|Founded||February 4, 1959|
|Founder(s)||Harold Camping, Richard H. Palmquist, and Lloyd Lindquist|
Family Radio, also known by its licensee name Family Stations Inc., is a Christian radio network based in Oakland, California, USA, founded by Lloyd Lindquist, Richard H. Palmquist and Harold Camping.1 The network consists mainly of FM radio stations with non-commercial licenses (and a few commercial licenses used as non-commercial) and relays, with some AM stations and two television stations. In mid 2013 Family Radio announced WYFR its shortwave station in Okeechobee, Florida will shut down permanently on June 30, 2013.2 The network produces programming in more than 40 languages.34
Family Radio is best known for the false predictions made on the air by Harold Camping. He has predicted that the Rapture would occur on four different occasions; first he said it would happen in September 1994, then he revised the date to March 1995. More recently on May 21, 2011, his third prediction attracted worldwide media interest. Following the failure of that prediction, the Family Radio website was updated to a new design that falls back to the date of October 21, 2011 for the end of the world, which originally was the end of the "five months of torment" including:
"We always look at the word 'earthquake' to mean the earth, or ground, is quaking or shaking violently. However, in the Bible the word 'earth' can include people as well as ground.
"In Genesis 2:7 we read:
'And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground…' Thus the word 'earthquake' can also be understood to teach that mankind shakes from the cold. Therefore we have learned from our experience of last May 21 what actually happened. All of mankind was shaken with fear. Indeed the earth (or mankind) did quake in a way it had never before been shaken."5
To see earlier versions of the Family Radio site one may go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.6
One of Family Radio's oldest broadcasts was a call-in program called Open Forum in which Harold Camping, the station's president, responded to callers' questions and comments as they relate to the Bible and he used the platform to promote his various end-time predictions. The program was finally cancelled not long after Camping's third failed "rapture-less" prediction and a stroke which he suffered in June 2011. Other programs include Family Bible Reading Fellowship, Family Bible Study, Rise and Rejoice, Music to Live By, The Quiet Hours, Beyond Intelligent Design, The Christian Home, and Family Radio World Wide.7
Family Radio relies solely on listener-supported funding and donations, and is unaffiliated with any other religious denomination.8 Outside programming broadcast over the Family Radio network is limited as Camping considers the organized church "apostate", and therefore devoid of God's Spirit and under Satan's control.
The listenership of Family Radio understandably declined after the failed 1994 prediction, but before long the organization was growing at a rate much higher than it had previously experienced.9 In 1958 Camping sold his construction business and with the funds, purchased one San Francisco AM radio station. He then grew his broadcast empire so that by 1994 Family Radio comprised forty radio stations nationwide.10 Yet, from 1994 to 2009 it grew at an even faster rate than before; by the time of his second campaign, the organization boasted 216 FM and AM radio stations, along with two television channels.9
With a growing national profile, the financial viability of the non-profit also grew. Financial strength hit a peak in 2007 when Family Radio reported $135 million in assets.11 Interestingly, as net assets declined from that point forward, listener contributions steadily increased. In 2008, total contributions were well over $15 million.12 2009 saw an annual budget of $36.7 million with $117 million in assets and $18.4 million in contributions.13 IRS records also indicate that Family Radio employed 348 persons in 2009.14 In 2010 Assets were down to $110 million while contributions rose to $18.7 million while the station maintained 346 employees.15 In 2011 contributions fell to $17.2 million and assets dropped to $87.6 million, while the organization also lost 26 employees.16 By the end of 2011 the organizations assets had dropped to $29.2 million, and the next year was forced to take out a $30 million loan.17 From these figures we can conclude that this was not an elaborate, religiously fueled con job, but rather it was a genuine effort to usher in the apocalypse. In 2007, the year before the start of the 2011 campaign, Family Radio had its greatest level of assets. Upon the outset of the second campaign, the organizations assets dropped while contributions simultaneously rose indicating an increased level of spending by the organization, far surpassing the increase in income. Particularly noteworthy is that the average annual salary for a Family Radio employee is only $23,000.13 Camping in fact was taking no salary and had been loaning personal savings to the ministry since 2009, thus eliminating any suspicion of lavish lifestyles at the expense of the listening body.18
Family Radio does not discuss politics directly, campaign for political candidates, or endorse candidates or issues. Family Radio attempts to distance itself from political and social issues. Nevertheless, Family Radio has presented programs that may have political and social ramifications, such as those that advocate creationism.19
Family Radio began obtaining FM broadcasting licenses on commercial frequencies early in FM's history,when? and by 2006, was ranked 19th among top broadcast companies in number of radio stations owned.20
In 1958, a Family Radio founder, Harold Camping, joined with other individuals of Christian Reformed, Bible Baptist, and Conservative Christian Presbyterian to purchase an FM radio station in San Francisco, California, KEAR, then at 97.3 MHz, to broadcast traditional Christian Gospel to the conservative Protestant community and minister to the general public. With the primary purpose of broadcasting doctrines of Christianity reflective of the teachings of the Holy Bible, Family Radio remained independent, never merging with any particular church organization or church denominations.21 After months of preparations, Family Radio aired its first broadcast on Wednesday, February 4, 1959.
Through the 1960s, as a ministry, both non-profit organization and non-commercial, Family Radio acquired six additional FM stations and seven other AM stations under guidelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).22 The flagship station for the network of both full-power and low-power translator stations is KEAR in San Francisco (now at 610 kHz, since 2005 at 106.9 MHz). Due to FCC rules regarding translator stations, the legal primary station for the translators was changed to KEAR-FM in Sacramento, after the former primary FM station in San Francisco was sold to CBS Radio.23
Many program productions broadcast throughout the Family Radio station network were produced in the Oakland, California facilities. The production process involved pre-recording two weeks of broadcast programming on reel-to-reel tapes distributed to each local Family Radio station for broadcast on the specified date. Free broadcast time was provided by Family Radio to national fundamentalist and evangelical ministries—outside ministries' programs were sent in cassette and reel-to-reel tape formats to respective Family Radio stations for local broadcast. Popular network announcers and the programs they hosted included Jon Arthur (The Quiet Hours, Big Jon & Sparky, Radio Reading Circle); Omar Andeel (The Morning Clock); Harold Hall (The Christian Home); Ken Boone (Music to Live By); Bob Swenson (Transition); and Jerry Edinger (Nightwatch). Each local Family Radio station had local board operators providing world, national, and local news and weather at various intervals throughout the day; regular public service announcements and daily public affairs programming; and local traffic reports via phone call-in during morning and afternoon weekdays. Outside ministry programs included Focus on the Family, Freedom Under Fire, Unshackled, Back to the Bible, Family News in Focus, Beyond Intelligent Design, and "Walk with the King" with Dr. Robert A. Cook. This last program, known as The King's Hour, still airs today, although now often edited in places deemed incompatible with Camping's odd end-times and "apostate church" doctrinal stands.
By the late 1980s, programming was delivered via satellite, local news was taken off the stations in favor of a various national news from a Christian news source, and all but a few local announcements are produced at their Oakland, California facilities.4
Beginning in the late 1990s, Family Radio began gradually dropping outside ministries because of doctrinal changes in the ministry. As board members left the ministry, they were not being replaced. Harold Camping's views as they were changing became the focus of the entire ministry. Up until the late 1980s, Family Radio endorsed local church attendance but once Camping stated the church age was over, they now claim that Christians should NOT be members or attend church services of any type. Today Family Radio produces 95% of their programming and runs very few outside ministries. Most teaching programs were hosted by Harold Camping himself up until June 2011; after Camping suffered a stroke, his programs were gradually phased out.
Music broadcast by Family Radio in the 1960s and 1970s was typical of religious stations, commercial and non-commercial. Some commercial stations played Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) for a few hours a week, but in the 1980s, as commercial and some non-commercial Christian stations evolved to Contemporary formats, Family Radio remained with a mainly traditional music format composed of choir hymns, various Gospel singing groups such as the Bill Gaither Trio, Christian college choirs, instrumental orchestral hymn renditions from conductors such as Paul Mickelson and Ralph Carmichael, vocalists such as George Beverly Shea, Frank Boggs, Doug Oldham, Mahalia Jackson, John McGill, Dave Boyer, and others, and softer urban contemporary gospel songs. From the 1970s onward, Family Radio included a few selected tracks from some lighter contemporary Christian artists such as Maranatha, Pam Mark Hall, Cynthia Clawson, the New Creation Singers, Ken Medema, Michael Card, Steve Green and others. But since the early 2000s, Family Radio has been trying to avoid the Contemporary format, even though this genre is still occasionally heard on its stations.
In the mid- to late 1970s there began a policy of not announcing the names of artists behind the music aired. Listeners had to write in for information about music heard that they were interested in.
Family Radio's text publications, continue to be based on the text of the authorized King James Bible.2526 Prerecorded Bible readings broadcast over satellite, shortwave, radio frequencies and the internet are generally based on the Modern King James Bible.27
Two days after this supposed "Rapture" failed happen, A Bible Answer, a Bible teaching ministry who had been tired of the "Rapture", threatened to buy 66 full-powered radio stations from Family Radio founder Harold Camping in an effort to get him to resign from preaching this doctrine. The threat came with a catch – they were not take possession of the stations until October 22, the day after Camping's revised set-date for the end of the world. A Bible Answer's website calls for Camping to resign from the Family Radio board, citing "the self-proclaimed expert on the Bible has brought reproach upon Christ, the Bible, and the church," and adds "After taking the money of his supporters, let Harold give up all he has, to show he believes what he is preaching. He does not or else he would sell. It is time to get new leadership at Family Radio."2930
On August 3, 2011, the radio industry website Radio-Info.com reported that Family Radio was putting two of its stations up for sale. These stations were: WKDN, 106.9 FM, in Camden, New Jersey (covering Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and WFSI, 107.9 FM, in Annapolis, Maryland (covering Baltimore and Washington, D.C.). The article indicated that the ministry may have sold the stations to pay off "operating deficits accumulated over the last several years".31 WFSI would be purchased in November 2011 by CBS Radio, which converted the station to a Spanish language dance music format under the WLZL call sign. Merlin Media, LLC struck a deal in December 2011 to acquire WKDN,32 which was relaunched with a talk format under the WWIQ call sign.33 WWIQ will be sold to Educational Media Foundation in November 2013 as WKVP, as part of its network K-LOVE.
In January 2012, Family Radio applied to the FCC to change the license of station WFME 94.7 MHz in Newark, New Jersey from non-commercial to commercial. The application quickly prompted conjecture from radio industry monitors that the station would soon be sold.343536 Those rumors were confirmed on October 16, 2012, when it was announced that Family Stations would sell WFME to Atlanta-based Cumulus Media for an undisclosed price.37 A November message from Camping posted on the Family Radio website admitted, "Either we sell WFME or go off the air completely!" The 94.7 signal would be relaunched as country-formatted station, WNSH. Shortly after 94.7's sale to Cumulus, Family Radio would buy a low-powered FM station in Mount Kisco, New York from Cumulus, WDVY 106.3 MHz, which would soon after adopt Family Radio's programming and WFME callsign. In December 2013 Family Radio's shortwave transmitters in Okeechobee, Florida were transferred to Radio Miami International.
Harold Camping died on December 15, 2013, in Alameda, California, near Oakland, where Family Radio still has its headquarters, from a fall. His death was confirmed by an employee of the ministry.
Central to Family Radio's and Camping's teaching is the belief that the Bible is the Word of God and completely true. However, he emphasizes, this does not mean that each sentence in the Bible is to be understood only literally. Rather, the meaning of individual Biblical passages needs to be interpreted in the light of two factors. The first is the context of the Bible as a whole. The second is its spiritual meaning: in Camping's words, "the Bible is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning." In Camping's latest publication, "We are Almost There!",38 he stated that certain Biblical passages pointed unquestionably to May 21, 2011 as the date of "Rapture", and pointed to October 21, 2011 as the end of the world. This event did not occur on 21 May or 21 October. No acknowledgement of false teaching has yet been offered concerning the 21 October event.39 The organization's website became inaccessible early that day, and wasn't reachable until the early morning of May 22.
As a result of spending millions of dollars to promote his "end of the world" theory, many people sold everything they owned and donated it to Family Radio, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars.citation needed The California Attorney General's office has been asked by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to investigate Camping and Family Stations, Inc. for "Fraud and Deceit".40
From the time he left the Reformed Church in 1988 to his death, Camping taught doctrines that largely conflict with doctrines of the Reformed Church and traditional Christian teaching. The principles of Biblical hermeneutics upon which Camping framed his present teachings are:
- The Bible alone is the Word of God.
- Every Biblical passage must be interpreted in the light of the Bible as a whole.
- The Bible normally conveys multiple levels of meaning or significance.41
- Numerology cannot be applied to numbers in the Bible when following the Biblical rules—some individuals have attempted to apply the concept to Camping's research.
- That salvation is unmerited and cannot be achieved by good works, prayer, belief or acceptance. It is a pure act of God's grace and that those to be saved were chosen "before the foundation of the world". He added conditions to salvation and teaching relative free will of humanity. However, he admitted that some, though very few, could be saved, while still in the worldly churches, just as there would be those saved inside the nation of Israel, and that leaving the churches is something a believer should do, just as a believer should not lie or cheat. He also gave credit to God for what has been called "common grace", where the unsaved, the yet to be saved and the saved are blessed to do good works, but this is not considered the gift of salvation itself.
Eutelsat Hotbird 6 - 13 degrees east, Transponder # 89, Vertical LNB polarization; Satellite frequency: 12.597 GHz
- Family Radio Europe (English): channel 8222
- Family Radio International 1: channel 8233
- Family Radio International 2: channel 8234
- Family Radio Europe (English) : SID 9558
Family Radio can be heard in English from the following local international stations:
|Lesotho||Maseru||1197 kHz||6pm - 9pm and 10pm - 1am|
|Philippines||Metro Manila||DWSS (Tagalog)||1494 kHz||Weekdays 6pm - 10pm|
|Russia||Moscow||Center||1503 kHz||Weekdays 11pm - 12:30am and 8pm - 9:00pm|
In addition to its full-powered stations, Family Radio is relayed by an additional 39 low-powered translators:
East Coast translators
|City of license||FCC info|
|W207AB||89.3||Atlantic City, NJ||FCC|
|W206AH||89.1||Eau Claire, WI||FCC|
West Coast Translators
|City of license||FCC info|
|K268AH||101.5||Palm Springs, CA||FCC|
|K227AH||93.3||River Pines, CA||FCC|
|K204CL||88.7||Smith River, CA||FCC|
|K214CA||90.7||Grand Junction, CO||FCC|
|K236AA||95.1||Cedar Rapids, IA||FCC|
|K272DU||102.3||Black Eagle, MT||FCC|
|K217CD||91.3||Great Falls, MT||FCC|
|K206BI||89.1||Carson City, NV||FCC|
- WNYJ-TV, West Milford - Newark, New Jersey - New York (broadcasts programming from MHz WorldView; previously broadcast religious programming as WFME-TV)
- WYBE-DT66 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (leased simulcast of WNYJ-TV; actually WYBE's fourth digital subchannel but slotted as 35.66 to match WNYJ's channel number)
- KHFR-LD, Boise, Idaho
- Family Radio Worldwide. Family Radio. 21 January 2008 <http://www.familyradio.com/>
- Family Stations, Inc., Goliath Business Knowledge on Demand
- Family Radio announcement of the Rapture, retrieved, archived from the original on October 23, 2010
- Family Radio broadcast programs, Family Stations, Inc.
- Family Radio General Information, Family Stations, Inc.
- James, Scott. "Warnings of the End of the World, Broadcast from Oakland." The Bay Citizen. Published electronically May 19, 2011. http://www.baycitizen.org/columns/scott-james/warnings-end-world-broadcast-oakland/.
- Press, Associated. "Prohecy on Radio: September It's All over Via His Radio Show, Harold Camping Predicts Judgement Day Is Almost Here." Orlando Sentinel, July 16, 1994.
- Banks, Adelle M. "End May Be Coming for Harold Camping's Family Radio Ministry." Huffington Post: Religion. Published electronically May 14, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/end-may-be-coming-for-har_n_3274262.html?utm_hp_ref=religion.
- Gary Cook, "Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax," ed. IRS (Washington DC2009).
- James, "Warnings of the End of the World, Broadcast from Oakland".
- Cook, "Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax."
- "Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax," ed. IRS (Washington DC2010).
- "Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax," ed. IRS (Washington DC2011).
- Katherine Weber, "Harold Camping's Family Radio Suffering Economic Woes," The Christian Post, http://global.christianpost.com/news/harold-campings-family-radio-suffering-economic-woes-95808/#vqFwR6HrrgM52LHG.99.
- "Why Covering the Oakland Apocalypse Prophecy Was No Joke," The Bay Citizen https://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/in-the-newsroom/why-covering-oakland-apocalypse-prophecy/.
- Family Radio Monday/Friday Program Schedule, Family Stations, Inc.
- State of the News Media 2006., Journalism.org
- Who or What is Family Radio?, Family Stations, Inc.
- Multiple Ownership;Radio Broadcast Stations, Small Business Administration, retrieved 2008-05-22
- Infinity Broadcasting, CBS RADIO pressroom, retrieved 2008-05-22
- Family Stations, KEAR 610 AM, Radiotime your guide to radio, retrieved 2008-05-22
- "Family Stations text Bible". FamilyStations, Inc.
- Harold Camping. "Open forum/text, authorized King James". FamilyStations, Inc. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Family Stations audio Bible". Family Stations, Inc.
- "Apocalypse Not Yet: 'Rapture Hour' passes quietly". CBC News. May 22, 2011.
- Family Radio gets a $1 million offer to sell their 66 stations - Radio-Info.com (released May 30, 2011)
- Goodbye Harold - A Bible Answer (released May 23, 2011)
- "Round 3 of the bidding for Family Radio FMs in two markets", News article from Radio-Info.com, http://www.radio-info.com/news/round-3-of-the-bidding-for-family-radio-fms-in-two-markets 3 August 2011; retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "WKDN Philadelphia Sold," from Radio Insight, 12/6/2011
- Fybush, Scott (April 16, 2012). Merlin hopes for high IQ in Philadelphia (free preview). NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
- Taylor, Tom (9 January 2012). "New York scramble?: Is New York-market WFME (94.7) for sale? Family Radio applies to change its crown jewel to commercial operation.". TRI: Taylor on Radio-Info. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Taylor, Tom (10 January 2012). "Gotham guessing game: Yes, Family Radio’s New York-market WFME (94.7) will be for sale. But not just yet.". TRI: Taylor on Radio-Info. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Venta, Lance (7 January 2012). "WFME Applies to Go Commercial, Prepares for Sale". Radio Insight. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "Cumulus buys WFME/New York.". ALL Access Music Group. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- ...Multiple Ownership of Radio Broadcast Stations in Local Markets, Small Business Administration, retrieved 2008-05-22
- Pilkington, Ed (May 24, 2011). "Apocalypse still imminent: Rapture now coming in October". The Guardian (London).
- Harold Camping. "First Principles of Bible Study". Family Stations, Inc. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- Family Radio Worldwide official website
- Family Radio Network's channel on YouTube