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Family Radio to Cease Shortwave Operations from Historic WYFR

Family Radio Shortwave Map

Family Radio’s Shortwave Wave (photo: J. Waits)

Shortwave Central is reporting that Christian broadcasting network Family Radio will cease operations from its Florida-based shortwave radio station WYFR at the end of June.

According to a message posted from WYFR Station Manager Dan Elyea, “We regretfully inform you that the final day of operation for WYFR will be June 30, 2013.” No reason was given for the station closure, but Family Radio has made a number of cost-cutting moves in the past year. Founded by Harold Camping, Family Radio gained mainstream attention when it blanketed the media with Camping’s predictions about both Judgment Day (May 21, 2011) the end of the world (October 21, 2011) two years ago.

In addition to hosting a talk show for more than 50 years out of his California headquarters, Camping has also been a savvy radio station owner, expanding his network of stations not only across the country, but all over the world through shortwave radio.

Family Radio stickers

Family Radio Stickers on a Door at the Network Headquarters (photo: J. Waits)

Family Radio has owned WYFR (which originated in 1927 as an experimental shortwave station out of Boston) since October, 1973. In an account of the history of the station, Jim Cumbie said that station was moved to Florida in 1976 and broadcasts to Europe and South America were made from the new location beginning in 1977. Cumbie wrote, “In 1977, WYFR received 13,000 letters in one year from Latin America alone. The owners knew at that point, that their ministry was expanding. Cuba was then added to the listening range; and by 1978, Family Radio was the strongest signal heard in that Communist country.”

Although an archived Family Radio web page from 2011 lists shortwave broadcasts into Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Africa, China, Korea, Myanmar, Russia, Brazil, Vietnam, and Central America in a huge array of languages, current listings on the Family Radio website indicate a smaller line-up of international broadcasts in English, Chinese, Portugese, Russian, Spanish, and Southeast Asian languages (Tagalog, Burmese, Indonesian, and Vietnamese).

An article, “The World’s Shift from Shortwave to DTH – Direct to Home TV” in the Family Radio newsletter, Open Line (PDF) seems to indicate that the network is moving much of its international broadcasts to satellite services. The article states,

“Family Radio continues to broadcast programming via shortwave to Asia, and Central and South America. However, over the course of the last 36 years, the world has been shifting from its use of shortwave to DTH – Direct To Home – TV. To better serve countries where DTH use dominates the airwaves, and where access to the Internet is beyond the means of a typical overseas resident, Family Radio is pursuing DTH as a means to reach the people of these countries…

This growth of the DTH industries presents a readily available way to transmit the Gospel to a lot of the world without requiring the use of radios or radio stations…Family Radio has been in the DTH industry for many years…Family Radio is available on satellite television at no cost to the DTH user in Europe and North Africa. Family Radio now broadcasts three separate, 24-hours-a-day, channels for our satellite outreach…”

The article makes no mention of the future of shortwave for Family Radio. Here’s a clip of a Spanish language broadcast from shortwave station WYFR.




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16 Responses to Family Radio to Cease Shortwave Operations from Historic WYFR

  1. Dennis Hamilton June 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    We will be shutting down as of sign off on Sunday night. Watch http://www.wyfr.org for historical info and pictures from WYFR’s past.

    • Jennifer Waits June 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks for letting us know, Dennis. Looking forward to seeing all of the historical info!

  2. David June 29, 2013 at 4:52 am #

    Harold Camping’s false prophecies regarding the end of the world has cost the Family Radio network lots of listeners and supporters:
    http://bit.ly/FalseProphetRadio

  3. Kelly June 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    I really loved them. Sorry to see so many people really hurt by this, but for me, it was a very uplifting exciting period of my life. Love the bible!! I just saw it as the day He finally came and ended all the sadness and terrible things. :) I still say i love family radio. Sorry to see it go. :(

  4. Karl Keller June 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    While I’m happy to see the false prophet Harold Camping get his just desserts, it’s sad to see any shortwave broadcaster go silent. Even more sad is the station’s demise will leave a number of broadcasters in the lurch looking for replacement relay transmitters. Some, like Radio Taiwan International, have indicated they will just give up on shortwave broadcasting. Many will probably just move to web streaming…sad.

  5. Karl Keller June 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Well, they’re gone. At 0400 UTC Radio Taiwan International signed off, without indication that they wouldn’t be returning. This was followed by a male voice who signed the station, and pulled the plug. Bye-bye WYFR.

  6. Johnny June 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I’ve been a Family Radio listener for over 45 years.
    During that time, under the leadership of Harold Camping, they have always tried to be faithful servants of our God and Saviour.
    In all my years, I have never met a perfect Christian.
    Now is not a time to condemn or be judgmental.
    For fifty years Harold Camping and his family have selflessly devoted their lives to this incredible ministry.
    Family Radio and Mr. Camping need our prayers and support more now than ever.
    May God continue to bless and give the staff wisdom.
    And may God continue to bless all Family Radio’s faithful friends and supporters.

    • David July 1, 2013 at 12:24 am #

      The Bible has a lot to say about people who teach false doctrines, which is what Harold Camping has increasingly done:
      http://www.apologeticsindex.org/2027-harold-camping-family-radio

      The Bible also teaches Christians to grow in discernment:
      http://www.apologeticsindex.org/618-discernment-2

      One of the primary reasons why it is going so bad with Family Radio is that countless Christians have stopped supporting it — precisely because of Camping’s bad theology.

      The sad surprise is that it took them so long to realize it.

    • Phill July 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      The day Jerry Edinger (Nightwatch) left family radio nearly a dozen years ago is the day I left too. That really was the beginning of the end for family radio. There simply was no reason for me to tune in anymore.

      It’s a shame that the Family Radio got off the rails. You’d think that after ’94 they could have righted the ship. But now, it’s better that they are silent. Really a lot of heavy hearts.

    • gwen deans October 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      This was/is the time when true Christians are being tested. We do not comdem. We pray. Family radio has been and will always be a blessing in my life.. God used Harold Camping for His purposes. Praise God.

  7. Darrell July 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Family Radio is the most faithful ministry on this wicked planet. Oh sure, some folks condemn Harold Camping for attempting to understand many difficult verses regarding the great tribulation and Christ’s return. But when we consider the apostasy, signs and wonders, divorce, adultery, worldly lust for money and sexual perversion in the church–Camping’s mistake pale in comparison.

    FR radio is one of the few stations in the world that preaches the true message of salvation–which is by the Faith of Christ. This is a great loss for the world!

  8. Merwyn July 15, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    I too have listened to Family radio for many years… especially enjoyed the traditional hymns and 30 minute Bible readings. Camping’s later teachings of 2nd Coming date setting and The End of the Church age were/are bogus. While I agree the established Church has many shortcomings, Jesus Christ is working through and in, His people in it. Camping was telling listeners to leave their churches….well, some churches should be abandoned, but not as a whole.

    So, in part due to his false teachings, support has fallen off… and another ministry avenue is gone… Maybe someone with a correct theological stance can take the reins, and perhaps in part return it to what it was. However, personally, it looks like the decline of Christianity in the Western world will continue. How many supporters of the various ministries will be left once the older folk are gone? My guess is, only a scant few by comparison.

    • Phill July 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Camping’s false teachings became a horrible distraction away from anything positive that was left, and gave others an excuse to mock anything good.

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