Friday, May 20, 2011

Harold Camping, revisited

On Sunday, September 23, 2007, my mrontemp blog contained a long post on the religious issues surrounding Harold Camping. Since that time, of course, Camping has forcefully declared that May 21, 2011 is THE DAY.

Inasmuch as this is a business blog, I'm not going to get into the religious issues here, but will instead look at the business of Harold Camping.

CNN took a look at the business end of Family Radio Ministries in an article yesterday, noting that Family Radio Ministries is almost entirely funded by donations, and that the organization received $18 million in contributions in 2009 and has $72 million in assets. However, considering the nature of Camping's organization, that's not outlandish:

"At first glance, it looks like they have a lot of assets, but they actually don't have a lot of cash that they're stockpiling," said Laurie Styron, analyst with the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Most of the group's net worth is tied up in FCC broadcasting licenses, valued at $56 million. Family Radio claimed it held only $1.5 million in cash on its books at the end of 2009.

However, CNN (and the rest of us) only have access to 2009 information. The Contra Costa Times quotes a board member:

As The End nears, donations have spiked, a board member says, enabling Family Radio to spend millions of dollars on more than 5,000 billboards.

However, the spokesperson claims that the incoming funds have not been able to cover all of the expenses incurred over the last few months.

Which, of course, raises the possibility that Family Radio Ministries may go bankrupt in the next few months.

If there is a next few months. Unlike Harold Camping, I don't know.

But if Camping is wrong, what will Robert Patrick do:

A retired worker has spent his whole life saving (20 years retirement income) to advertise Harold Camping’s May 21 2011 End of the world in the Subway. Yes folks, it is Camping's End of the world date not God's.

Robert Patrick worked 20 years for the Transit system and retired with a pretty nice saving. He is convinced Camping is right and has spent his full $100,000 in saving on Subway and Bus ads....

He is 60 years old and has used all his savings. The cost of advertising in the subways is expensive and he will have nothing left as of DOOMS DAY (May21st)
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