In a fit or irony, rather than the world coming to an end, it seems a California evangelical radio network used by a preacher to predict — incorrectly — the apocalypse may, itself, be imploding. You may remember Harold Camping and his doomsday predictions just two years ago.
As we previously reported, Camping, 91, created a stir when he proclaimed that the world would be coming to a disastrous end on May 21, 2011. Some people spent their life savings in preparation for the purported day of reckoning, while others simply laughed off the assertion. When the event didn’t come to pass, Camping doubled down, saying that his estimates were off and that the end times would come, instead, on October 21.
Again, he was wrong.
Now, the Contra Costa Times reports that the Oakland-based Family Radio has sold its three largest radio stations and laid off longtime staff members. And here’s why: Tax records show Harold Camping’s 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.
Former and current insiders tell the newspaper donations have dropped almost 70 percent since Camping’s Rapture prediction proved incorrect. But not everyone is predicting that Family Radio will disappear. The Times explains:
Board member Tom Evans, who has taken over day-to-day operations since Camping suffered a stroke in June 2011, said Family Radio is hurting like any other nonprofit in this slow-to-rebound economy. But it is not closing, and the financial problems aren’t nearly as serious as some allege, said the trustee, who instead envisions a downsized, more efficient ministry emerging.
“Sufficient funds were in the bank and, thankfully, we didn’t spend everything (on May 21, 2011),” he said. “But it did force us to make quick changes.”
At least some of those changes had an air of desperation: In a November letter to his followers posted on the Family Radio website, Camping wrote: “Either we sell (our biggest radio station) or go off the air completely.” And Evans acknowledged the bridge loans, while insisting the nonprofit is not insolvent.
Camping convinced thousands of followers that the world would end, only to later post an online letter conceding he had no evidence of an impending apocalypse and will no longer predict global doom. Since, he has been relatively quiet. Read the Times’ entire report about Camping and Family Radio here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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