(Photo: The Christian Post / Hudson Tsuei)
Recent reports indicate that the California-based Christian radio network Family Radio, run by evangelist Harold Camping, may be facing dire economic straits, as seen by public tax documents and alleged interviews with former Family Radio employees.
The evangelical radio network, which has been on-air since 1958, has reportedly sold its three largest FM radio stations: WFME in Newark-New York City, WFSI in Annapolis, Md.-Washington, D.C., and WKDN in Philadelphia. Additionally, the Associated Press reported Monday that "tax records show the nonprofit network saw its net assets drop to $29.2 million by the end of 2011, from a net worth of $135 million four years earlier."
This information was first reported by the local Contra Costa Times newspaper in a recent investigative piece titled "End of the World for Oakland's Family Radio?"
Besides selling radio stations and loss of assets, the local newspaper also claims that 2012 financial records show the evangelical radio station had to take out a $30 million bridge loan while awaiting sales proceeds.
In spite of these apparently alarming numbers, Tom Evans, Family Radio board member, told the Contra Costa Times that the company's monetary struggles simply reflect the difficult economic times for many American businesses. Evans, who told the paper that he believes eventually the nonprofit will downsize, also attributes the network's dismal financial records to the immense amount of money spent on the May 21, 2011 apocalypse date falsely claimed by the network's founder, evangelist Harold Camping.
"Sufficient funds were in the bank and, thankfully, we didn't spend everything," Evans told the paper in reference to the May 2011 apocalypse prediction.
"But it did force us to make quick changes," Evans added.
Camping, now 91, has falsely predicted the world would end three times, claiming he knew of a special numerical system, based on the bible, which indicated the occurrence of certain great religious events, including the Great Flood, the Crucifixion and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Camping's false predictions include September 6, 1994, May 21, 2011, and finally Oct. 21, 2011.
Following his final unsuccessful prediction, Camping issued an apology on the Family Radio website in March 2012.
"We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God's hands and He will end time in His time, not ours!" a statement on Family Radio's website read. "We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically," the statement added.
Camping received wide criticism for his May 2011 false prediction, as some of his followers reportedly sold their possessions and used up their money believing the end of the world was coming. Following the false prediction, many critics contended that Camping had lost a large following, which could possibly jeopordize his credibility on all religious issues, not just end of the world predictions.
The loss of followers was showcased during a May 2011 airing of Camping's "Family Radio Monday," during which multiple angry callers voiced their frustration at Camping for his false prediction. Some callers even expressed their unfortunate loss of faith due to Camping's miscalculations.
"I've been studying the Bible with you all those years," one caller told Camping on "Family Radio Monday" in May 2011. "I thought nothing would shake my faith that I would go through all the tribulations and all that. But now that I see that it didn't happen once again, all I look at is disappointment from our Father," the caller added.
Although Camping suffered a stroke in June 2011, he still serves as president of Family Radio, although the nonprofit network is run by board member Evans and others.