Radio Personality John Anthony: A True Story Of Redemption
John Anthony is talk show host on AM 560 and Conservative leader
File photo/ John Anthony (2023)
©️Val Ojeda, Writer
Everyone loves a comeback story. Just this weekend actor Brendan Fraser, the actor famous for the “Mummy” movies of the 90s, won an Academy Award for Best Actor. For years, he fell off the Hollywood scene and was blacklisted for exposing a predator producer. He also suffered from medical problems that led to him transforming his body. He gained a lot of weight, and he lost his famous toned body and good looks.
Years later, the Hollywood community counted him out. He became blacklisted for exposing one of their own. He would never act again. Soon he was afforded the opportunity of a comeback. This time using his new appeal with his new look. In one movie, he played an overweight mobster. Eventually, he landed the role of the “Whale” which he won the Oscar for.
One day, he was shunned and forgotten, and now he's on top of the world and in demand as one of the greatest actors in our lifetime. His next project will be the remake of “It's a Wonderful life", a role that's perfect for him. Another comeback story.
History itself has examples of redemption stories, starting with the Bible. The story of King David taking back Jerusalem. Our Savior Jesus Christ rising from the dead. The Apostle Peter, who turned his back on Christ only to preach the Gospel across a continent and later crucified upside down.
Abraham Lincoln was President when the southern states seceded from the Union, beginning the Civil War. After a half of a million Americans died in horrific battles, he won the war, saving the Union. Years later, America was under attack by Japan at Pearl Harbor. After a deadly campaign, combatting the axis powers in two theaters, Europe and the Pacific, the U.S. declared victory. We won a world war a second time.
We have also seen comeback stories in politics. Both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, ran for President and lost only to run again later and break records for winning the most electoral votes, winning almost every single state except for one. The only two Presidents to do so.
Now I want to share with you a true redemption story. This story is about former Illinois State Representative and radio personality, John Anthony. John is a leader in the Illinois Republican Party and is spearheading a grassroots movement to take back our state. Many love and respect him. You can hear him on his radio show “Black and Right” on AM 560 every Saturday as he discusses politics, public policy and current events.
File photo/John Anthony (2016)
Many people look upon John as an example of success. To be on the radio and popular with a large following. John, by no means, fell into his radio show by mistake. It was a journey.
This past Saturday, I had an opportunity to interview John. One thing that I can tell you about him is that I've always seen him happy and smiling. But beneath that smile lies some heartbreak and tragedy.
John was born in Chicago. A born again Christian, John attended Benedictine University to study law enforcement, even considering becoming a preacher taking a Christian studies course.
He moved from Chicago to Plainfield, where he met his beautiful bride, Deborah, a popular author and motivational speaker. Deborah is his rock and his strength. They had six children. five girls and one boy.
File photo/Facebook (2023) John and Deborah Anthony
John eventually became a Police Officer. First with the City of Champaign, then moving on to the Kendall County Sheriff's Police from 2008 to 2013. He became an exemplary patrol officer and gang expert. As a Police Officer, he knew what it was to truly serve the community. To not only save lives, but to also provide comfort to those who suffered tragedy.
File photo/John Anthony (2013)
Such tragedies are temporary for most, but for John, it was a daily process. Witnessing horrific car accidents to homicides. Behind his tough bearing lay survivors' guilt and Post Traumatic Stress that many Police Officers suffer from over the years. However, John never took his job home with him, staying strong for his family in faith.
Active in the Republican Party, John began volunteering for political campaigns and grassroots projects concerned about the state of the country. He wanted to provide a better state and nation for the sake of his children's future. To provide them better financial prosperity and security.
John campaigned for Pam Roth. Later, when she announced her move out of state, party officials tapped John to fill her seat.
John was sworn in to become a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, he represented the 75th district from August 2013 to June 2016. The district represented all or parts of Minooka, Channahon, Joliet, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Sheridan and Plano. He was the first African American Republican member of the Illinois General Assembly in 40 years.
As a new member John was expelled from the Black Caucus for being Republican. Even former State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia who was later fired from her job as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs called him out on the floor of the General Assembly as a “Half-breed” during a debate.
John continued to fight, though. His passion was education and a safer Illinois by combating crime. Introducing legislation to support the Police.
John adapted to public service. To be the voice for the forgotten ones. To deliver the services needed to the people of Illinois. To fight for the workers and farmers. He found his calling.
Witnessing the rise of Barack Obama through the Illinois Senate, U.S. Senate and the Presidency, John weighed his options to do the same. As a Black Conservative Republican. The party needed more black representation in higher elected offices. He eyed a potential run for Secretary of State, challenging Democrat Jesse White. Eventually, Governor of Illinois in time.
Those plans had to wait.
Governor Bruce Rauner needed help on the executive end of government. His plans included rebuilding Illinois by eliminating corruption in several departments. Holdovers from decades of cronyism and nepotism. So in June 2016, Rauner appointed John as an executive director of the Illinois Department of Corrections. The number three position in the prison system. John brought a lot to the table, but number one was reform. John transformed the department to be more professional with new programs that he created to better the department and save the taxpayer's money.
File photo/John Anthony and Bruce Rauner (2015)
John still had his eye on running again. The problem that he encountered before though was the Republican Party in Grundy County failed to support him when he ran in his own right in the 75th District when he was a representative before. As a matter of fact, they even considered to primary him. Eventually, he won his seat in his own right.
Would the party accept him running for statewide office now?
That idea ended less than six months after he was appointed to his new position.
John attended an IDOC Christmas party to represent senior staff at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Springfield. The Wyndham is a famous destination for politicians, lobbyists and others that want to climb the ladder in government service. The hotel hosts many government conventions, fundraisers and other functions.
This party went all out with decorations, food, an open bar, music, and dancing. A night of rejoicing for Christmas and celebrating the holidays. Unfortunately, later it would not end well for John.
In 2016, the Presidential year it began, the liberal agenda created the “me too” movement. Just two months before, then, candidate Donald Trump was accused of sexual harassment for making comments captured on audio recorded illegally by media personality Billy Bush.
Overnight claims poured out against Trump with allegations of sexual assault, rape and paid prostitution with payoffs. All untrue. To prevent him from getting elected. Allegations he is being sued until this day. One by one, they have been found to be lies. Stormy Daniels was ordered to pay a judgment of millions of dollars for her false allegations.
Trump was elected President regardless.
That night, John was accused of sexual harrasment himself.
An employee of the Illinois Department of Corrections accused John of sexual harassment. Another product of the “me too” movement. I made the formal requests for documents relating to that night. I looked at this accusation objectively as an outsider and from the eyes of a former criminal investigator. Furthermore, I've investigated thousands of criminal cases, and now I wanted to see for myself if her accusations warranted charges or even civil litigation.
Not only that, but I interviewed John, and he explained, “I attended the party and I consumed alcohol. Furthermore, I was not intoxicated, as I only had a few drinks. I interacted with senior staffers and the rank and file. At no time have I ever acted inappropriately because as a senior executive, I represented senior staff in the DOC. However, after being given a drink, I didn't feel quite right. As if I felt someone tampered with my drink. I threw the drink out”
As John was getting ready to leave the event, he escorted some DOC employees to the front that was never shown on camera. John continued to state: “I even questioned some of those employees because they were leaving with the table centerpieces without permission. That's when I encountered the employee who accused me of wrongdoing. It was about the centerpieces, and I was questioning her about her having any in a joking manner”
File photo/IDOC video (2016)
According to those documents, the investigation was conducted by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The victim who is shown in the video worked for the DJJ. The memorandum issued by IDOC states that Anthony said to the woman shown on the hotel lobby video, “You have nice titties, nice ass, very beautiful.” The video never captured audio, just video. No other witnesses could corroborate this. This was an accusation made by the employee. In the video you can see a normal interaction but no assault. At no time did she flee in terror instead she was laughing.
According to the memorandum, Anthony then allegedly “pressed his 'erection' into her [the victim's] left thigh and licked her neck.” The IDOC "Incident Report" states that Anthony also “put his hands on an IDOC employee [redacted name's] breasts.” This did not happen upon review of the tape. Malicious lies.
I reviewed the video over 30 times. Watching in real time and frame by frame. Not once did John thrust his pelvis region to the employee? As a matter of fact, the video shows his pelvis region to be beyond about 18 inches at all times. John further commented: “We had a discussion, it was about the party and work. It was innocent. I wished her a goodnight, embracing her with a goodbye and giving her a peck on the cheek, which is customary in my family. At no time did I lick her. The video is a testimony to that. As for my flirtatious behavior as she was leaving. At no time did I have my hands on her thigh or groping her, however if I was flirtatious joking around verbally and it was inappropriate, I have to own it”
This was not a case of sexual assault as the “victim” claims.
At no time did that employee feel obligated to report any wrongdoing because she left the hotel laughing and in a happy mood. At no time did she return to complain to anyone at the party. At no time did she return to complain to hotel staff or even call the Police, but days later she complained to DOC officials, lodging a complaint against John.
If in fact this did happen with evidence to support it, why was John not arrested? Why didn't she sue John and the State of Illinois? She could of easily won a judgement worth millions of dollars. There was no case!
The fix was in. Was it political? Was it for job security or advancement for her? Was it over racism or because of the “me too” movement? Or was it to shut down any ambitions for John to run again for office? So close was he to running, he already had $500,000 waiting for him in political donations to run for Illinois Secretary of State. There was a movement pushing him to run. Yet, there were others that wanted to stop him from running. He was considered a threat.
When the DOC investigated the complaint, they could not terminate his employment for cause. Instead, after all was said and done, all they could muster up was to terminate him for conduct unbecoming. All this at Christmas time in 2016.
One minute, John was living a dream and the next second, he was in a downward spiral through hell because of a political play. After all, this is Illinois.
John reached out to Governor Rauner, the same man who appointed him to that spot taking him from the General Assembly. Because John was loyal to the party, he did what he was told, to be faithful to the cause, yet the cause was not faithful to him. Rauner turned his back on him, as did most party members that were in the Governor's inner circle that included his supporters. He was banished forever. Fired.
For the next three years since his termination John has been tested. Overnight, the depression set in. The betrayal. Pure hell. He already had to deal with PTSD because of his employment as a Police Officer. That only added to his stress. On top of that, the worry of having to provide for his wife and 6 children.
I asked John how he coped with all the stress and the tough times that came ahead. John said," Val, I've always been in control. I've always worked and paid the bills. But because of the media attention, I couldn't find employment. Friends that, I thought, were my friends stopped taking my calls. There were no offers to help. I would look at the phone and it just laid there silent. I fell into misery, questioning how I could have even gotten here. Thoughts of my existence played out before me. I considered suicide as the way out, as other Police Officers have done. I thought all was lost. That I was done”
John never carried out his plan. The reason being was that he loved his family too much, and he continued to fight. His wife, ever so faithful, stood right with her husband. She believed in this man. The same one that gave her six beautiful children.
For 3 years, John continued this fight. I asked John what was it that kept him going, then he quoted scripture:
Proverbs 24:16 is an encouraging verse that says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
John also said that he heard this one song in church that made him weep like a child and changed his life forever. John said, " One day I heard this song “Come out of hiding” and until this day, I can recite every word. Jesus spoke to me right then and there, and he opened my eyes”
Soon after, John came out of hiding and became active again. He loved life. He loved his wife and children more than he's ever loved them before. As a matter of fact some fellow black conservatives invited him to a GOP event in Chicago. He joined them.
File photo/Facebook Anthony family photo (2019)
At the event, he was with his colleagues and cutting up talking about plans to reinvent the GOP. A gentleman was overhearing every word as he stood close by. That man was Daniel Erhman.
Daniel Erhman works for AM 560 radio and was recruiting new talent. A man of faith and a fellow Christian who knows if it was God that spoke to him or just that laugh that John has that got his attention. But he spoke to John about sitting down to talk about a concept.
Because of Daniel, John was offered his second chance at life. AM 560 developed a radio show with John's good friend, Charles Love. The title…” Black and Right” and the rest is history.
File photo/ John Anthony and Charles Love (2016)
The show launched on August 3, 2019, and hasn't stopped since, joining other conservative line-ups with Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson and Mark Vargas on that same station popular among conservatives.
The show broadcasted on Saturdays, building up from one hour to two hours to three hours where it stands today.
If there ever was a fit, this was it. John was a natural. He spoke on conservative issues, inviting political candidates and other media personalities to be interviewed on the show.
File photo/ John Anthony and Amy Jacobson (2023)
Charles Love soon left the show to relocate to New York. To fill the void, John offered chances for others to fill in as guest hosts. Listenership rose overnight.
John was in demand to speak at GOP conferences. When he thought he was forgotten, it was the young people who stayed loyal to him as well as those that continued to support him over the years. The faithful.
Soon he was invited to speak at national conferences. He became active in the GOP races for the midterms, supporting candidates and giving them a voice on his radio show. He soon became a leader in the grassroots movement in Illinois.
Furthermore, he became a leader in the Republican Party that was in demand.
Ever so humble, instead of wearing a nice suit as he wore as an elected official, he now sports an AM 560 “Black and Right” hoodie. This is John being John. There is no need to impress. And people love him for it.
File photo/ Jim Economos, John Anthony, David Shestokas and Scott Kaspar
What compelled me to write about John is that others needed examples just like him to point their lives in a new direction. So that they can see how others suffered through trials and have made it. John is far from being perfect. Yet he, too, continues to struggle, even after making his comeback on a successful radio show and as a conservative speaker.
On November 8, 2021, John's only son, John Wesley Christian Anthony, took his life. He was only 18. John had an infectious smile and his memorable laugh lit up every room where he shared it. John loved all sports. He knew the stats of just about every sports team and player. He enjoyed basketball, # 3 was John’s jersey number.
File photo/FaceBook John Anthony Jr.
In John’s earlier years, he was considered everybody’s comedian, entertainment and dance partner. He was the life of the family gatherings, just like his dad.
No parent should ever have to bury their child. Deborah and the girls were traumatized by the loss. There were so many questions and not enough answers. After all, this family went through and now this.
God provides, God takes away. Young John will never know the celebration of marriage. Of having children and, most important for growing old. His parents are in pain thinking of just that. God offers no explanations. He offers no reasoning. But we continue with life knowing that there is a plan already prepared for us.
John had to decide to continue or retreat. The death of his child caused strain upon his marriage. After all, how many trials can this family suffer through?
As they buried John Jr., hundreds upon hundreds showed up at the funeral as a testimony to young John's character and to show support to the Anthony family.
After this tragic incident, John stayed in the fight. Always the one to smile on the outside, he continued to deal with his loss inside. A man of faith, he continued to trust God. God stayed with John, eventually healing the pain that he and Deborah endured together. They became a stronger family because of this. The family began to heal.
Deborah, a life coach and author who wrote five books, stands as a pillar to others as a Mother and wife that had to endure many trials and survive. She is a light to others as a true example of strength through courage.
File photo/Deborah Anthony (2020)
The next chapter of John's life has yet to be written. He's a young man, and is on his way. I can see him growing his radio show into something like a daily broadcast. Maybe he can become the next Conservative Joe Rogan in PodCasting or television. He definitely has found his true calling.
I wouldn't count John out just yet if he ever decided to run for Governor someday. It's funny how God works. He wants to test you before he prepares you for greater things. John has been tested many times, and he is still here.
The grassroots Republicans love this man.They embrace him. They can relate to him because, after all, he's just like them. Furthermore, they look to him for leadership and guidance. More now than ever as the Republican Party rebuilds itself.
File photo/Facebook Babette Holder (2022)
I'm glad to call John a friend. My brother in Christ.
Recently, I read on social media about a woman in the party that attacked him after he was being praised on a Facebook post. After everything he went through. Has she no shame? The one thing she reposted was the event in Springfield that he was wrongfully terminated for. What's funny is that I see him on social media time and time again doing amazing things for the party and the country. Yet, this lady has done absolutely nothing but attack other conservatives on Facebook.
If you don't have haters such as this coming after you, then you're not doing it right. The haters only come out to challenge your success. After all, you know what they say. If they are talking behind your back, it's because you are ahead of them.
This same individual attacked me on her page after seeing her at a political event. At the time I was consulting and managing over 50 candidates for political office as Republicans. She looked at me with distaste, went home, posted about me and accused me of being a Democrat. She had zero likes and zero responses. She has no following. Just hate and jealousy knowing her time is ticking and her time is almost up.
If we want to continue to retake this state and great nation, we have to brush aside the naysayers. The attacks. The hate. We have to stay focused on the prize. That's pride in our family and country and party. To provide a better future for our children by working hard to make this happen. We are fortunate enough to have John Anthony to encourage us to do just that. A true leader molded through hardship and adversity.
I interviewed a few of John's supporters. There are just too many to quote here. I would have to write a book on that alone. One thing that they can all agree on is that John is a hell of a guy and a great Patriot. They all love the guy!
Thank you, John, for your amazing work and keeping up the fight, brother. You are an example to others. We are all behind you!
©️Val Ojeda is a Republican Author, Media Personality, Strategist and Consultant. Ojeda manages federal political campaigns also serving as President Trump's Hispanic Coalition Leader. Ojeda is also a businessman, entrepreneur and the founder of FAMA a 501c3 Chamber of Commerce. Ojeda served as law enforcement Veteran Officer/Detective.