The billboards all contain a link to FamilyRadio.com, which I guess is a chain of christian radio stations. The website gives a walkthrough of the math that they used in coming up with the May 21 date. It is... suspicious at best, and tends to involve a lot of handwaving and assumptions.
The local San Francisco affiliate is 610AM. I'll admit it... I enjoy a good freak show. Over the weekend I switched my radio away from NPR, and flipped it to the low end of the AM band.
The station is weird. As far as I can tell, it plays a lot of christian religious music interspersed with bible readings and inspirational messages. There's also a call-in show where people call in and ask the host about various bible verses, and the host gives his long, rambling interpretation of them in a moderately flat tone of voice. Today I heard a five-minute discussion about different uses of the word "before" in neighboring verses.
He also seems to give out advice, some of which doesn't seem to be too bad. One guy called in and said that his wife wants a divorce and he doesn't, and asked the host what he should do. The host gave a five-minute spiel about focusing on his own behavior, and treating his wife lovingly and affectionately regardless of how she might be behaving. "Pay attention to your own shortcomings and don't worry about hers." It's actually pretty good relationship advice.
I'll admit that I have the urge to prank the call-in show by constructing bible questions that will lead them into traps, but I won't do it. I have better things to do with my time.
I can only stomach so much of this station at a time, but I plan to flip back and forth between NPR and this station for the next few weeks. I'm really looking forward to hearing the fervor in mid-May, as well as the backpedaling on May 22.
Saturday night I went to see Justin Vivian Bond (who you may know as the mistress of Short Bus in the movie of the same name) in concert. She's a faaaaabulous cabaret singer, and it was an outstanding show. She mentioned these billboards during the show. "I pray that it's true. It would mean that all of those crazy people would be gone for good!"