Nov. 5, 2020

Live Stream: Podcast Industry News With Rob Greenlee, Libsyn

Rob Greenlee, VP of Content and Partnerships, Libsyn, joined me as my first live stream guest to talk about what is happening in the podcast industry. We cover a variety of topics like the Podcast Academy, what the future holds for podcast...

Rob Greenlee, VP of Content and Partnerships, Libsyn, joined me as my first live stream guest to talk about what is happening in the podcast industry.

We cover a variety of topics like the Podcast Academy, what the future holds for podcast advertising, and why we love ad tech innovation but are also concerned about what it will do to the trust relationship between the host and the listeners. 

You can watch the live stream here:


The transcript has not been edited.

[00:00:00] Heather Osgood: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Podcast Advertising Playbook. A show dedicated to podcast advertising. If you're a podcaster or an advertiser, and you're wondering how you can take advantage of this rapidly growing space, you're in the right place. On the program, we'll discuss strategies and techniques to optimize your experience with podcast advertising.

[00:00:28] Hello, and welcome. I am so excited for today's live because I have Mr. Rob Greenlee with me today. So welcome, Rob. Thanks so much for being with me.

[00:00:39] Rob Greenlee: [00:00:39] Heather, I appreciate the invitation to come on your show here. I guess I'm your first guest.

[00:00:45] Heather Osgood: [00:00:45] You are my first guest.

[00:00:46] Rob Greenlee: [00:00:46] You been doing a lot of individual videos on LinkedIn and they've been very good and it looks like a lot of people have liked what you've been doing online. So this is, another step [00:01:00] right into a different direction. So it's good.

[00:01:02] Heather Osgood: [00:01:02] Oh, yeah, for sure. It's fun to be live and I'm learning all kinds of different kind of tips and tricks to go live because I'm so used to creating that kind of prerecorded content, be it on a podcast or a video. But I think what's so cool about live obviously is just the hope for some interaction with people online so that we can, yeah, just have a conversation going and it looks like we're getting some messages in that we're here and people can see us. Yay! That's always a plus, right?  gosh, Rob. I feel like I know I met you for the first time at a Podcast Movement.

[00:01:42] And I think at the time you were working for Voxnest, and you have just a tremendous history in the industry. I feel like anytime I talk to any anyone and say, Oh, Rob Greenlee, everyone knows who you are. And I know that you're, you've been inducted into the podcast hall of [00:02:00] fame. Congratulations. Not too many people have made it to that.

[00:02:03] And, so I really just wanted you as one of the first guests on my live stream here to talk about, there aren't a ton of people in the industry who have really good perspective on the history of where we have been and maybe some foresight as to where we are going. And I do talk about, advertising all the time. I wanted to have you on to talk about where you have seen podcast advertising has been and where you see it as going. But before we dive into that, I know that you are a Chairman on the Podcast Academy and they just announced today that the ambience are. Up. And so it sounds like we are now going to be able to nominate some podcasts and there'll be some voting going on. So before we dive into that, I thought maybe you could just give us a little update on what is going on at the Academy and how we could get involved. it's a.

[00:02:58] Rob Greenlee: [00:02:58] It's a membership organization, [00:03:00] in the purpose of the podcast Academy is to recognize excellence and be able to have a, a annual event, and to have ongoing, recognition and collaboration that can build, excellence in the medium of podcasting around all sorts of whether it be different genres, production. Like what people think about when they think of, the Academy awards or those kinds of things where it's basically an industry that's celebrated and we, we reward people that have done excellent work in it, and it can be used as a place to point audiences to say there's some great stuff going on in this medium and to go check out some shows.

[00:03:43]So I think in the bigger picture, that's the purpose of the organization and to bring the, the creators together to do mentorships, to do cross pollination around,  standard sharing, best practice sharing and workshops [00:04:00] and webinars online for members. But at the end of the day, it's really an organization that's going to, shine a big spotlight on podcasting, in the media and on a global scale as well. So that's a high level of what the organization's really all about.  And I'm excited for it.

[00:04:19]Heather Osgood: [00:04:19] I hadn't really given it, the level of consideration that obviously you have, but, obviously the Academy me is trying to get attention outside of just the podcast space, which is really awesome to me because I think that, as an industry, we definitely get some attention, but we need more attention and that will help everything from advertising to content creation and, it's all interconnected. So are you, I'm sure that you've got a team that is established to really try and get the message out to mainstream media.

[00:04:53] Rob Greenlee: [00:04:53] We're just in the initial formation stages of the organization. and then all the different things that we're doing, [00:05:00] but we do have, a team of part-time staff. That's working on a regular basis. So I don't have to do all the work behind the scenes. I just collaborate with the team that's working there and. And,   it's an ongoing, and as the funding comes in, we'll probably be able to hire more people to work on the organization and to really build out a publicity engine for the industry and do that on an ongoing basis year round, too.

[00:05:27] As a big culmination at the, once a year around a big awards and we intend on having it be a global thing too. So I can foresee us having, various Podcasts Academy chapters around the world, and then maybe different language events,  with different awards around the world as well.

[00:05:47] So we'll see, how that all plays out, but it's still early in the in the growth and development of this organization, we're up over 500 members now.   We're looking for [00:06:00] professionals in the podcasting space to join the organization and that's at all levels.

[00:06:03] You can be an indie producer, and you can also work for a larger podcasting company too.

[00:06:09] So we welcome everybody. It's an individual thing. So it isn't. sponsored by big corporations.  now people do represent larger organizations, but when you join, you join at it at the a hundred dollars and you're an individual member. You're not necessarily a company member.

[00:06:29] So that's the purpose behind it. And I think there's going to be a place for companies to be able to sponsor various events and the awards and things like that. And that's certainly welcome. But as far as the organization goes, it's really a members organzation.

[00:06:44]Heather Osgood: [00:06:44] Okay. Okay. Very cool. I'm really excited about it. It's going to be neat to see where it goes. So I, just to get us into podcast advertising, I wanted to check in with you and see where you have seen podcast [00:07:00] ads grow too. So, I know when I first got into the industry, about five years ago, one of my big surprises was how few podcasts really had ad messages in them.

[00:07:12] And I think one of the questions I have for you is, do you have any idea or have you ever seen any stats around what percentage of podcasts actually have messages in them, ad messages and how has that changed throughout the years? when we look back at the very beginning beginnings of podcasts and as it's come up, how do you think that has changed?

[00:07:34] Rob Greenlee: [00:07:34] Yeah, I think it's a really important,  question and discussion because I think what it does is it brings up, the culture of podcasting. And I think that there's a perception, especially new people getting in the medium that they think of podcasting as a commercial medium.  Especially folks that come out of radio, think that anything in this area, is [00:08:00] basically a commercial medium, and that's just not the case with podcasting.

[00:08:03] Podcasting started out as anti-commercial. And I think that's part of why you see the fabric of the medium be the way it is today is that it's only a fairly small set of podcasts actually have advertising. Is because this medium was built on really a reaction in the early days of the medium as a, reaction to over commercialization of radio.

[00:08:27] So people wanted were like, I'm going to listen to this podcast because it doesn't have any advertising and it's such a refreshing experience. And that's what came out of the early days of the growth of the internet. And as well as, Napster,  broke the the mold on how music was being distributed and monetized and podcasting fell out of that.

[00:08:50] And it was, back in the early days when I started in 2004, the fact that I had ads in my radio show that I was putting out as a podcast, I was it. Wasn't cool.  [00:09:00] and people would give me a bad time, like I was selling out or those kinds of things. so if you spin it around and I think over the years, over the 16 years that I've seen in this medium, we've seen a gradual shift towards the acceptability of advertising.

[00:09:16] And one of the ways that it's been accepted is because it's been more organically embedded in the content, It's been what's termed to the industry host reads or host endorsements, that have been baked into the content. So there isn't really this concept of a commercial break necessarily like what people are traditionally used to on the broadcast radio side.

[00:09:40] So that's been something that's solely, gradually gotten accepted in the medium and certain shows and audiences just accepted as, the creators, creating terrific content. They need to make a little money on doing that. And audience were starting to accept that over time. And I think we've seen [00:10:00] the growth and development of that happen And then ad tech has come into. the mix here over the last 10 years or so,  to add the ability to do dynamic ad insertion and programmatic and these technology evolutions to the medium have made it easier to get advertising in these shows. but I think, there is a risk of over commercialization here too.

[00:10:24] And I think that's one of the things that, I talk about sometimes, is, and pushback on this desire to put too many ads in podcasts because the culture of the medium, and what has worked for advertisers, then that's what we have to keep the, keep your eye on is what actually works the best for advertisers, what works the best for listeners and what works typically best for the podcaster. And I think that those were the three things that we have to keep in mind. Sometimes when you get too far down the path of monetization, your priorities [00:11:00] lose sight of making sure that what you're doing is good for all three.

[00:11:04]And you start catering to the needs of the advertiser too much. And then you compromise the needs and the marketing opportunity for the host and the audience starts to lose. So  it's really a matter of creating balance in your relationship with your audience, the host, and the advertiser to bring results, as well as keep everybody happy.

[00:11:26]And offer something to the listener that is of value. I think that's the key thing. And if we head down the path of what we see happen to some degree now is that these programmatic platforms are giving opportunity to put too much advertising into shows, and that causes problems with the listener and the podcast. And so anyway, that's my big picture of what's been happening over the years.

[00:11:52] And I think where we're at right now is, there's a lot of archives that are available to be monetized out there [00:12:00] through technology. The question gets back to is should we do that or not?

[00:12:05] Heather Osgood: [00:12:05] I think that it's really interesting to consider podcasts as a medium that wasn't necessarily designed for advertising. I've never, of course, I think of all things, around advertising and I've never really thought about it as a medium that was designed to be without ads. And I think it's really fascinating when you look at our relationship to advertising. I've read several books about the death or the end of advertising, because the reality is that people don't like ads.

[00:12:39]As much as I hate to admit it, the average person is not like, Oh, yay. Please give me another ad. Even me. I don't want more ads. But I think what has always really attracted me to podcast advertising is that host read endorsement ad. And I always, I like to think about it from the perspective [00:13:00] that, you know, if a friend came up to me and said, Oh my gosh, I just tried the skin cream and it was amazing. You need to try it. I would be like, Oh, I do. Okay, cool. That sounds great. I should check it out. And yeah. My hope is always that we can preserve that kind of essence, where it's almost like that host, which does feel like your friend is recommending a cool product that they found now, obviously, we all know that it's a bit contrived because they've gotten this free sample of the product , and so of course they're like,  they're promoting it because they're being paid to promote it. However, I go back to the fact that so many of the podcasts that we work with turn down advertisers on a very regular basis. I'm always, actually pretty surprised when people are like, oh no, I'm not interested in them.

[00:13:49] And I'm like, really? Are you sure? Because we worked really hard to get them interested in your show. But it's, I really I do think that there is still an essence that we [00:14:00] need to preserve with that host read ad. And I completely agree that there is,  a number where it's just way too many.

[00:14:09] And there's also the format of how we're inserting ads into podcasts. Be it an embedded or dynamically inserted ad, are they all clustered together or are they at the very beginning?  different things. But I think to your point, ultimately we do have to look at all three entities and make sure that everyone is happy because at the end of the day, if you are alienating your audience, because your show is too full of ads, how is that benefiting you or the advertiser?

[00:14:39]But on the flip side, we are a consumer society. We all like to buy stuff. So it's a really weird, fine line.

[00:14:46] Rob Greenlee: [00:14:46] Yeah. It's a very complicated social and economic question because  people are used to having ads in their lives,  this isn't something that's new, but what's [00:15:00] different about it is that these ads are usually done around the basis of trust relationships, right? Which is different than TV advertising. It's different than radio advertising. It's different than display advertising, especially on the internet. Those are not trust relationships. usually that drives those things and that's really where the value is.

[00:15:23] And I fear at times that we get too much in the automation of advertising and podcasting and we lose sight on those trust relationships. And we also lose sight on what the potential, what the real value of these ads are. There's a tendency, I think specifically in programmatic, that devalues podcasts ads, that doesn't help the industry keep its credibility with its audience and doesn't get pod-casters paid what they're worth. And I think that's my pushback on [00:16:00] that. And why the host read ads have been successful and work is because they're satisfying the needs of all three parties involved in podcasting. 

[00:16:11] Heather Osgood: [00:16:11] I think one of the things that I have loved so much about podcasts is the independent spirit of it.

[00:16:17] And I love. I love the spoken word. And it's incredible to be able to see all of these different people in different perspectives, whether they be professionals or just individuals creating this amazing content. And one of the fears I have is that companies like Spotify are really trying to centralize everything and that they are going to take away from that individuality.

[00:16:44] But it seems like with their platforms like Anchor and creating just more free development platforms, that the quality of the content is going to go down and maybe we are going to lose some of that essence. Do you agree with [00:17:00] that? And do you think that there's a way that we can preserve the essence of the independent podcaster?

[00:17:06]Rob Greenlee: [00:17:06] I think if you look at it from a big picture standpoint, I think all things are welcome. Just in a general sense. I have faith in the medium that the medium will self-correct based on  what works. Sure, there's going to be players that get involved in the medium. And this has gone on for the 16 years that I've been involved with.

[00:17:25] Companies have come and gone and people have tried things and things work. And then sometimes they don't work and people push the envelope on things and have to pull back. And,  if you look at Spotify has actually been involved in podcasting a lot longer than people realize, playing around it, on the edges, wanting to get involved and then pulling back and then not getting involved in telling various people that they were going to do things that they didn't wind up doing, because they realized that it was hard to do,  around advertising in podcasts. And so we have yet to really see them [00:18:00] pull the trigger on anything.

[00:18:01] Heather Osgood: [00:18:01] And it does seem a little strange. I feel like that all the time, I'm like, okay, they're going to tip it. And like, when you look at Anchor, a huge percentage of the ads that anchor runs are for anchor, which is really bizarre to me, to be honest.

[00:18:15] Rob Greenlee: [00:18:15] So what that tells me is that if what they were doing was really working, they would get advertisers buying in to running ads on podcasts.  Maybe it is that we are in a situation where the advertisers are smarter than I think people realize,  that it's better to put their money into,  the host read side.

[00:18:35] Now, granted technology, isn't the problem here? Oftentimes it's the creative is where the core problem is. Dynamic ad insertion and programmatic isn't necessarily inherently bad for podcasting, right? It's how it's utilized and how it's valued and the content that passes through it. When I say content, the content of the advertising that passes through it is [00:19:00] what creates the problems.

[00:19:01] I've been an advocate for years of trying to solve that. I started a Facebook group online a few years back called Better Podcast Ads. And just, from that perspective, just coming up with better creative.  Creating host read type of experiences that can utilize dynamic ad insertion is what you're starting to see, like National Public Radio does it pretty well where they produce prerecorded,  host endorsed type of advertising. It's not pure advertising because they typically shy away from that a little bit. But it's that type of advertising where they're using dynamic ad insertion technology, but the listener doesn't really think that it's any different than what they hear on the radio or something like that, which tends to be a little bit a softer sell.

[00:19:51]That's usually done by organizations, and in companies that the audience probably trusts. I [00:20:00] mean that national public radio typically works with credible companies and credible organizations that carry a lot of trust.   It's the commercial side of commercial radio and commercial where they're working with a lot of different unknown companies and a lot of business entities that, don't have inherent trust relationships with large numbers of people, is where you run into some potential issues. So that's, it's a very complicated subject and people that are involved in trying to solve this need to take into account the history and the culture of this medium when they start making choices about what they do with it.

[00:20:40] Heather Osgood: [00:20:40] Yeah. I agree. And I've been a huge advocate for dynamic ad insertion with host read ads. And I think the minute that I say dynamic insertion people automatically hear programmatic. They automatically presume that they're prerecorded. And, so I agree entirely with you that a host read [00:21:00] ad it's still, it's the most important piece of podcast advertising in my opinion.

[00:21:05]So we don't want to get rid of that. What I find in the conversations that I have is that a lot of the people that we talk to are huge podcast listeners. So they're either the marketing manager or they're a marketing assistant and they're like, I love podcasts. I listened to them all the time. And they're trying to take their love of podcasting back to their entire marketing team and maybe their CMO and sell them on the value of podcasting.

[00:21:32] And I would say, almost without exception, the conversations I have, the reason I'm having them is because that marketer understands the value of the host read ad. And that's what they're looking for. And I think that could be why programmatic is maybe a little bit more challenging to sell. yeah.

[00:21:53] So it'll be interesting to watch the evolution of how things unfold here. But [00:22:00] I agree with you. I don't think that technology is the enemy and I don't want to see us create too much diversity within the industry where we have this camp that is, anti-dynamic insertion, and then another camp that's pro-dynamic insertion.

[00:22:14] I really hope that as an industry, we can come together. But one of the, I think one of the big equations that needs to be solved is how can we create success with dynamic insertion campaigns? Because I do hear from agencies on a pretty regular basis that dynamically inserted ads are not as effective as embedded ads.

[00:22:35] And I think that a big part of it is because we're, we have an established good kind of buying habits around dynamic insertion. Do you have any thoughts about that? About because you're taking away that whole long tail. So when you're doing dynamic insertion, it's just the short. A shorter period of time, but with much greater frequency.

[00:22:54] Rob Greenlee: [00:22:54] Yeah. the conversations that I've had with advertisers back in the day, [00:23:00] with the radio show that I did was,  it's the whole thing around branding.  Is a whole other kind of brand advertising, which is a whole nother kind of conversation here. But, the real issue at the end of the day is creating a win-win scenarios for all three of those parties, the listener, the podcaster, and the advertiser, creating a win-win scenario that everybody fulfilled gets all their needs fulfilled.

[00:23:25]Heather Osgood: [00:23:25] So, if we know we can get a positive return for the advertiser at X number of dollars with a baked in ad, then we just need to come up with the number that makes sense for dynamic insertion. I know to a statement that you said earlier, Podcasts really weren't designed to have commercial breaks. And I think I struggle with that a little bit because we want it to feel organic and authentic. We want it to feel like it is content, which is part of the reason not part is the entire reason why I named our company True Native Media is because the idea is how do we take this ad content and [00:24:00] make it feel native?

[00:24:01]I remember when I first started listening to podcasts, listening to Gimlet, do their ad reads. I was like, this is amazing because I want to listen to these ads cause they're produced so well. Granted they put in a lot of money and got a lot of money to produce those ads. But I do feel that if you are going to have advertisers in your podcasts, it's important to create ebb and flow in your content so that you have breaks in conversations where it makes sense to put an ad in that spot so that you're formatting the content.

[00:24:35] But I also think that every time you transition the listener shouldn't say, Oh, now I'm going to an ad break. Like I think, I know I used to listen to a lot of am radio and you can tell. So, I don't want to tell listeners it's time to fast forward. We want them to listen to the ads, but in your opinion, do you think that there is a way for podcasters to [00:25:00] format the ads so they don't feel like you're not blindsided by an ad all of a sudden, but that also it is acceptable in the content?

[00:25:11] Rob Greenlee: [00:25:11] Yeah. I think one of the challenges that the industry has, and it's always had, this actually is how to handle transitions between content and host endorse or commercial breaks.  I did it for many years with the heartbreaks, right? The exit music and then the ad starts playing and then you come back from a break, you play some, some intro music, and then it comes back, it comes back into the content again but I'm not sure that's the right way of doing it for podcasting. So podcasting is like a stream of consciousness. That's the idea behind it. So I've been a big proponent of what I like to call soft breaks.  Those are ones that ease your way into those breaks. It's not like a jarring transition, where you're playing loud exit music, and saying we'll be [00:26:00] right back. that kind of stuff. It's more  the host finishes up a segment and then just stops talking.

[00:26:07]And then they start back in,  let's talk about this particular topic, right? So, they basically have a little bit of a pause and that could be a location that you put that insertion into. So you're not. I think, if the FCC got involved in this, that they would probably say, you need to identify at the beginning of the ad, this was a, this was a commercial message and then transition.

[00:26:32] I don't believe that the FCC has inflicted their will on this medium quite yet on that. So, that is a possibility that could happen at some point in the future, because I do know that happened to sponsor links with Google, where they had to put like a little  texts at the top of those sponsored links as a paid link, or sponsored link or those kinds of things. I don't know that we have to identify these as pure ads. So [00:27:00] maybe we should, maybe that's the right thing to do. It's trying to find the balance there with your audience, right? Maybe it's okay to say,  we'll be right back.

[00:27:09] Please support our sponsor. And then it starts playing. So I think that's an acceptable way to do it too. You can be upfront with your audience that this is a sponsor that's going to come up  and I would want you to support the sponsor to support the show. I think those kinds of, transitions are probably okay as well.

[00:27:28]So, it depends on what the podcast or wants to do and the flow and format of their program.

[00:27:33] Heather Osgood: [00:27:33] Yeah. Yeah. So interesting. So we have had a request in the comments from Podsearch. Thank you guys so much for watching. I know we are here to also talk about your predictions of where you think that podcast advertising is going.

[00:27:49] And so what role do you see podcasts advertising playing in the industry?

[00:27:56]Rob Greenlee: [00:27:56] I think we need to work out like a, like an [00:28:00] industry view on privacy. I think it's one of the key things around podcasts advertising  that we need to address.

[00:28:09]And that will go a long ways towards, addressing,  the direction of this. You've got these, pressures that are pressuring, various ad buying groups, in all forms of advertising right now, especially on the digital side,  that need to be addressed and thought about.

[00:28:27] And we need to put in best practices in that area. And I believe it's still early in that, But I do believe that podcast advertising will continue to grow. There is a lot of, what can I say, optimistic predictions around how fast it will actually grow, that have been circulating the last few years.

[00:28:47] And, I think what has come to fruition is decent growth. I think that the COVID situation has impacted how fast that growth was actually, is actually going to [00:29:00] happen. Now. I think instead of going up 40%, it's only going up like 15% or something like that.  So, I think we've had to reset our expectations around how fast podcasts advertising is going to grow.

[00:29:12]But, I think we still have some things that we got to work out around ad formats. How dynamic ad insertion and programmatic is done in a way that preserves the value of the medium.  So, I think there's still a lot of work to be done, but in the, in the meantime, those baked in host reads are still bringing in the big bucks  that's going to continue,  and more shows, better quality content, is great for the podcast advertising business. And we're seeing more and more, pod fronts, Podcasts Upfront, right? I think that the virtual presentations has been good because what it's done is it's enabled more of these events to happen, and access to [00:30:00] those is a lot easier for ad buyers on a larger scale than those that can just fly into a theater or an event convention room or a hotel or something like that to see all the presentations. But, so those things are continuing happen.

[00:30:14] I think more celebrities are going to come into the medium.

[00:30:17] I think bigger companies are going to invest more in original content, which is gonna bring more attention to podcasting. And hopefully the Podcast Academy can inspire increasing quality of content at all levels of this medium.

[00:30:31] I think that the indie side has huge opportunity.  The indie side of this medium is really at the core of the medium anyway. For the vast majority of the shows are. There's huge indie shows that, so this perception that many people have that only the big shows are with big companies is just not the case.  So there's opportunities now, granted, these big companies are going to try and suck up as many of the big shows as they can. But the pipeline is always full [00:31:00] of new shows that are growing and coming up. So I'm very optimistic about the future of podcasts advertising, because it is so unique in the media world and a huge opportunity for advertisers to connect with audiences in a more significant way.

[00:31:15] Heather Osgood: [00:31:15] Yeah, I agree. Do you think that eventually the host read ad will go away? I always look back to terrestrial radio and I think of how common it was. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would come home for lunch and he would listen to Paul Harvey. And I remember all the ad reads that he would do.

[00:31:32]And so I think of that and then I think of today. And we still of course have, radio hosts that will do endorsement ads in their breaks. But there are so few radio DJs out there now as compared to what there used to be since there's syndication. But do you think that host read ad will eventually go away?

[00:31:51] Rob Greenlee: [00:31:51] I don't think so. I don't think it will ever completely go away because I think that there's going to be some purists out there that still exists that  will [00:32:00] realize that's the best experience for listeners. And content creators tend to want to create best of listening experiences.

[00:32:08]And I think if we stay focused on that as an industry, then I believe we will make better choices or continue to make the proper choices around how we handle advertising and how we create content in this medium.  And I just think that the culture of the medium and as long as we keep talking about it and people understand it and people, I think that.

[00:32:32] There, the audience really has a lot more power  than all of us really realized to dictate what works and what doesn't work.

[00:32:39] Heather Osgood: [00:32:39] Yeah and we all, I like host read ads there's so often times when I find myself listening to them and thinking, Oh, that sounds interesting.

[00:32:47]And it's yeah, hopefully that's preserved. Now. One of the things I know, that I want to wrap us up on is that you and I were talking about the value of a podcast association, maybe a technical association before we got on our live [00:33:00] stream here. And I'm curious, I feel like it's such a good idea. And I'm just curious what your thoughts are around. Forming an association and how that could have a positive impact on the industry.

[00:33:10] Rob Greenlee: [00:33:10] Yeah. I've been talking about this for many years, around the industry needing this. The industry tried to do this back in 2008. It was called the association of downloadable media. What was originally formed to do the same thing around advertising and metrics. And that's actually where we're a lot of the foundational counting metrics came from, that are, that has now been adopted by the IAB, that as been formed with, like 30, 40 companies from the podcasting medium to come up with a standard way of counting downloads and plays in podcasting.

[00:33:46]I've been involved in the formation of the Podcast Academy, which is more of a content focused type of organization, but there's always been this need. And I've been talking about it for years that we need to have a technical association. [00:34:00] And there's been efforts here recently to, I think is the international podcast association has tried to be formed.

[00:34:09] And I'm just not sure that, the focus of it was in the proper area. I think that the focus of any  new kind of organization needs to be more focused on tech, technical and advertising standards as really its core reason for existence. There's been a new coalition of people, Todd Cochran and I, he's my co-host on the New Media Show. About a year and a half ago, we started a group called the RSS Coalition, which was basically the purpose of that organization was to come up with new tags, and recommendations for RSS. So if we wanted to add like a tag for transcriptions or a tag for trying to have various quality formats of media.

[00:34:53] You could have, multiple enclosure tags, just whatever those new tags need to be, that the [00:35:00] industry wants to add capability and to better cater to audiences is something that we should really work together to come up with. And that's the idea, is to work with  a few of the leading people in the industry and start something and then get more people involved in contributing to it and being a member of it and contributing to it on a regular basis.

[00:35:24] Not unlike what we did with the 40 companies that created the IAB around the podcast metrics standards. 

[00:35:31] Heather Osgood: [00:35:31] Yeah. And I think IAB, obviously the IAB serves a really important role and we want their continued involvement, but it would be amazing for us to have our own industry association. And I think if we could get someone that was, fairly bipartisan to head that, then you know, that I think would really help open up the conversations and not feel like, Oh, you're my competitor and you started this. So why would I come and meet with you and talk to you about all my ideas? So if we could come together, that would be awesome.

[00:35:59] Rob Greenlee: [00:35:59] And [00:36:00] frankly, that is an issue in the medium. If you look at its history has been comprised of,  the proper analogy I like to use, a bunch of stray cats. Everybody is doing innovative things. They're heading off in their own direction. They're all competing with each other. But there are plenty of examples of industries with similar characteristics coming together, though, because they can see a common interest in people. Not having to recreate the wheel all the time.

[00:36:28]And to benefit the constituents that are involved in this medium. Instead of creating a confusing message to advertisers or whatever around how this medium works. 

[00:36:41] Heather Osgood: [00:36:41] And I think that's the most important part for us is, and I just crack up so much when we're like, Oh my gosh, we're we have over a million podcasts.

[00:36:49]There are 600 million blogs out there. So a million podcasts isn't really that many or we're almost at a billion dollars in ad revenue. That's amazing. I don't want to discount that, but [00:37:00] let's compare that to other 16 billion. exactly.  Yeah. Yeah. Can we come together as an industry and work together to get to that 16 billion or to that 600 million or whatever. To me, those are the real goals. But yeah, Rob, it's been so great having you on and thank you guys. Thanks Mike, for chiming in on dm. I appreciate everybody watching and. it's yeah, just always great to talk to you about, the things that you see happening in the industry. I feel like you have just such a good bird's eye view of everything cause you do have your history and, you, do you have your hands in so many different pots, it feels. Any information about where people can find you or connect with you?

[00:37:42]Rob Greenlee: [00:37:42] Yeah  I, can be found on Twitter. Rob Greenlee, and I post there quite often about various things going on events and the podcasts that I'm doing. And, you can also send me an email if you want to at and I'm also on LinkedIn too , find me [00:38:00] over there. If you want to send me a, a note or a question or a comment or whatever you want to do, reach out. there'll be more happy to talk with you.

[00:38:08] Heather Osgood: [00:38:08] Awesome. Great. And if you're interested in getting hold of True Native Media, you can go to

[00:38:13] I'm on LinkedIn a lot, so you can message me there. and I just appreciate you guys all being here today and Rob, thanks so much for being with us. And we'll talk to you again real soon.

[00:38:22] Rob Greenlee: [00:38:22] Okay. Thank you.

[00:38:24] Thanks Rob.

Rob GreenleeProfile Photo

Rob Greenlee

VP, Content & Partnerships

Rob is the VP of Content and Partnerships at and He is a well-known evangelist of the podcasting industry, a current Board Member and former Chairperson of The Podcast Academy, and a 2017 inductee in the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. In his role at Libsyn, Rob is responsible for managing content provider and distribution partner relationships who entrust their content to the companies pioneering podcast publishing, distribution, management, measurement, and monetization tools.