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Family Radio to Sell WKDN to Merlin Media for $22.5 Million

Family Radio Sells Off 2 Stations (Photo: J. Waits)

Christian radio conglomerate Family Radio is in the process of selling off radio stations in 2 major markets. On the heels of its November sale of WFSI 107.9 FM in Annapolis, Maryland to CBS for $8.5 million (Family Radio programming left the station’s airwaves last Thursday, December 1), paperwork was accepted for filing by the FCC today for the sale of WKDN 106.9 FM to Merlin Media. The Camden, New Jersey station, which covers the Philadelphia market, is expected to fetch $22.5 million for Family Radio according to the November 29 asset purchase agreement.

Although Family Radio operates its stations as non-commercial enterprises, some of the frequencies that it owns are on the commercial spectrum. In anticipation of the sale of WKDN, Family Radio requested permission from the FCC to modify the station’s license, changing it from non-commercial to commercial. The FCC granted that request on July 26, 2011. Similarly, Family Radio was granted a request in July to convert WFSI’s license from non-commercial to commercial. As of December 1, WFSI’s call letters were changed to WBGR and CBS is now airing a simulcast of its sister station WLZL’s Spanish language programming until December 11th. At that point, it’s expected that the WLZL format will permanently move to WBGR and WLZL at 99.1 will convert to all-news station WNEW by January 2012, while CBS awaits the FCC’s final decision on the license transfer. Through a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA), Family Radio is being paid for allowing CBS to utilize the WBGR airwaves, but the financial details of this arrangement were omitted from the license transfer application submitted to the FCC.

Leading up to these station sales (and big influx of cash), things have been relatively quiet at Family Radio in Oakland, California following the anti-climactic Judgment Day on May 21 and after the end of the world failed to occur on October 21. As we’ve reported, Harold Camping has posted several recorded announcements to listeners since that time. Most recently, he issued a written statement on the Family Radio website stating in part that,

“…Many of us expected the Lord’s return a few months ago, and obviously we are still here. Family Radio is still operating. What should be our thinking now? What is God teaching us? In our Bible study over the past few years, we came to the conclusion that May 21 and October 21 were very important dates in the Biblical calendar. We now believe God led us to those dates, but did not give us complete understanding. In fact, we did not understand at all the correct significance of those two dates. We are waiting upon the Lord, and in His mercy He may give us understanding in the future regarding the significance of those two dates.”

Additionally, Camping posted recorded messages on November 6 and November 8, explaining his thinking further. In his 7-minute plus recording from November 6, Camping (who is described as Family Radio’s President and General Manager in a recorded introduction) argues (in part):

“…whether we like it or not, we have to keep studying, keep examining everything and anything in the Bible that might relate. But, his people can arrive at conclusions too hastily not knowing that they are doing it too hastily and end up wrong. When we look at Jonah, and we find that he was pushed by God to get the message out and 40 days that city would be destroyed and so he had the very very unhappy conclusion of sitting there and there is no destruction. He was all wrong. But that’s where we are. So God has given us marvelous illustrations for us to look at and examine carefully to help us to see that God is always God. He’s always perfect even though he brings us to a point where we think wrongly that somehow we have been misused by God, just like Jonah thought he had been misused by God. It is true when we feel abused, we don’t want to put it on God ever.

So…where do we put it? On Family Radio. Because we were (Camping chuckles) the people who were saying what we believe what was true. We were convicted. We knew what we were talking about. And it is God who gave us the information what [sic] we were talking about. Then we have the hard the task of bringing thousands of minds back to understanding a little bit better how God is teaching in the Bible. And it’s unhappy because it sounds like we’re wishy-washy, we don’t know what we’re talking about, we’re not to be trusted. No one has treated this subject with greater care than we have treated this subject. We have been so careful. But, God didn’t open up everything to us. There were things he didn’t want us to say.

If 6 months ago, we had all the information that we have now, there would not have been the spectacle of the whole world learning about the Bible, learning about the fact that God someday is going to bring a judgment upon the world. It would not have happened. If we had known that and had reported that to the world, the world would be just like it was back in April and before. There would be nobody worried about God at all. But because God did not give us all the information and we used what we understand, God used that in a powerful way to remind the world that there is a God. They know there is a Bible and that that is the word of God. They know that there’s somehow going to be some kind of a judgment for their sins. They know that because it’s recorded in a Bible written by God. Six months ago the world did not know that. Only maybe a third of the world or maybe a little more than a third had any knowledge at all of that. That alone was a fantastic development for the world.

From now on, they’re going to be wondering, what’s Family Radio up to? What’s this business of Judgment Day? We know, it’s because an impact has been made that could only be made the way it was made. But, we still have the same God to whom we go for everything. We (laughs) We’re not going to find it by going out in the forest and look at trees. We’re not going to find it by talking to the people in the government. We have to go to God and ask for help. And in the meanwhile, we wait upon God until God does what he’s going to do. We’re going to talk about this again and again on Family Radio so that it will be an encouragement to all us.”

In his follow-up message (clocking in at a over 26 minutes) a few days later on November 8, Camping reiterates his position that Family Radio succeeded in spreading the word of God to the world. He argues that:

“When God did not bring about the end of the world as we had been thinking it would happen, we know that it’s God’s plan and we don’t argue with God. We’re not angry with God. We’re not unhappy with God. We simply say, oh, Lord, we misunderstood somehow or you changed your plan or whatever, but we’re willing to listen. What next, what next, Oh Lord.”

Using illustrations from the Bible, Camping explains that the non-events of Judgment Day can be compared to the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. He says,

“Now this is the way God has been treating us. This is one illustration. He has brought us right to the, well, (chuckles) ’til we had the sword in our hand. We were ready to say, ‘Goodbye’ all those who claim that they believed in the Lord and we know and we knew that there were probably two thirds of the world that had never even heard about the Lord. We were ready to say goodbye to them, it’s all over, it’s all over, it’s time for the end. And now at the last moment, God has come and said, No, No, it’s not the end, I still have some other plans.

So what do we do? What do we do? Do we argue with God? Wait a minute God, you said it so plainly, we were so convinced. There were so many proofs of the Bible that it cannot have been that we were incorrect. Maybe in a tiny detail here or there, but no God, we’re sure that it had to happen. But it didn’t happen and we know that God brought it right to the very edge, right to the very day and past the day that there should have been judgment seen all over the world.

So, the first question I have to ask all of us. I have to ask myself this very very carefully. Are we ready to see that we did not understand God’s plan altogether. Are we ready to stand back and wait and do some more studying? And recognize that maybe God is not finished with bringing salvation to the world.

As a matter of fact we know that only about a third of the world had ever heard of the Bible before 5 months ago. Now, by God’s mercy through the actions of Family Radio, as stupid as they some may think they may have been, as incorrect as some may think they may have been. Yet they all fit into a part of a plan where now the whole world has heard about the Bible. They’ve heard about the God of the Bible. God now is ready for the next action, based on that kind of information. What will that be? And that is where we have to start our thinking. We have to begin to think it out. How does all of that impact our future teaching of the Bible. And so, in our next study, we’re going to begin to examine that. Thank you very much.”


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21 Responses to Family Radio to Sell WKDN to Merlin Media for $22.5 Million

  1. veberly December 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Mr. Camping, having listened to wfsi for 40 yrs, I was dismayed to spend a sleepless night w/o my hymns. What ever you said about the judgment is forgiven. Just tell CBS that there is a serious. Commercial/noncommercial market for sacred music. What WDC don’t need is another TALK format radio. So stay with the sooothing sacred sounds of hymns, gospel and spirituals, and scripture reading. I hope that others will speak up and out.

    • Jadziah February 13, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      I agree with verberly and Couts. I miss the wonderful spiritual music , Bible study and Walk with the King. It is truly sad to not have any spiritual stations in NJ on the FM frequency except for Christian rock which someone else commented on. WHat we DO NOT need is Mr. Camping. He did more to alienate people from istening to Christian radio than he will ever know. It seems to be no coincidence that Mr. Camping had a stroke shortly after that effected his speech center. But God has allowed him to recover and get back on the radio. Sad for us and now the entire radio station is gone. I would not donate to the station because of him and was praying that he would go away. There is a big void that needs to be filled and we need a station similar to Family Radio but without Camping and the evolution guy who really talks nonsense. Does anyone know why the other workers/people at Family Radio are allowing their franchise to deteriorate and they won’t let Camping go? This is a very sad situation for us who depended on the beautiful music.

  2. Fitsum A. December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    All I can say to this old fool man and his ignorant fllowers is to read this verse in the bible.

    Read Matthew 24:36, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

    Can it be clearer than that?

    • Thomas O. Fiandaca February 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Mark 13 verse 32 and Matthew 24 verse 36 speak of Jesus and His holy angels in the present tense, in A.D. 33. They do not entirely speak of them only a few weeks or months later, when in His Spirit, the Lord endured the day and hour of eternal judgment at the Cross, to be completed in the last day. It is foolish and wicked to misapply these verses of Scripture to deny the truth of end-time prophecy, as so many do. God had a timetable for His Son, and it was not His office to know, do, or act out of order. He hid the info of the End in His Word of power, rather, which includes all manner of sacred time notices that imply something different than what so many people are saying, who deny the Deity of Christ, for example. He knows when He is coming to take the body of His people who were not a people into His holy heaven at once at the last day in the rapture, not just one-by-one at the end of their earthly lifetimes, as many who deny Christ teach. I therefore have written a book called The Last Year of Promise explaining all such things, as inadequate to the task as I might be, as God chose the weak and foolish of this world to confound the wise. Click the picture of the front cover at the website for the back cover summation that I wrote. I just know it is going to wow a lot of those who are cast down as I am, whether saved or if God might yet save us. Many whom God brings into everlasting glory in the End shall not have known that He was going to save them, even as many who remain unjust (the majority of humankind) who thought they were just shall perish in unbelief. If one has the hope that God alone can give, it is like none other. He alone honors those with that knowledge. He looks on the heart, not as man sees. Bro Camping and the fall of believers and true believers among them at the end of the church age and after shall make way for the salvation of many, as the treasures of truth concerning the End that might rather be in fall, 2017 may be made known if it is God’s will and the information applies. I may have to judge a bit concerning those arguments against the truth, but it is just. Bro Camping was the best Bible teacher I have ever met and loved in Christ. God bless all his enemies who see him as he is, not as I have known of him, as a true believer. May the Lord have mercy upon all of humankind, if this is indeed the last generation. I used the timetable Bro Camping published as fact creatively to develop 50 time paths and a lot more to come to this conclusion, as I believe without yet knowing, although circumstantial evidence is akin to it. I believe in hope, which is unseen, and my book is meant to be inspirational to all who are fallen and need our Lord to uplift us with truth, not with the lies of so many. Bro Camping used to say that many ask, “Where is truth?” He always pointed to the whole Bible alone and in its entirety, the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and expended the treasures of Family Radio to get people to read it for themselves and beg the Lord for mercy, as it both says and teaches. So Read the Bible a little more carefully, you who say that no man can know the day or the hour falsely, in the present, when we are most likely so near the End.

  3. margo taylor February 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Please save WKDN till @ least PURIM, IT is such a Blessing.

  4. Jeff Pohlig February 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    PLEASE !!! Family Radio/Family Stations Inc., please don’t sell WKDN. “I need it every hour”.It’s the only thing that keeps me alive! I praise GOD for it. it’s on in bed room 24/7/365, except when there is a problem with the station. I try to listen to it through the internet also but have occasional problems.

  5. G. Couts February 21, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I did not like Mr. Camping teachings at all, I think he was totally off most of the time. However I did like the fact that there was quiet sacred classical, traditional music played on the station We need this format for this stressful world we life, we don’t need any more loud, hip hop type music. I would listen to the music and turn the radio off when Mr. Camping started talking.

  6. sk8ersbus1 April 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I agree with G Couts. I too would turn it off whenever Camping would speak (as well as dwayne spencer’s study in the word, which has subtle erroneous teachings) , though I’m grateful he announced he’d learned his lesson about setting dates, which is against God’s plan. (That was the only thing keeping me from financially supporting family radio) I pray he draws closer to God from all this. It is devastating to think wkdn goes off air effective 4/16. For the most part the hymns are very soothing, as well as the Bible reading of course. No it’s not my most favorite type of music- some of the opera or overly traditinal stuff I could live without. I’m 27 years old and used to like hip hop (“christian” , that is). But a steady diet of that fleshly stuff, take it from me, can only cause problems in a growing Christian, and I’m a better person since i gave it up. But Family radio hymns truly edify my spirit, and not merely my flesh. I (as welll as my mother) also always loved Dr Robert A cook’s “walk with the king”.

  7. Margaret S. April 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    I have been a listener of Family Radio since 1978. It will be a great loss to the Christian community if it will be replaced with hip hop and already saturated talk shows. My radio in the bedroom for all of my Christian walk has remained on WKDN. Since I didn’t agree with Bro. Camping and some of his views, it was my Christian duty to pray for him or wait until he left the air and returned back to listening to other programs. I hope and pray that someone will see to it that the wonderful music will not be lost to our ears. In the past, I learned to appreciate all types of music and sacred music is what keeps me lifted up in spirit. I will continue to pray for all of you that God will meet your needs as WKDN has done so in the past. Walk with the KING..

  8. Angelica Aguirre April 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Shameful! What they are doing is shameful. No profit/no radio. What??? So, he is gone, the programing is cut, and now, no more music. What did we do to deserve this? Millions of souls abandoned in a sea of noise….

  9. Doug Robinson April 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    I am very disappointed that WKDN will no longer be there. It will be a great loss to the religious community. There is no other station in the area like it. If funding was the issue I would be willing to pitch in and help.

  10. Thomasennia Amos April 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I am a WKDN supporter for over 25 years . I have sent in monthly offering and increased my giving each month as the May 21st date neared for about 6 months. I am deeply disturbed that WKDN will not be heard after April 16th ? How was the decision made as to which stations were to be sold ?

    I will greatly miss the programming ! when I hear what may replace the Christian programmig I am really disturbed .

  11. E. Bassler April 13, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I never listened to WKDN much till I became chronically ill last Oct. Since then it has been a God-send to me since I am no longer active and mostly lie around. I don’t listen to Camping but enjoy everything else. I think it was a financial loss due to his predictions that forced the selling of WKDN. I will really miss it.

  12. L.M. Atwell April 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    It grieves me that WKDN will go off the air tonight. I have loved listening to it around the clock for several years. I have the station playing in 5 separate areas of my home including the garage and back deck not to mention my car. It is a shame that, once again, money dictates. Of all the stations to sell off – this one – WKDN which is broadcast over such a large area as the Philadelphia/Delware/NJ market which is a hugh audience. At a time when we live in such a godless society and the filth and crap across the airwaves it saddens me so much that the enemy has robbed us of another avenue to hear the WORD and be comforted with such wonderful music. I am deeply disappointed in Family Radio’s decison to sell off to the, oh, so, secular CBS congromerate and for what ? the fricking dollar. Perhaps if Mr. Camping would have kept his arrogance to himself for so many months with his end of the world predictions maybe donations would not have dropped causing the network to hatchet stations like WKDN. To wit I say, ‘Shame of Family Radio and shame on Harold Camping.’ You really threw your devoted listeners under the bus and you, Mr Camping, who has led more people away from the cross with your wrong teachings LMA you will answer for it one day………………. LMAtwell

  13. Bob April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I am wondering what Harold Camping is doing with the money from the sales of his stations. Being a Christian I find it sad that people donated to Family Radio for years and now it is going away. The money could have been more wisely spent in people’s home churches.

    I read some of the article above and find it a weak argument that the world was made more aware of Christ’s eventually return.

  14. Leonard Nicoletti III April 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I have been listening to WKDN Family Radio since 1980 (32 years) every day. Wow I can’t believe this station was sold. What a loss for all concerned. The daily Bible Scripture reading with Mr. VanDyke was a staple for me, traditional hymns, Science and salvation, daily Bible quizzes, and Dan Seymour family tips all valuable. All the elderly shut ins in Philly are really going to feel this loss. I do miss the Bible study hour with Dr. Boice that was aired for years, and Dr. Boices daily message from the Word. Maybe they can go on satellite. They have a HD TV over the air feed in Philadelphia. The late nights and car rides without Family Radio will be less joy full. As far as Harold Camping goes He has a lot of wisdom, and like us all has flaws and apologized. I think the real problem is when he attacked the local churches viability and God judged this! Sort of messing with Christ’s bride.. Not a good thing. I also turned him off most of the time he taught the last 5 years or so. I’m praying for Family radio and the Philly listeners that have no other means to listen to this type of programing.

  15. Leonard Nicoletti III April 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    I’m guilty of the insistence to fixate on honest faults even after apologies and never acknowledges large accomplishments. The church can not overlook the tremendous good Howard Camping has done in building the Family Radio stations network. There are multiple stations and repeaters in every state of the nation and short wave around the globe in multiple languages daily preaching the gospel! This brother is gifted and evident in the scale of outreach globally with this type of programming. PTL for this bro! His heart must be broken in having to give up these two stations (Philly and Annapolis MD).

  16. VFig October 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    To this day, I still miss the various types of programming especially the daily Bible reading and music.

  17. john b February 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    I blame the Board of Family Radio for the disgraceful demise of certain Family Stations. How they allowed this babbling fool, Howard Camping, to go on and on with his false gospel and silly prognastications is a mystery to me. How could they be so blind or worse compliant with his nonsense? Mr Camping should have been given a “time out” and retired to his prayer closet 25 years ago? Forgive me if I have been a little “rough”. Where is St. Paul when we need him?

    • Jadziah February 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      Agreed. Thanks John for putting it so well. You are not rough but very accurate. The people at Family Radio drank the Koolaide and I will never understand why.

  18. JAG February 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    These guys are still teaching stuff about judgement day… and tying it to may 21, 2011. They even came up with a potential end date in 2015, using revelation 14.

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