How does a vibrator design get from the conceptual phase to the adult-store shelf? How are the prototypes tested? Broward and Palm Beach county radio listeners will have a forum in which to discuss these probing questions when Thee Fantasy Show debuts at midnight on Sunday, June 20.
Larry Leonard, cohost of the local call-in show about the sex industry, says he'll ask guest Susan Colvin, owner of California Exotic Novelties, if she's involved in the testing process. "You gotta have fun with [sex]," he explains. "Try and keep it from seeming dark and dirty."
Along those lines, he'll also ask Colvin -- whose company is one of the largest manufacturers of sex doodads in the world -- about how the adult industry has changed in recent years and how she's found classy marketing strategies to sell erotic toys. She won't be on the show until July 18, but in the meantime Leonard and his cohost, wife Denise, will chat with local fetishist Mistress Karla. Adult film star and producer Randy West is a possible guest, as are local adult-business owners and swingers.
Leonard says the adult sex business is saddled with the stigma of dark, grungy, "Triple-X" stores. In fact, Larry, a former air-traffic controller, and Denise, who used to manage restaurants, opened their first adult boutique after a trip to one dingy shop nearly kept them from experimenting with videos and sex toys. The Lauderhill couple lived in Daytona Beach, where the only adult store was a seedy dump. So they drove to Orlando and found a place. "It smelled good, it was clean, it was nice," recalls Larry.
They followed that formula when they opened Thee Fantasy Shop in Daytona eight years ago, and again in 1994 with Thee Fantasy Shop II in Lauderhill. With the radio program, the Leonards hope to further legitimize kink. Heck, Larry reasons, his customers are into some different stuff sexually, but they're also ordinary and inquisitive people.
The Leonards and executive producer Steve Kane have slotted the show at midnight so they can explore topics candidly. They'll also focus on local guests and issues, which nationally syndicated shows don't do. They realize that listener calls will come from people on both sides of the moral coin, and that's just fine with them. "Wherever you have adult entertainment, there is controversy," Kane says. "I'm a big believer that heat, in the form of debate, creates light."
How will the show further the debate? Says Kane: "Maybe we'll have a clergyman on the same show with a phone-sex operator."