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Family Radio’s Rapture Fallout Prompts Letters to FCC and Congress

A handful of the stations owned by Family Stations (Photo: J. Waits)

The hype surrounding Family Radio’s prediction of Judgment Day and the Rapture on May 21 (and subsequent pronouncement that the Rapture will be delayed until October 21, 2011) not only attracted the attention of mainstream media, religious scholars, and atheists; but it also has led to much conversation amongst proponents of non-commercial educational radio.

Before May 21, 2011 had come and gone, fans of beleaguered college radio station KUSF were suggesting that with the impending Rapture, Family Radio should simply turn over their local station to Save KUSF so that the staff of the formerly terrestrial KUSF could get back on the air.

Additionally, non-commercial radio supporter Michael Stripling Duncan apparently sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on May 20, requesting that the stations owned by Family Stations be turned over to a college radio organization so that stations like KTRU could get back on the air. He writes:

“I am sure you are aware of the predicted events of tomorrow, May 21, 2011, and the certainty with which these predictions have been made by Family Stations Inc., of Sacramento, CA, aka Family Radio, holder of multiple FCC licenses for AM and FM radio and translator transmitters.

It has come to my attention that beginning on Sunday, May 22, Family Stations, Inc. will no longer have need for these licenses or transmitters, either due to lack of physical and metaphysical presence on earth of anyone previously owning, administering, or listening to the stations, or for ownership having been proved to be confidence men of the highest order.

I therefore petition the Federal Communications Commission to condemn these transmitters and reassign license and ownership of the stations to College Broadcasters, Inc. or other such organization dedicated to independent student media on college campuses for the purpose of providing student media outlets at Rice University and colleges or universities whose governing bodies have secretly liquidated student radio stations in the past. I further urge you and your colleagues to take such action in all due haste, lest the Commission finds itself unable to find a quorum after the Rapture.”

And, then today, on a more serious note, REC Networks Founder and LPFM supporter Michelle (Michi) Eyre posted a letter (PDF) that she had sent to Senators Maria Cantwell and John McCain (co-sponsors of the Local Community Radio Act). In her blog post about the letter, Eyre “points out the need for ownership controls on non-commercial educational (NCE) FM broadcast stations and FM translators” stating that “mega-ministries” are “precluding local organizations and local ministries from having a voice in their community.”

In her letter, Eyre writes:

“This past weekend’s ‘false alarm’ over this alleged ‘rapture’ that was predicted by Harold Camping of Family Stations, Inc. rekindles an issue that has been on my mind for years. That issue is related to the ownership of multiple non-commercial educational (NCE) radio broadcast stations. In the early days, NCE broadcast stations were mainly owned and operated by colleges and high schools as a training ground for students…”

She then outlines the operations of several “‘mega-ministries’ that operate hundreds of full power FM broadcast stations and lower power broadcast translators.”

Eyre explains that, “The recent ‘rapture’ hoax…was propagated through 55 FM stations, 12 AM stations, 89 translators and a shortwave broadcast station that can be picked up in many parts of the world…The hoax was picked up by other media sources around the world and the result was worldwide panic.” She points out that although she supports free speech, she is concerned when broadcasters don’t have a connection to their local community and when, in the case of Family Radio, work to “facilitate mass-hysteria.”

She also mentions the recent sale of KTRU and the pending sale of KUSF and argues that, “I feel the Federal Communications Commission needs to take accountability especially given the way that it has allowed these mega-ministries to expand, purchase failing college stations and file excessive applications in filing windows, sometimes through questionable means.”

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9 Responses to Family Radio’s Rapture Fallout Prompts Letters to FCC and Congress

  1. Jeff May 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Anybody know who the Board of Directors of Family Radio International are? FCC ownership reports for Family Stations, Inc. are pretty interesting. The outside officers from 10 years ago are gone. Now, just Camping, two employees of Family Stations, and a retiree are listed. Is there anybody left to stop Camping if he becomes mentally incapacitated?

  2. DKS May 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Unfortunately for the complainants, the FCC tends to act only according to the letter of the law. It’s pointless to try making a case based solely on what may seem like common sense, you need to cite chapter and verse of the FCC regulations detailing a specific violation if you hope to see anything come of it.

  3. Michi Eyre May 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    DKS, the intention here is to influence the initiating of legislation within Congress and the Senate that would mandate ownership limits and more extensive localism impact reviews. The current anti-localism FCC will not impose this on their own and CCTF and EMF (especially EMF) has a track record of “pull” at the FCC. If this comes to the FCC “at the will of Congress”, then a change is mandated.

  4. Danny Haszard May 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm #


    If at First You Don’t Succeed, Spin It Off.

    Harold Camping sounds like he plagiarized Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Jehovah Witnesses are a spin-off of the second Adventist which all came from the Millerite movement.American war of 1812 army captain William Miller is ground zero for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Yes,the “great disappointment” of Oct 22 1844 has never died out… it lives on in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    The central CORE doctrine of the Watchtower,yes the reason the Watchtower came into existence was to declare Jesus second coming in 1914.When the prophecy (derived from William Miller of 1842) failed they said that he came “invisibly”.—

    Danny Haszard been there


  5. Rev. Daniel W. Blair May 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    I am very sad for those who have been following this lie that the rapture was to occur on May 21st. Hopefully, they should now admit that “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). Every Christian, theologian, scholar, and prophet from the first Century until the Nineteenth Century all believed that the church would go through the Great Tribulation and not escape through some secret rapture that would leave the world completely paralyzed. I pray that they now will take a moment and read through my book, “Final Warning” to help them to stand firm in their faith because the hour of is His judgment has come. And for those think I am just looking to sell books, you can download one for free on my website at

  6. anonymous May 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Maybe this was intended to be satire..? Family Radio doesn’t have an FM station in Houston that KTRU would want, I don’t think KTRU would swing for Beaumont or Galveston, even if they could get it. Family Radio’s in SF is on the AM band. Consolidation in the market place by Family Radio isn’t what shut down KTRU and KUSF, it is consolidation in the market place by CPB / NPR / PBS types. NPR affiliates now control approx. 50% of the non-commercial radio stations on the edge fo the FM band, and they typically are repeater stations, which broadcaast about 20 hours a day of syndicated content created on the East Coast or from the BBC, and only about 4 hours per day are actually orginal local content, and a good part of that “local” contnent is pledge drives and weather and traffic. In other words, NPR has become the Cumulus of the non-commerical edge of the FM dial. NPR is tax payer subsidized, so don’t expect the FCC to do much about this consolidation of market share, because that would be like trying to get the government to regulate itself. While its entertaining to mock people on the religious fringe, if you want to do something constructive to save college radio then you need contact your senators and tell them to de-fund NPR of tax payer subsidies and this consolidation will grind to a halt. Students don’t get to do much at NPR affiliates, except read the school lunch over the air, with some kind of title like “intern”. NPR doesn’t support college radio, it takes over college radio stations like a parasite host and pushes students out the way.

  7. Jennifer Waits May 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Radio conglomerates are often the willing suitors who come to call on cash-strapped colleges. Most recently it seems to be public radio groups, but religious broadcasting networks have also had the cash to spend on college radio frequencies and have done their fair share of buying up the non-commercial spectrum.

  8. Robert Gordon May 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    While I empathize with those wishing to see ownership restrictions on NCEs, I don’t support the idea at this time.

    Give the choice between a large public radio network buying a station or building one for public radio programming options and in many cases, being able to keep that station from becoming a non local or even regional repeater for a religious network, I would prefer to see the public group able to make the purchase.

    Should this proposal make it into law, the only thing that will change is that local churches or groups will be “donated” money from groups like EMF, build stations or buy them and then plug in as repeaters. You will not win this by restricting public broadcasters like MPR from buying more signals.

  9. anonymous June 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    NPR (and/or affiliates) have the single largest concentration of ownership in the non-commerical spectrum at approx. 50%. No other broadcasting entities even come close, religious, college, or otherwise. For those who are apologists for the NPR “mission” of “saving” non-commerical radio from “christian”broadcasting, via consolidating college radio stations, at what level of market concentration does this consolidation become too much…? Put a number on it. How much more market concentration should be tolerated in NPR’s secular crusade?

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