Scott Johnson inducted into the Podcast Hall of Fame
Hi! Congratulations to all tonight’s inductees. I’m Jennie Josephson, I produce podcasts for a living, which is only possible thanks to all of you. It’s my honor to be the least likely person to induct Scott Johnson into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. The most likely person is Hall of Fame podcaster Brian Ibbott, better known as the man with the funny hat. He’s relaxing over there.
Scott Johnson is not here. He’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah, fulfilling a massive Kickstarter and recovering from a week-long fever–two things I’m pretty sure are related. He’s also criminally humble, so this ought to send him straight to the hospital.
I met Scott in 2014 on The Daily Tech News Show with Tom Merritt. Scott was a weekly contributor and I was amazed by his ability to be on 800 podcasts at once and still be a kind, thoughtful human. So here are a few things I’ve learned about Scott since then:
First — All he ever wanted to do was draw for a living. Young Scott was a notorious doodler — his math textbooks doubled as early stop-motion flip books. He submitted his comics newspapers and magazines and plenty of rejection letters. Enter the internet.
Scott published his first ExtraLife web comic in 2001. In fact, stop looking up here and go to frogpants.com. Get lost in his deceptively simple, wry panels about gaming, Star Wars, family, and all the ways we muddle through life, online and off. I’ll be your podcast while you browse.
These early comics led to ExtraLife Radio in 2003 (I think you had to pull it off an FTP.) But it was still his Extra Life. Scott was working and raising a family with his incredible wife Kim.
But he was fascinated with podcasts like Buzz Out Loud with Tom Merritt and Molly Wood–a huge player in early tech podcasts. Regular listeners called in all the time, including “Scott in SLC” — Tom was impressed with the quality of Scott’s comments and his “radio-like” voice. Scott was impressed with the power of the BOL community.
Second thing: Scott loves video games. And he was really into World of Warcraft, a game where you join a guild, share quests, and navigate a perilous online world together. In 2006 he launched The Instance, an award-winning gaming podcast.
The third thing you need to know about Scott is that he is a person of faith and family, community and purpose. And this belief in the value of community is what prepared Scott to have a profound impact on the lives of his family. And I’m not just talking about his amazing kids.
Say hello to the Tadpool!
Scott’s family is a community of geeks of the highest caliber from all around the world, and I can say that because, unlike many internet friendships, I’ve met them in PERSON, high up in the mountains above Salt Lake City at NERDTACULAR, the best con you never got to attend. Except Brian. He went to all of them.
In 2008, all the strands of Scott Johnson’s ExtraLife came together and became something extraordinary. He formed Frogpants Studios, and his ExtraLife went full-time. Podcasts burst forth at alarming pace from Scott and the burgeoning crew of Frogpants producers. His listeners became his team. His team figured out how to make a living doing what they love. They shared stories of heartbreak and joy. A generation of podcasters sprang from Team Frogpants, because Scott showed them they didn’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to be heard.
In 2011, Scott teamed up with Hall of Famer Brian Ibbott (still relaxing) to launch The Morning Stream, now more than 1500 episodes strong. Brian say Scott’s gift is helping the Tadpool’s “sentient mob” find common voice, support each other, and grow with his shows.
And let me just say that when the Tadpool found that I was giving this speech tonight, they had a LOT to say:
“I’ve been listening to Scott for so long, he’s like a best friend I’ve never met.”
“He spreads positivity and inclusion and doesn’t block my drunk voicemails”
“The man knows how to spin a simile out the air like no other”
“even my wife (who doesn’t listen to podcasts) knows his sultry voice.”
“Great husband, great dad, flawed human being like all of us but very much aware of it which pushes him to constantly be a better person.”
“I am a better geek because of him”
What they said the most? Scott cares. He makes you feel like you matter. Patrick Beja, noted Frenchman and Scott’s co-host on The Instance says it best:
“Scott always has your best interest at heart in a way that is rare and quite frankly, precious. He’s the kind of person you can depend on, even an ocean away. So yeah, Patrick says, either he’s really a super nice guy, or he’s incredibly good at faking it.”
There’s so much more you need to know about Scott Johnson, but I’m going to let you find it out for yourselves. Listen to the Morning Stream, watch terrible movies with the FilmSack crew, join the pop culture party on Current Geek, or share hot takes on UnFriend Me. Oh, and don’t forget Diary of a Cartoonist — the continuing tale of Scott Johnson, the kid from Salt Lake City who finally figured out how to draw for a living.
It’s my honor to induct Scott Johnson into the Podcast Hall of Fame. Here’s Scott!