The power of one man brings down local radio program

By Christopher T. MurphyKansas City Christian

November-December 1993 – He was working late in his shop when he heard it on the radio. He’d listened to other stations before, but had never heard anything like what he heard that night last winter. The show was “Let’s Talk About Sex” hosted by Janelle Carol, a professor at Baker University. The show aired 9 to 11 weeknights on 81 KCMO radio.

That is, it used to. The show is no longer on the air anywhere. This is the story of one man, Anthony L. Leake, Jr., and his concern for his community and its children.

“I honestly thought it would be illegal to be putting out the type of information she was putting out over the air. I didn’t think you could say those things on the radio,” Leake said.

The show was two hours of discussion between the host and callers who related explicit stories concerning sexual activities, some of which constitute felonies in Missouri.

Leake listened. And listened. Then he got mad. As he listened he noticed that several callers were between 11 and 13 years old and were being told that engaging in sexual relationships even at those ages was normal and healthy. They were told that condoms were safe, that abortion was fine and an acceptable form of birth control, and that sex with anyone was permissible.

Besides the children listening, adults would call and relate bizarre situations, and the host would ask them to explain in detail, becoming more graphic as the calls progressed.

Distressed that dangerous information was being presented to children over the air, Leake decided that something must be done. After hearing Carol recommend Planned Parenthood to several young girls, he called her and basically told her that referring to Planned Parenthood was referring children to killers.

“She stopped referring kids there after that,” Leake said.

“I called her maybe four times altogether, challenging bad medical information she was presenting. She always said she would look into the topic further but never came back the next night to report what she had found. I asked her to stop putting out bad information. She refused. So I called the station manager, Skip Stowe. I called him twice and left messages, but he never returned my calls. So I went straight to the advertisers. I had to tape quite a few programs to get a list of advertisers.”

Leake started calling the national headquarters of the companies that had purchased radio time and informed them of what they were sponsoring with their money. Leake said he was polite and friendly. “I never put them on the spot and said ‘What are you going to do about it?’ or anything like that. I just informed them of what kind of advice was going out over the air connected to products they advertised. Most companies didn’t know what they were sponsoring.” Leake said.

Leake made over $300.00 worth of long distance calls to corporate headquarters all over the United States. Then he sent letters to the heads of those companies.

“The general reaction was one of shock. Most of these companies had no idea they were paying for that kind of programming,” Leake related. When informed of the content of the show, over 40 sponsors dropped their advertising.

Boasting openly on her show that “no one has enough power to get rid of me,” and that she was glad that Kansas City was “open minded enough to air this kind of show,” Janelle Carol continued to broadcast her show without benefit of advertising from late June and into July.

Some advertisers balked at pulling their ads when contacted by Leake.

“Brands Mart said they were glad to be on the show and wanted to promote the show. Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems was the most stubborn local advertiser. They had a deal with the station for their ‘Star 18’ phone line.

“I talked with them twice, sent them a letter and then called them again to let them know that not only were we going to compile a list of advertisers that support the dangerous information being given out, but that we would be coming down to Southwestern Bell and picketing them,” Leake said.

During this time, Tony and his wife Michelle were being held up in prayer by their friends and their church. After the show’s advertisers dropped out and the show remained on the air, Leake decided to contact the daytime sponsors on 81 KCMO and tell them that they were sponsoring more than they thought.

“That’s when it really got crazy around here,” Michelle Leake said. “Tony would get up in the morning and listen to KCMO radio all day and into the night to compile a complete list of sponsors to write. It was definitely spiritual warfare. We thank God for our church and friends lifting us up in prayer. And Tony had such perseverance. I would have quit after a few tries, but not my husband. He stood steadfast and listened every day of the week. I have never been so thankful for the weekend when I could have my husband back from the radio.”

Daytime advertisers pressured the station and the only sponsors that remained were connected to the top of the hour news breaks.

Leake contacted CBS and explained what was happening.

CBS contacted KCMO and explained that they would have to pay for their news if the show remained without ads. The show was pulled off the air on Friday, July 30. Janelle Carol was not notified until the following Monday by the station.

“It worked out real well in that she didn’t have time to put out a last minute plea to her preteen and teenage listeners to keep her show on the air,” Leake commented.

Leake said that as father of four children he had to stand up for them and protect them from bad information about sex which, if not challenged and corrected, could lead to disease and death.

The power of one man concerned for his family changed things for all of Kansas City. And it isn’t going to stop here.

With like minded friends, Tony has set up the Family Action Coalition, an organization dedicated to supporting the family that is under attack from a number of fronts. The Coalition will address issues such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography and other threats to the family. It’s a non-profit organization and will accept donations sent to: The Family Action Coalition, Post Office Box 1043, Belton, MO 64012.