Harold Camping proves radio was not a driver of 2011 news


The lists are coming out all over the place – compilations of the top this, the worst that, and the biggest those for just about any category one can think of. But when it comes to stories making national news, the biggest radio story was the failed apocalyptic vision of Family Radio’s Harold Camping – a story that was less about radio and more about the possible end of the world.

Camping had predicted that 5/21/11 and 10/21/11 were going to be the key dates in his end-of-time scenario. When 5/21/11 came and went without any obvious cataclysms, Camping adjusted smoothly, declaring that a quiet event had taken place and continued to warn of a major event on 10/21/11.

That prediction also proved incorrect. According to a recent LiveScience.com article, Camping is now retired and is certainly out of the prediction business. He is said to be trying to figure out how he got his biblical interpretations wrong.

In addition to not coming out with any new dates, he is not endorsing dates coming from any other sources – notably the Mayan calendar which some believe points to the end of the world on 12/21/12.

The bad news for radio is that other than the Camping story, it did not have any major triumphs or successes that were notable enough to capture the public imagination in 2011. On the other hand, the good news for radio is that is did not suffer any major embarrassments or setbacks that were notable enough to capture the public imagination.

RBR-TVBR observation: The last thing radio companies need to worry about is making national news headlines. A quiet yet firm focus on taking advantage of easy comps to put up some reasonably gaudy black ink revenue percentages will suit us fine, thank you very much.