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Cory Johnston & The Brainstorm Podcast

I had a wonderful conversation with Cory Johnston, the hard core skeptic.  We talked about all of his podcasts, podcasting about social justice, and a little on skepticism.  He is a tremendous podcaster!

We recorded our micro podcast improv here.

He is the host of The Brainstorm Podcast the hard-core skeptic examines and skeptic voices, family man, working-class and amateur skeptic interest in science and social justice.

The Brainstorm Podcast is Saskatchewan’s first skeptic and atheists podcast, an eclectic group of local skeptics discussed a variety of topics relating to science, skepticism, religion, and politics while having a few drinks and few laughs.


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INTRODUCTION: Today's feature podcaster is Cory Johnston, enjoy the show.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Corey Johnson is the host of The Brainstorm Podcast the hard-core skeptic examines and skeptic voices, family man, working-class and amateur skeptic interest in science and social justice. Cory, how is it going?
CORY JOHNSTON: It is going great, how are you doing?
ALEXANDER LAURIN: I'm doing amazing, The Brainstorm Podcast is Saskatchewan's first skeptic and atheists podcast, an eclectic group of local skeptics discussed a variety of topics relating to science, skepticism, religion, and politics while having a few drinks and few laughs. I got that from Apple podcast. Cory, how was this podcast born?
CORY JOHNSTON: Out of just wanting to record conversations when I was having drinks with my friends. I seem to think that we were having rather profound conversations and I owed it to the world to inform them of how intelligent we were. Doesn’t sound too egotistical, does it?
ALEXANDER LAURIN: It’s it working?
CORY JOHNSTON: Maybe, I don't know if it is working or not but we’re having fun doing it either way.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Excellent and I read three podcast and I looked at your stream and there seem to be a lot going on. Could you tell us a little bit about each of the podcasts?
CORY JOHNSTON: Sure, like you said brainstorm is a group, it’s like a panel show. We do interviews and we breakdown various news stories that relate to the field, relate to atheist points of view and who and really do like skepticism where we can apply critical thinking to maybe misinformation is being spread or whatever. The hard-core skeptic examines is, it's intended as a series of interviews focusing down on one topic with my own thoughts kind of intermixed with it and right now the series that I'm working on is social justice. I have 15 interviews that have been release so far and I think I have another five or six that need to be processed and released and skeptic voices is like, kind of a show about getting to know the people within the skeptic and atheist community as people and about their lives and not necessarily discussing new, major issues or topics, we talk about our lives.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Awesome, love what you are doing. Are you finding that you're developing a lot of new relationships through podcasting?
CORY JOHNSTON: Absolutely, yes and not just the 1100 Facebook friends that I don't talk to. I've got a genuine podcasting community that and the skeptic community that I have friends, that are thousands of miles away who I still speak to on a daily basis.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Awesome, let me ask you when you're creating a podcast with the topic of social justice, now when I reflect on social justice or read up on social justice; it actually infuriates me quite a bit, how does it feels for you when you're actually making this a topic in a podcast?
CORY JOHNSTON: Well it depends which angle I am coming at it from. When I started the series I was learning about social justice so it was kind of like this idea of just trying to educate myself about what it means, what the different perspectives of it are and so I was just learning and I love learning and as it grew I became an avid social justice advocate so then I'm like getting frustrated at the much of what's going on in the world and then I still have to present the other side of things like the people who pushed back on some of the social justice angles and so some of those interviews can be quite anxiety inducing actually.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: So you got social justice, hold on for a second (caugh).
CORY JOHNSTON: Canadian winters
ALEXANDER LAURIN: So you talk about social justice and skepticism of course when you're dealing with these topics and issues that come from them, do you find that, because when I podcast I get a general sense of happiness from what I'm doing and I’m really enjoying it. Do you get that because of the content or do you have to find additional ways to balance that? How does that work for you?
CORY JOHNSTON: I think it's fair to say that I feel satisfied. I don't know if happiness would be the right word for it. I mean, obviously the brainstorm show we are a panel of five or six friends who sit in a studio together and we have a few drinks and it's a ton of fun so that makes me happy but the solo stuff that I do on my own; the social justice specifically, the hard-core skeptic examines it gives me a sense of satisfaction. I’m trying to do something to make the world a better place but it doesn't necessarily make you happy and then skeptic voices I think it's still relatively new show compared to my other two projects but I think it's the one I like the most and makes me the happiest because I’m getting to know the people in my community on a one-on-one basis with no baggage. it's just getting to know who they are and enjoying the people that we are in this conversation.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Isn’t it amazing? it's just like you got the impression of people in the world are not good people. We seem so distant from one another and then all you have to do is spend some time and talk to someone within your community and it's like, wow that is a great person. I’m just surrounded by great people.
CORY JOHNSTON: Yeah, that's right. Learning about the way people are raising families and the way that they deal with their loved ones, it's really an amazing experience.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: But you mention that you have a panel of like five podcasters, five of your friends, four of your friends?
CORY JOHNSTON: Yea, we have a rotating group because some people can't make it sometimes so then I introduce other people and we do have I think six or seven people on the total crew right now so then we usually have no more than five people in studio at once but yea, it’s a big panel.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Tell me what's your set up like, what’s the technical set up like?
CORY JOHNSTON: Actually, I pay a guy. My buddy Dave has an audio studio and we been going to him ever since we started pretty much for the technical side of things. We still use skype for interviews usually and he feeds it through a machine like a box that he’s got in the middle of the table so that all of our mic’s feedback into the skype feed and it's all pretty amazing stuff actually.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Kool. That is a good friend to have that’s for sure.
CORY JOHNSTON: Yea, that’s right.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: And, so I notice that you are on speaker; are you doing this live like do you do an episode live every couple weeks?
CORY JOHNSTON: Yea. The brainstorm radio is the whole brainstorm show, we record for three hours and then we do an extra half hour for the after show and we broadcast that live but right after it's done I shut it down and then I take it off, download it and I split it into two and then each week half of it goes out.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Nice, how do you feel about putting it live because if you are doing it live, people can go right on there and listen right? How does it feel?
CORY JOHNSTON: Yea, that’s right. It was good, we used to be on mixer and we had a great chat room going all the time and we could really interact with our audience and the moment and the speaker is a little bit more difficult to do but the sound quality is much better so we don't quite get as much interaction with the chat as we once did but we still, I still feel pretty good about the live product and then I can download it and then kind of split it into focused portions if I needed to, take the ads out for our patrons and whatnot.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Hey Cory, what have you learned about yourself since you started podcasting?
CORY JOHNSTON: That I am not as smart as I thought I was. I talked to some brilliant people like PHD Philosophers, political scientists and people from all kinds of backgrounds who have what seems like infinite knowledge compared to what I know. So it’s really humbled my own ego when it comes to my knowledge base I mean that’s feels great. It feels good to know that I’m learning that I’m not necessarily is smart as I thought I was.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: What advice would you give to someone a podcaster who say they’re interviewing someone with a PHD in Philosophy like I know for myself I might feel a little intimated by that. So what advice would you give to your fellow podcaster on a situation like that.
CORY JOHNSTON: To some extent you got to be prepared, have some questions ready in your head or written down ahead of time, depending on the focus of the interview but you might have to adapt quickly too because a lot of times people are quick thinkers and then they go off on tracks that you might not necessarily have been prepared for and so you do have to be able to adapt quickly but it always does good to be prepared.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Excellent. Alright Cory, how can the listener get in touch with you? Is there a preferred platform they should hear your podcast on? The floor is yours.
CORY JOHNSTON: Well, I guess the best place to go is We also have our or major website but it's not up-to-date, it's We love to hear from people so we always accept email at and you can find us on Facebook at brainstormpodcast, twitter at brainstormpod, my personal Facebook is always open to accept any and all friends and my twitter is at Hardcoreskeptic
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Right on. I'm sorry but I forgot to ask you this but what is the podcast scene like in Saskatchewan?
CORY JOHNSTON: Well, there isn't much of one and especially with, because I focus on atheism, skepticism and social justice and that's I think we are still the only one out of Saskatchewan.
ALEXANDER LAURIN: It’s good to be first in the market.
CORY JOHNSTON: Yea, that is right Now we just have to find an audience
ALEXANDER LAURIN: Well, thanks for your time. It was really great to talk to you.
CORY JOHNSTON: For sure, thank you for having me.