Father turns stories into art
HUNTINGTON - Jonathan Joy’s stories for kids have been featured on the pages of the Greater Ashland Beacon newspaper for nearly three years and have won West Virginia Writers awards in 2016 and 2018. Now you can experience these tales in podcast form. Joy, along with help from his wife, Rissie, and their eight year old son, Levi, produces the Professor Theo’s Mystery Lab podcast once a week.
The show’s synopsis at professortheo.com says it all, “The town of Splendid, West Virginia has a higher than average number of kid superheroes, giant bugs, time travelling teens, and much more bizarre activity. Professor Theo’s Mystery Lab on the campus of Splendid University is somehow at the heart of it all. Though he doesn’t like to divulge all his secrets, the Professor does enjoy sharing his hometown bedtime stories, sure to delight the young, imaginative one in your life.”
The Joys started the podcast at the encouraging of and with much help from friend Justin McElroy, a worldwide podcasting star with deep roots in the Tri-State. McElroy rose to fame with his “My Brother, My Brother and Me” podcast, and is also featured on The Adventure Zone, Sawbones, and more.
Professor Theo’s weekly stories are written and read by Jonathan Joy, often with the help of his wife and son. Levi also plays the part of kid superhero Buck Travers. Jonathan Joy is a professor in real life as well, at Ashland Community and Technical College, though he teaches English/Writing. “Professor Theo, on the other hand,” according to Joy, “is a science professor. Both of my parents are scientists and I spent a lot of time in my dad’s lab at Marshall University when I was a kid. Maybe Professor Theo was born there, long ago, though I don’t think my dad can turn anybody into a pumpkin or a kid superhero like our podcast’s protagonist.”
Professor Theo’s Mystery Lab is off to a good start, too. In its first month, the show attracted nearly 900 listeners, and it’s on pace for well over 1,000 in its second month. It has placed as high as #104 on the iTunes Kids and Family podcasting charts in America and #3 in that same category in Norway.
“We’re gaining listeners every week,” said Jonathan Joy, “and we’re having a blast working on this together as a family.”
Eight episodes in as of Nov. 11 and the Joy family has lots more stories to tell. New episodes of the podcast are posted every Sunday on 10 different platforms including iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, and more. Or you can listen at professortheo.com.