bandaged it.
      And since we're married, jesus thinks it's okay.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Fake christian

      I'll try harder –

      Just like when god said "an eye for na eye" – He didn't men you had to exactpeotic justice on everyone. He meant not to take excessive revenge. an eye for an eye, but no more.
      Gawd gave rules for owning slaves not to oenly promote slavery, but to show his chosen and rightous people to treat the slaves as people and not like animals.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I've been to hell before... it's called Catholic Mass.... barely escaped with my wallet...

      May 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Fake christian

      Oh no evil twin – you have not seen hell until you go to a RCC mass at a cathedral on EASTER!

      May 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  3. jimbenison

    Religion is the world's oldest and most successful organized crime. It's a con that has somehow managed to be legally sanctioned by governments around the world.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's brilliant. the muggers wait for you to come to them and GIVE them your money. absolutely brilliant.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  4. him

    Teaparty dude?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  5. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Does any one know, last day of human on earth? No, it is nothing more than hindu secular ism, crooked self center ism of hindu atheists, crook self centered, and no one is impacted by hindrance, crookedness of hindu Pundits, crook tricksters, but hindu secular s, stupid self centered., taking hindu sanatans, crook goon men as their gods.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Heart of infidel, ism, is HALAL, ok to eat raw or cooked, per SHARIA.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Please spare us your continuing idiocy.. pull the pin on your vest already...

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

      so if you say Allahu akbar as you cut out a mans heart it becomes Halal?

      May 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      hindu, hindu hindu. er, hindu, hindu. HINDU!, hindu hindu.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • fintastic

      Those darn pesky hindu's again...........

      May 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  6. Bootyfunk

    High Times > End Times

    May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • sam

      Agreed.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • meifumado

      Oh hell yeah!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Buddy Munro

    Your use of the word "foundering" is incorrect... The word "foundering" means (1) to cave in, (2) to sink below the water, (3) to fail utterly, or (4) to go lame. Perhaps you meant to use the word "floundering" which is (1) to struggle or move with difficulty, as in mud; or (2) to behave awkwardly or make mistakes. One who flounders does not fail completely but merely struggles.

    I know its tough to write when you don't have a command of the language, but keep trying, you'll get it right someday.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • sam

      Absolutely, Buddy. One's command of language can grow and change over time. Unfortunately, no matter what, you will still be an asshole.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Harald

      "I know its tough to write when you don't have a command of the language, but keep trying, you'll get it right someday."

      lol....do you understand the difference between "its" and "it's" ?

      Perhaps you should double-check your English skills before criticizing others. Anyway, keep trying, you'll get it right someday 😉

      May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Harald

    Getting rid of such nonsense isn't really a big loss for anybody.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  9. rosiegadi

    End of Times? That is just so totally laughable it is beyond belief. Here is the answer to End of Times – when you die, time ends FOR YOU. The Earth will be around for a few more years.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Nodack

    Who knew the doomsday business was so lucrative. Well at least until your doomsday date passes and you have to come up with another doomsday to promote. When that doomsday comes and passes and you have to make up a third doomsday that comes and goes then you are starting to stretch your believability just a tad.

    Religion, the word of man trying to convince other men that it is the word of God.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "You Atheists will stoop to any low level to celebrate your father, satan (the devil)." Very succint... stealing that line. Thanks.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Well that's not what I meant to paste there... "Religion, the word of man trying to convince other men that it is the word of God" What a good line.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Science

    Where is chad ?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Colin

      Even Topher would do.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Science

      Collin .................should we sart a LIST ?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • science

      Oops ................start

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

      Sleeping off his meds.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • .

      Spewing his nonsense on the other thread.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  12. TheGrimJester

    Who says CNN doesn't report good news?

    May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Science

      Trying to locate chad before it ends and his friend the red debvil !

      May 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I'm sad... that I didn't say that first!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  13. Doctorstrangeluv

    Christianity .... 2000 years of "Any day Now". Camping, along with everyone in the religion industry should be behind bars for duping ignorant Sheeple out of their money and their self-respect

    May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      lol - sad but true.

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

      More like 2000 of sitting on the edge of their seats, which might go a long ways toward explaining their irritable reactions to so many changes that have happened since then. Time continues to march forward, bringing liberal advances, despite Jesus' promise that it wouldn't. How terrible for them.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  14. Reckless

    The Bible also warned of false prophets.....

    May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      It also mentions unicorns.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and talking donkeys.

      Dr. Seuss books have more wisdom per page than the bible in it's entirety.

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

      Don't forget the dragons!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Science

      And the talking snake in the tree/grass

      And chad said...................do not forget the talking donkey !

      May 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Science

      Remember that comment Chadie ?.............POKE

      May 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    anyone seen MarJoe? it's a doc,umentary showing how evangelists rip people off from an inside perspective. he was named MarJoe after Mary and Joseph by his nutjob religious parents. very interesting film if you want to see how these snake-oil salesmen work.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IUTlYgqeDM&w=640&h=360]

    May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I have watched the whole documentary. Outstanding.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Gabberwocky

    I am a Christian and I will defend the Bible and God's word against anybody.

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

      sounds like you had a high-energy breakfast.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      But how do you know that it's God's word? How do you know that it's not just a collection of stories copied and rewritten from even more ancient civilizations and given a religious twist? There's no other evidence other than a bible which has been re-written and re-translated time and again.

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

      Exodus 21:20-21, god justifying slavery. Please defend that.

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

      "God's word against anybody."

      So without using the bible prove that it's God's word, otherwise you'll be using circular logic.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      LOL "gods word" is really just the word of a bunch of MEN over many years, then edited by more men over more time.

      Writers were not inspired by god, there is no evidence of this, only the word of the authors.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If your god is all powerful he wouldn't need you to defend anything..

      May 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No you won't Gabber, Christians never do. They just never do.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Gabberwocky

      Look, I understand you don't accept the Bible or Christianity. I don't give a sh.it. What I don't get is how much time and effort you spend bashing Christian beliefs. You don't believe – great – shut up and fvck off. I don't run around telling atheists how stupid they are.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • ellid

      That's nice. What does that have to do with a failed prophet?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      You call that defending? LOL. I would call that retreating.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      " What I don't get is how much time and effort you spend bashing Christian beliefs. "

      Telling you the history of your religion is hardly bashing it. stop being buthurt over man made stories, research your religion and think for yourself for once.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Gabberwocky

      Of course, all throughout history, Christians killed millions..bla,bla,bla. I think you will find human history to be bloody across all beliefs and nonbelief.

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

      How could anyone trust a man that looks like a 91 yo Alfred E. Newman. What, me worry??

      May 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      give your own advice to christians, Gabby - if someone doesn't already believe in god, turn around and shut up. but that's impossible for christians, isn't it? Gabby doesn't like hearing other opintions. doesn't mesh well with the cult brainwashing.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'shut up and fvck off. I don't run around telling atheists how stupid they are.'

      you know part of 'god's word' in the bible, that you want to defend, specifically states that those the revile, or hate, will be barred from heaven right?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Colin

      Bottyfunk. Oh spare me the "poor me, one time 5 years ago a woman in my office treid to convert me bulls.hit." There are over 200 million Christians in the USA. If a common trait was converting others, you would be engaged on the topic every day.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • WDS

      Please defend:
      Deuteronmy 21
      10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Colin

      damn it, I blew my cover!!!!!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Colin

      Trying to argue their side and dropped my pseudenum

      May 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Mark

      @Gabbewocky – wow, anger and profanity. Not very "Christian" behaviour at all. In fact, it's the typical hypocrasy of religious zealots who say one thing, then act in a totally different manner. It is actually people like you, who do the most damage and disservice to Christianity.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Colin? that you? can't be.

      whoever it is, use your brain. it's not once 5 years ago. someone knocked on my door last sunday morning and woke me up to tell be about a sky fairy that doesn't exist. so why don't you spare me? christians dip their hands in every pot they can. 10 commandments in the courthouse? yeah, that's shoving your myths down others' throats. seeing god on our money - same thing. prayer in the classroom? same. there are a million more examples. check out politics. lol.

      and remember, i'm replying to someone saying christians get bashed - but i suppose you think that's true?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • sam

      Aw, Colin. LOL!

      May 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • meifumado

      Forget how to "turn the other check"?

      not a very good Christian are you?

      And by the way you need to be careful here, There are plenty of Vorpal Blades here to cut you down.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • PaulB

      Gabberwocky
      The vast majority of combatants in both world wars were Christians and the communist atheists who were involved were fighting Nazis, who were Christians. Tell me that people's Christianity helped make those wars less brutal.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • meifumado

      Cheek*

      May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Gabberwocky,

      We are inundated with religious messages every day from all over. You yourself started the post with "I am a Christian and I will defend the Bible and God's word against anybody". Don't be surpirised when you get a response...and then when your defense is "just shut the fvck up" it really just makes you a dovche.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    religion actively teaches people to be stupid. biggest rip-off artists in the world are smiling christians with their hand out. RUN!!!

    May 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Before I was born, there was no world.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      before i was born, there was no s e x y.

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

      Yes, but after you left, I brought it back.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sorry I am distracted. That dude has big-ass ears man.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • meifumado

      All the better to hear you with, My dear.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  19. Colin

    There are not enough Christians defending the "Good Word" left on this site. We're down to about half a dozen. Chad, god bless him is virtually the only one who actually engages any more!

    I never thought I would hear myself say this, but, I want more Christians.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Kill eeveryone that isnt like me! Then watch them burn for ETERNITY. god love you! There, does that help?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      But what kinds of Christians? There are all kinds. They range from the Catholics to the Baptists to the Unitarians. Each one believes differently, yet all call themselves Christian. What's truly amazing is that none of them really believe in the things Jesus did. They've warped Christianity into their own self-involved world view.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @Colin

      You can keep stealing my handle like the other atheists on the web site and post all the lies about Jesus you want, but you will still have to face judgment by God and you will fail. My camel-toe's iPhone is on vibrate. If you want more Christians, try God's house (a church) instead of these articles filled with unbelievers.

      Amen.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • LMAO!

      "You can keep stealing my handle like the other atheists on the web site and post all the lies about Jesus you want, but you will still have to face judgment by God and you will fail. My camel-toe's iPhone is on vibrate. If you want more Christians, try God's house (a church) instead of these articles filled with unbelievers."

      That's why you spend so much time on here spewing your nonsense. LOL!

      May 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • lol??

      What kinda of condiments do ya need??

      May 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  20. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    LET's Religiosity Law #10 – If you believe any of the christian ass-clowns on television (or the radio) are “helping” you get closer to Jesus and not doing it to get your money, but also have the capacity to be shocked when their misdeeds/lies eventually come to light… well, you are an imbecile. This law is immutable.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • The GOP need to pack up and leave

      I've known some true believers, some who were innocent in their belief. They kept it to themselves but truly believed everything the bible said. There was an honesty and morality about them that you don't really see in a lot of people who call themselves Christians.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      except if they believe everything in the bible, they believe all g.ays, non-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend should be put to death. that sound innocent? in fact, the bible commands christians to kill non-believers. so obviously she wasn't following the bible very closely or she would have to kill lots and lots of people, as the bible commands. there are zero chrstians on earth that actually follow the bible. anyone that did would be among the worst serial killer/mass murderers ever to have existed.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Advertisement
About this blog

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.