Johnny Joy stumbled into a career in radio, but his distinctive voice has long garnered attention.
"Even well before I got into radio, people used to tell me I was the movie guy. 'In a world
Joy begins, citing a movie trailer cliche.
Now he uses his voice to spread cheer as the co-host of "The Morning Routine" on Mountain Country with Dave West, who is also one of the owners of the station. Joy also uses his vocal talents in ads and other voice-over work.
"I can do a decent British and Irish, even Scottish dialect, I can get softer and high note but specialize in baritone, gruff and Sam Elliot-esq/Johnny Cash," he said on his website.
Joy, 41, recently returned to the studio after three months or so of broadcasting from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. His first time in a radio station was when he appeared on Mountain Country to promote a local event. "You ever been on the radio before?" West asked him. "You want to be on the radio?"
That brief appearance led to a regular two-minute motivational moment on Mondays, then a Sunday show, then "The All Request Lunch Hour" and, since May 2018, co-host of "The Morning Routine."
Previously, his career had largely been in the hospitality industry, particularly food and beverage.
"The radio was a complete surprise," Joy said. "It's one of those things where, if you're offered an amazing opportunity, take it and then learn how to do it."
His career path in the past had at times been sidetracked by a battle with addiction.
"I was a heavy, heavy drinker pills, booze, whatever and that just kept sidelining my life over and over," he said.
It was an addiction that snuck up on him. Many factors, including his sister dying of a fentanyl overdose and his estranged father dying of a heart attack, led him down a dark path. "Just 1 percent more alcohol a day," he said, is enough to soon take over your life.
He hasn't had a drink, though, since one fateful day in March 2014. He was in the hospital, he said, when he had "a little conversation with God.
At least, I assume it was him." Joy had made the decision to go through medical detox, and he heard a voice say, "It's done. It ends now."
It did end. And since then, he has mentored others with addictions, and has tried to pull others from that same deep hole.
"I just talk about real experience, Joy said. I say, I know what it's like. It's not just brown baggers that you see in Acacia Park; some of the most elite in the community are suffering.
If I was diagnosed with cancer and was told if you do this, this and this, you're going to go into remission and you'll be cancer-free, and I did this, this and this and sure enough I went into remission, wouldn't I want to tell everybody with cancer what to do? Of course I would. That's the same way I look at sobriety. There are too many people suffering needlessly."
And in helping others, in giving back, his own life has been transformed.
It was just months after getting sober that he met his future wife, Amanda, on match.com. After their first meeting, "I remember thinking to myself, this is the girl," Joy said. They've been married for three years and have a daughter who is almost a year old; and they have a home in the Banning Lewis neighborhood.
"I've got the most amazing wife in the world, the best job I could dream of, I've got a house that we built from the ground up," he said. Every great thing in my life has happened as the result of just removing one thing and then bringing in positivity and sharing that experience with others.
As a fourth-generation Colorado Springs native, he has deep roots in the community; his great-great-grandfather was one of the town's first judges, but not with the name Joy. While Joy is not just Johnny's radio name, it is also not the name he was born with. Instead, he took his wife's name.
"People thought it was a perfect fit based on my personality and she didn't want to give it up! So it's my actual name," he said.
He is proud to call the Pikes Peak region home and works to give back to his community; he served on the board of REACH Pikes Peak, which is devoted to improving the quality of life for the lower-income population, and is proud of Mountain Country's commitment to a large number of nonprofits.
He revels in bringing his spirit of positivity to the airwaves.
"I'm so blessed, every single day, to get to do this as a career, to get to talk on the radio and listen to music and help other people find their way out of a dark spot Especially now, there's a lot of darkness out there. If you can be a little beacon of light for someone, even if it's just one person, then I say that's a win.
Johnny Joy is co-host of "The Morning Routine" radio show on Mountain Country. Photo by Bill Radford