When I arrived to the bay area in early 2007, I noticed something surreal--the same crusty old hyperfundamentalist minister I picked up on shortwave many years earlier in the middle of the country was much more prominently signalling his message to the irreligious left coast not on shortwave, but on FM, AM, and television. Furthermore, his international media empire was stationed out of Oakland and Alameda, of all places! Stupid me for ever entertaining the notion that moving to the bay area meant leaving bad religion behind for good. A bit of listening reminded me that Family Radio and its host Bible teacher are a far cry from the slick, consumer friendly televangelical bible-kitsch of TBN, or defiant Republican agitprop so prominent in the programming of typical midwestern FM "christian radio" or Robertson's "Christian Broadcasting Network." Instead, Family Radio's programming style appears to have been freeze dried the day it went on the air in 1959: The mental hygiene production style that was so useful against commies, acne, heavy petting, and marijuana, so good for promoting safe driving and table manners, had another use besides classroom filler-time to justify the price shools paid for expensive media gadgetry: Making sure the whole world knows that "God's Word, The Bible" (a frequent on air mantra) is exactly the kind of perfect instruction book that early twentieth century fundamentalists said it was.
The relaxing, almost hypnotic flow of 1950's hymn performances, methodical bible recitation, and Harold Camping's bible teaching and Open Forum on-air call-in that I remembered for the 80's was utterly the same in 2007 as it always had been. A perfectly intact hold-out of crew-cutted, pioneer bonneted, King James bible thumping, non-voting, non-smoking, anti-rockin-rolling, apolitical mid-century fundamentalists whose only deviation from the time they went on air was to believe that their bible teacher knew more and more with every passing year about what "God's Word: The Bible" actually said.
The knowledge Harold Camping imparted grew ever more appropriate for such a singular hold-out to change: Only quitting church and listening to Family Radio meant hearing the True Plan of Salvation. Only Harold Camping had properly handled God's Word: The Linguistic Divination Stone in a way that extracted the perfect truth from it. And that perfect truth: The world will end, starting on May 22, 2011, with the rapture of saved souls into heaven.
The second failed apocalyptic prediction emanating from Family Radio's airwaves, and an even more successful basis for gaining listener donations than the first