The end-of-the-world message heard on some Orange County channels during an Emergency Alert System test on Thursday was a technical glitch prompted by a local radio station, broadcasting officials said on Friday.
KWVE-FM, a Santa Ana station that broadcasts Christian programs, was conducting the test for the region that did not properly kick off – prompting a pastor’s comments meant only for that station to be heard over TV and probably radio channels.
“During a regularly scheduled test of the Emergency Alert System for Orange County, KWVE-FM experienced an equipment failure that resulted in KWVE-FM not sending the end-of-message tones that would disconnect those media entities participating in the Emergency Alert System test,” a statement from the station says.
“When KWVE-FM resumed its regular programming, approximately 90 seconds of that audio was sent to the rest of the participants of the Emergency Alert System test.”
KWVE-FM has volunteered to be the primary Emergency Alert System station for the area since the inception of the alerts in 1996 and has never experienced a similar equipment failure, the statement says.
“The piece of equipment that failed has been sent back to the manufacturer in an effort to understand how the failure happened and to remedy the situation so that it will not happen again,” the statement says.
Joe Camero, a spokesman for Cox Communications, among the cable networks that picked up the gaffe, said the system’s rare burp is why tests are held.
“Finding equipment failures is exactly what regular testing is supposed to do,” he said. “KWVE has sent literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of tests … and the vast majority of them go off without a hitch.”
Thursday morning’s words caught many viewers watching various shows off guard.
The muffled message from a man sounded like it said: “Realize this, extremely violent times will come.”
It was apparently a broadcast from Pastor Chuck Swindoll, the leader of a Texas-based church, during the program “Insight for Life.” At the time he was discussing end-of-times prophecy.
The announcer introduced the sermon, “Depravity on Parade,” with a Bible Scripture from the Second Book of Timothy: “Realize this, Timothy, that in the last days difficult times will come.”
Swindoll then repeated the line during the cablecast.
Bill Gemaehlich, chief operating officer for “Insight for Life,” said on Friday the sermon was recorded more than a year…