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
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(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. Jesus was a space alien

    The world is coming to an end.....just drop all of your worldly possessions at my house.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • CherryMama

      If anyone drops off some cars, may I please have one? Thanks! Lol

      May 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I want a new boat... you won't be needing it for the rapture anyway...

      May 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      preferably a 22' Boston Whaler... When you all go up to heaven I can finally get some good fishin' on without having to dodge the rednecks drinking beer...

      May 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Drop off the RV here.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Operator 23

      No, the world is just beginning!
      4 billion years and the planet is still molten behind the ears!

      May 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Mango Chakalaka

      I will send Jesus over to your house right away with all my worldly possessions just as soon as he finishes mowing the yard.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • On welfare

      I would like some bars, gold, silver, platinum, Poky's, Bamboo Lounge, Tony's, Rick's, all right any damn bar.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  2. Ajax

    You know what they say. There ain't no fool like an old fool.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  3. Don Jones

    Matt 24:36 This is also a great scripture for shooting down that ridiculous Trinity Doctrine.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  4. mique

    Sometimes a news story just makes me happy. One less powerful blithering idiot is a good thing.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  5. rbrucecarter

    I guess it is too much to hope for that he would sell to a Christian network that actually puts things on the air Christians actually want to hear, like EMF's Air-1 or WAY-FM.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      or Faith+1

      May 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Boom Chicky Boom Boom Chicky Boom

      What? You can't just pray for it? Do tell.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    Kindly remove my head, as for my kind, leaving the head can lead to undesirable things.

    Please hang my body thusly in the forest. The critters that scurry below me and above me can nourish their hungry kittens.

    Watch over my family for they will surely lose their minds and harm you. Put them away and lock them behind many locks.

    Then forget me for I am not worth your memories. I am religion. I am terror.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    Teachers teach that which they were taught with nary much thoughts otherwise. Preachers are much and the same. Steadfast and without much improvisation do teachers and preachers teach their standings in continuations of sameness. Seek FIRST the kingdom domains of God and quit it with the lollygagging bickering!

    May 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • fintastic

      With christianity, It's ALL about improvisation.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  8. PraiseTheLard

    There's a sucker born every minute... there'll be another Harold Camping or Billy Graham any time now...

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Haight-Ashbury every morning.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Fsjunkie

    This guy can't see ANYTHING coming...can he?

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Fire Fly 6

    Christianity is not the problem..lunatics like Camping,Hinn,and that heretic called the Pope are the problem..all of these are wolves in sheep's clothing..peddling a false doctrine to true Christians.Camping should be forced to sell off all his assets to repay the followers that he scammed.. and good riddance to his so called show of false doctrine. As for the idiots that compare Christianity to Islam..you obviously are uneducated.. Christians do not kill their followers or bomb and terrorize innocent ppl.. ..that is a trait that is exclusive to adherents of Islam. Please learn the difference.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      your rant is hilarious... religion is for the brain-damaged, as evidenced by your little soliloquy...

      May 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • mique

      You must have skipped reading about the crusades or the inquisition.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Pam

      Actually, Christianity has killed thousands of people – The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Native Americans, the missionaries, I could go on and on. Christianity is just another cult that managed to make good. The problem with Christians is their need to annoy the heck out of everybody else with their air of superiority. Although feeling superior because you've been brainwashed (or brain damanged) is pretty ridiculous.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Well of course. No true Scotsman...er, I mean "Christian" – would do such things!

      May 18, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  11. James Ruston

    It never fails to amaze me that fools cough up millions of dollars for fools like Camping.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  12. C. Ryan Rope

    I don't care if people deny God! It's God who WILL deal with You who deny Him! Or mock Him! So go ahead, make you childish comments because one day YOU'LL BE SITTING IN HELL AND ILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE, I'LL BE SURE TO WAVE TO YOU!

    May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • James Ruston

      I'll wave back, happy I don't have to listen to your nonsense through eternity

      May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • LinCA

      @C. Ryan Rope

      You said, "I don't care if people deny God! It's God who WILL deal with You who deny Him! Or mock Him! So go ahead, make you childish comments because one day YOU'LL BE SITTING IN HELL AND ILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE, I'LL BE SURE TO WAVE TO YOU!"
      You may want to look up Pascal's Wager. Your imaginary friend is no more likely to exist than the Tooth Fairy. Your infantile beliefs are duly noted.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      and there you go.. the real christian coming to the fore... LOL...

      May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      If you're for real and not just trolling, we wouldn't want to be anywhere near you or people who would wish torture on another fellow human. No Atheist I know is going to threaten you with eternal torture for not agreeing with them.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Madtown

      C. is a troll.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I don't care if people deny Thor! It's Thor who WILL deal with You who deny Him! Or mock Him! So go ahead, make you childish comments because one day YOU'LL BE SITTING IN HADES AND ILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE, I'LL BE SURE TO WAVE TO YOU!

      May 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Pam

      Typical Christian – Angry, bitter, mean, superior and vicious. Good advertisment for the "loving " Jesus you weirdos profess to love so much. I think you're just the opposite of what he was preaching. Even though he was pretty good at brainwashing the ignorant crowds over 2,000 years ago. Magic! Jesus and David Blaine, both providing magical slight of hand.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Boom Chicky Boom Boom Chicky Boom

      Come and dance to the rumba beat
      We have a dead Jesus that you must eat
      can you tell if this is good or bad
      the jokes on you and you've been had!

      May 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • josh

      I'm terribly sorry to do this but I must respond to Susan. The hell of the norse pagans was called Hel, ruled in turn by the half dead, half living daughter of Loki who was also named Hel. Given the fact that this is similar to the greek version of the after life wherein Hades was ruled also by a god of the same name I can understand your confusion. Having said that, I did enjoy your post, and seek only to give you a bit more knowledge so that you might be able to use it in a snappy retort for some other bible beater.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  13. Clouds 9

    Silly christians

    May 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  14. Mike from CT

    @Peter, "Since something can't come from nothing, where did god come from?"

    Sorry you rightly point out that I misspoke, something that *has a beginning* can come from nothing.
    God is eternal.

    "The bible is full of contradictions, and things that are not true. " would you like to discuss some, if I have time I will try to answer to the best of my limited ability.

    There is very little, if any historical evidence for Jesus, unless you just accept the Bible is true because it says it is.
    The writings in the Bible, which are also the writings outside the bible are accepted as true because they past the test of historicity. Internal consistency, contemporary writers, eye witness accounts, no opposition to those accounts.

    So while you may find somethings difficult to accept, especially when starting from the presupposition that miracles can not happen, what evidence have you come across to dispute it's accuracy

    Now Smithsonian/HAA likes to quote the end of the doc.ument however, if you read the entire doc.ument you will find a paragraph early

    "On the other hand, much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical doc.uments as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient docu.ments in archeological work."

    So all you have is scientist saying we can not prove history scientifically, which is a true statement. Science is based on repeatable experiment, history is not repeatable.

    So he is correct we cannot "PROVE" the bible, but take heart, you can not prove that this is a dream, the matrix, that there is no life after death. You really can't prove anything. You can only make a judgement on the evidence provided. The evidence of the historical resurrection of Christ demands a verdict

    Hope that helps.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • C. Ryan Rope

      The bible is only full of contidictions if you don't nderstand it! It isn't a book to be read from cover to cover like a novel! It is a CODED BOOK! A little here and a little there! Check out Herbert W. Armstrong's, Mystery Of the Ages and hopefully it'll open your eyes!

      May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • James Ruston

      Which of the two versions of creation in Genesis it the correct one? Where did the wives of Cain and Abel come from?

      May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • C. Ryan Rope Translator

      You aren't supposed to read the whole bible, you are supposed to pick out the parts you like, and ignore the rest of it.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Athy

      The bible is full of contradictions even if you do understand it.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Sorry this was a reply to the bottom of page two.

      @James Ruston

      The one in Genesis one is written with ordinal language. Gen 2 talks about creation in general.
      I went to the Cheese cake factory last night and the desert was awesome. I also had the steak dinner.

      You do not as.sume order in the above statement,

      No contradiction.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Where did the wives of Cain and Abel come from?

      Their sisters. Yeah, I know that is incest now, but back then before the law, that is Moses, genetic blood was more "pure" then what it is not with 7 Billion different people.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  15. atheists the NFL is RICH Attack them


    May 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  16. Clouds 9

    Oh, the silly christians

    May 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  17. RationaistKC

    Further, if you need a book to tell you what's morally right and wrong, you have some serious issues.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  18. Jesus was a space alien

    It is kind of like the end of the world for him. it is end of his scam and fleecing people over irrational fear. He forgot to read the passage about the coming of false prophets in the end times.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  19. Sivick

    this is why you should put your trust in science rather than religion. Science has proofs, facts, and evidence. Religion has the assurances of crazy old people and a 2000 year old book made by people who thought the earth was flat.

    Also, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Doomsday, seriously?? so funny. I wish i could have seen the looks on their faces when doomsday came and went and nothing happened.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Franklin

      For me, it is not one or the other but both.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Franklin

      I was reading this blog(http://www.mlive.com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/creationism_vs_evolution_ethic.html) and someone said that they went to Catholic school from 4 grade till grade school and they never taught creationism.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Franklin – not all Christians are creationists. Catholics are not. They teach evolution in their schools and the popes endorse evolution – as the way god did it – but still, evolution.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Paul

      I went to a Catholic high school and they taught evolution.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  20. Bostontola

    For all the wisdom and foresight in the various sacred texts, there isn't any prediction that is verifiable. If god gave this information to the people that wrote these texts, I wish god would have simply dropped a hint or two regarding quantum mechanics, or even prosaic chemistry. God could have saved us all a lot of wasted energy and passed on the knowledge that evolution was the way to create life, etc.

    OK, if that is too much trouble, how about a simple statement that the earth is round and orbits the sun.

    May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Because then you would complain that the earth is not round, it's spheroid

      May 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
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