New radio show, website aimed at showing fun side of family history
Trent Toone, Deseret News
He calls himself a "radio roots sleuth" and his listeners are referred to as "genies." There are interviews with genealogists, tips, links to videos and articles with incredible stories, and the overall goal is to relish connecting with your heritage.
Welcome to "Extreme Genes: Family History Radio."
Longtime Salt Lake City personality Scott Fisher has created a new radio show and website (Extremegenes.com) aimed at showing how amusing and interesting family history can be. The show airs for one hour on KRNS 105.7 AM and 570 AM each Sunday at 6 p.m. Fisher considers the website to be something like a Drudge Report for family history news geared for a wide audience.
"We take the same elements that go into an interesting and fun radio show and apply it to this particular topic. This is a topic that a lot of people are into and it’s typically about these amazing finds and connections people make almost routinely now," Fisher said.
"The idea is that family history is supposed to be fun."
The show launched in early July and has already gain sponsors and a following. MormonChannel.org, a website owned by the LDS Church, recently created a partnership with Extreme Genes. The show premieres on the Mormon Channel on Sept. 24.
"The Mormon Channel has a worldwide audience. Genealogy has become a worldwide phenomenon and it's part of the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," said Brooke Harris, the lead producer for the Mormon Channel. "Scott Fisher makes genealogy exciting. The Mormon Channel targets a younger audience and Extremes Genes appeals to our listeners."
Fisher, a Connecticut native, has been a morning radio host since 1982. He developed a passion for family history research three decades ago and has written 10 histories about his and his wife's ancestors, as well as other genealogy-related books. Earlier this year, he decided to merge the two subjects and make a radio show for family history.
"We love to talk to people who’ve had amazing finds because there are always incredible stories out there," Fisher said. "We love to share the joy with people who have had those experiences and let other folks hear about it. Hopefully it welcomes people into the hobby."
The name "Extreme Genes" comes from something his mother once said. One day he realized his parents were raised in different religions and that his mom was a liberal Democrat from Oregon and his dad was a conservative Republican from New Jersey.
"Mom said, 'Honey, bottom line is you've got extreme genes!' I said 'Yes I do,' so I've always had that in my head," Fisher said. "In thinking about what name I could give the show that would capture the idea that this isn’t going to be like a lesson in a library but that this is going to be fun, interesting and something you will want to come back again and again, we branded the website and radio show that way."
Fisher has his own "amazing-find" family history story. He searched for 30 years before finally finding a photograph of his great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Fisher. He shared his story with the Deseret News in 2010.
"That was life-changing," Fisher said. "I call that picture my moose head. I finally got the big one. That illustrates the story about this show."
The website features podcasts of the radio show, links to heartwarming stories as well as frightening stories, the kind where a person learns something scary about his or her ancestors. There are poll questions, reviews of the TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?" and the latest on how DNA research is helping genealogy. Fisher has had fun keeping up to date with the latest on King Richard III, whose body was found under a parking lot after 500 years, inciting arguments over where to bury him. It's very entertaining, Fisher said.
"We have a story about a baby born in a parking lot in Chicago almost 33 years to the day after her father was born in a parking lot in Chicago," he said. "You know, you can’t make these things up."
Paul Richardson already considers himself to be a loyal “genie” for Extreme Genes. An avid family historian, Richardson once called in to share his own story with Fisher about his 40-year search to discover the identity of his biological father. His family enjoyed listening to the podcast.
“The show has tremendous insight for someone how has questions or wants to share a story. It’s helpful for us who are into genealogy and family history work,” said Richardson, who recently moved to Utah from Illinois. “Fisher is very gracious. He’s a great radio guy who knows genealogy inside and out. He does great interviews with the experts. I love the show.”
If someone wants to call Extreme Genes to ask a question, leave a comment or share a family history story, call the "Find line" by dialing 1-234-56 GENES (43637).
"It's fun," Fisher said. "The strangest, most miraculous things are always happening with it. Nationwide they call it serendipity. Here we tend to call it miracles. But they are just astonishing things. These things happen all the time. Let's celebrate families, research and all that comes with that."
Showing the fun side of family history
Scott Fisher, Salt Lake CIty radio personality, has created a new radio show and website aimed at showing how fun and interesting family history can be. In this video, he tells the story of how he searched for a photograph of his great-grandfather for 30 years before finally finding one.
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