Passionate Pursuit

skate shop owner's podcast explores how people do what they love to do

Lauren Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

AWED POD. The first season of Passion Pod from Christopher Johnson (left) goes live on Nov. 18 – when episode one will be available on most podcast platforms.
AWED POD. The first season of Passion Pod from Christopher Johnson (left) goes live on Nov. 18 – when episode one will be available on most podcast platforms.

The sincerity with which Christopher Johnson said his podcast is going to change the world wasn’t at all inconsistent with the fact that when he said it, he had a Chihuahua stuffed up his Hawaiian-print shirt.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest thing to come out of Eau Claire since Bon Iver,” Johnson, who owns Passion Board Shop (218 N Dewey St.) said. “It’s going to take a while to get to that point, but I think I found something really special.”

“Regardless of what industry or what passion you have, we all are probably a lot more like-minded than you imagine we are.” – Christopher Johnson on the concept behind Passion Pod

The first season of Passion Pod will go live on Monday, Nov. 18, when episode one will appear on most mainstream podcast platforms. Check in every Monday for the next installment – there are 10 in all, each featuring a guest from a different industry. In season one, Johnson will host a hair stylist, a BMX competitor, a sticker maker, a brewer, and many more individuals who are incredibly passionate about their careers and pursuits. He draws out the fun, exciting, baffling, and intriguing stories that could only happen to people who pursue their dreams.

“The goal is to be a relaxing, motivational, and inspirational experience for anybody to listen to,” Johnson said. And he believes that “relaxing” and “motivational,” are concepts that really jive when we’re talking about doing what you love. Usually, he said, people need motivation to do something they don’t want to do. This is about what people do want to do. “People aren’t pursuing their passions enough,” Johnson said. “If they did, they would be more fulfilled and happier with their lives.”

The world, by Johnson’s measure, is starving for positivity and connection. That’s why he’s talking to people about what they love, and why he’s talking to people from so many different fields.

“Regardless of what industry or what passion you have, we all are probably a lot more like-minded than you imagine we are, and we just need to find something that brings us together,” he said.

Johnson himself is full of dedication and enthusiasm. He opened Passion Board Shop about five years ago so that he could be his own boss and do something he valued for his community. The shop – painted, decorated, and heated to look like a tropical oasis; his art – manifested on every surface within his reach; and even the way he dresses – as though he were retired on a beach; are all projections of what he cares about. This podcast is the next expression of his interests.

He’s already begun work on season two, which will feature a tattoo artist, a City Council member, and people from California and New York City. Johnson has high hopes to host live recordings in the Chippewa Valley that are open to members of the community.

“Pursuing your passions and being excited to talk about them is something that can bring pretty much anyone together,” Johnson said.


Episode one of Passion Pod goes online on Monday, Nov. 18. Follow @passion_pod on Instagram for updates and behind-the-scenes posts. After the premiere episode, Northbound Supply Co. will host advance listening sessions at 1pm on Fridays for anyone who can’t wait for Monday releases. Converge Radio (99.9) will air episodes Wednesdays at 7pm starting Nov. 13. While episodes might include some crude language, Johnson will also release clean versions to ensure anyone can enjoy the conversation.