As the mayor of Pullman, a professor and the voice of the Cougs, Glenn Johnson is, to say the least, an active community member.
Johnson grew up in California and went to Modesto Junior College where he was introduced to broadcasting at the age of 17.
“I put myself through school working in broadcasting, I did play-by-play announcing early in my career,” he said. “I’ve done play-by-play, announcing, news work, TV and radio.”
Within his early accomplishments, Johnson worked in broadcasting markets such as Sacramento, Los Angeles and Iowa City.
Johnson traveled down a path that led to an interesting arrival at WSU and Pullman, he said.
“I applied to be manager of a radio station job here,” Johnson said. “I was working down in Sacramento, and we wanted to get out of the large city. The kids were young, and we knew Pullman was a great place to raise children. They changed the radio station job and I got a note back saying they have a teaching position in TV News and asked if I would be interested. That’s when I started teaching.”
During his time in Pullman, Johnson settled into a few different career paths.
“When I am on campus, I’m a professor in the Murrow College of Communication,"Johnson said. “I also do Cougar announcing for football and basketball games, and my city job is being the mayor.”
Cougar announcing was a path separate from teaching.
In 1979, Sports Information Director Rod Commons hired students to do announcing at Cougar sporting events, Johnson said. However, there was a turnover every two years.
“(Commons) knew about my background and asked if I would be interested doing it,” he said. “That was 1980, and I’ve been going ever since. I hope sports fans can hear the details of the game, and I hopefully call it the right way. I really enjoy working with Cougar Athletics, and if you had a question like 'what is your hobby?' that would probably be it.”
While each job has its own requirements, there is much interaction between each position, he said.
“I will have meetings, I’m doing the convocation, I’ve been doing some announcing and recording things with Cougar Athletics, we have meetings with the university, the city and the Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “Everything is intertwined.”
Outside of these positions, Johnson is a member of the Association of Washington Cities, chair of the Airport Board for the Pullman Moscow Regional Airport and involved with many other committees.
With everything he does, Johnson maintains that his top priority is to the students, he said.
“As mayor and in working with the city, we try to do the best we can as a city to support the university and that includes the Pullman students,” he said."As a city council, we never make decisions that impact students until students are back on campus; there is none of this, ‘OK it’s summertime let's put these new ordinances into play.’ We have very good city administrators.”
Johnson stressed the importance of maintaining loyalty to students and expressed this as his No. 1 priority as a professor, he said.
“If it weren’t for students, we wouldn’t have a job here,” Johnson said. “As long as I do my job and am always loyal to my students, I think that would set them apart and also help them in the future. It’s just a joy to see how students have progressed, whether it is in broadcasting or another field, it’s fantastic.”