Dec. 22, 2021

Podcasting And The Social Audio Ecosystem With Steve Olsher

Podcasting And The Social Audio Ecosystem With Steve Olsher

Can Social Audio and Podcasting exist as partners in the audiosphere?

With the rapid rise of Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms, and Spotify Greenroom, podcasting suddenly got a bit scared about its audiences' loyalty. So we called in social audio and podcasting specialist Steve Olsher to join us on the podcast and chat about creating a successful partnership between podcasting, social studio, and monetization.

We cover reasons for the lack of community in podcasting, how Steve is trying to combat that, why he is worried about the podcast demographic, and how people consume podcasts.

To learn more, visit Podcast Magazine or connect with Steve via email at


This transcript is edited.

[00:00:29] Heather Osgood: Hello, and welcome to, The Podcast Advertising Playbook. I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today, I am joined by Steve Olsher, Founder of Podcast Magazine. Welcome to the show, Steve. 

[00:00:40] Steve Olsher: Thanks for having me. 

[00:00:42] Heather Osgood: So Steve, how did you connect to the podcast industry? What made you wake up one morning and say, hey, I will start a magazine about podcasts.

[00:00:50] Steve Olsher: Oh, well, those are two different questions. So, the industry and the magazine are two completely different conversations, but I'll go back to talk about the industry for a second. I [00:01:00] came from the coaching world, author, speaker, right? Trying to just help people with my unique message around assisting people in discovering their "what." Which is what I call that one amazing thing they were born to do, right? It's a part of your DNA. So, I was doing a lot of teaching and workshops and speaking around the importance of discovering your "what" and how people who have done so are really changing the world as a result. So, I started looking at radio, and radio for me has always been the holy grail.

[00:01:28] I thought that I would want to have a radio show at one point in my life.  And I would like just to have a morning show and have people call and talk about subjects and callers, and the whole nine, as you would typically do with the radio show. So that might be something I wanted to do.

[00:01:41] It didn't pan out. Whatever, career-wise, I went in different directions. And as I started looking at it from a branding and a "how do I share my mission and message standpoint?" So I started looking at broker time on the radio, and I ended up buying some broker time on a small AM station in Chicago.

[00:01:58] And it occurred to me, [00:02:00] if you're not in front of a radio, whether in your car or at home, and you're not in this particular region of reach if you will.  And it was a small AM station, so the broadcast signal was pretty minimal.  And you're not tuned into that channel at that specific moment in time.

[00:02:15] And it's just like you keep cutting down layers of the onion. You have nothing left there, and you've got six listeners if you're lucky. And I'm cutting a pretty big check every month to these guys. And I'm just going to make a lot of sense. And it was around that time in 2009 that I became introduced to the world of podcasts.

[00:02:30] And I said this is pretty interesting, right? It's like a global radio station. I can record this message, and then I can put it out to the world.  And people, no matter where they are, can access that file, that audio conversation on their preferred device, pretty much at any time, at their leisure. And so, that was really when I turned the corner into the world of podcasting in 2009. And just saying this is a much better alternative for me [00:03:00] than traditional broadcast radio. And so, that was my sort of foray into the world of podcasts, as it came onto my radar at that point.

[00:03:09] And then Podcast Magazine, it's a whole other conversation.   But I don't want just to talk and talk at you. So let me stop there for a second. 

Heather Osgood: [00:03:15] Well, I did not realize you had been podcasting for so long. 2009 was a couple of years back, so you have been in the industry for a long time.

[00:03:23] And I know before we hit record that we were chatting about your magazine and how wonderful it is. And you know, I know that I have been at several industry events where I've had a chance to get a hard copy of the publication.  Which I think, I don't know if you realize this, but I used to work in a newspaper, and have sold my fair share of magazine ads as well, because every newspaper has a magazine, right? And I love the actual printed piece. I'm also probably older, which is why I like magazines, but I like the physical-ness of a publication, but you also have an [00:04:00] online presence. And I guess, what was the catalyst? What made you decide to go ahead and start this [00:04:06] publication?

[00:04:07] Steve Olsher: Yeah. And by the way, we're hiring for an ad sales position. So, we should chat, but that's a conversation for another day. So, I was sitting at a conference a few years ago. Not a few years ago, almost two years, really to the day, because it was October of 2019.

[00:04:24] I was at a conference, which was somebody else's live event. And I'm sitting there in the audience of this live event, and this particular person was thinking about launching a magazine. And I thought it was a really good idea for his particular industry.  It made a lot of sense in terms of what he was looking to do.

[00:04:44] And it just kinda hit me, like why isn't there the Rolling Stone, if you will, of the world of podcasts?  Or what Sports Illustrated did for sports, or what Thrasher magazine did for skateboarding? Like, why isn't [00:05:00] there a podcast magazine? And it was just one of those moments where I felt like [00:05:07] I've been podcasting since 2009, and my shows have done okay. I'm not going to sit here and say that we've got millions of downloads every single month, and we're just absolutely killing it. That's not the case at all. We've done okay. And as I started teaching more and more about the world of podcasts, starting around 2017, the numbers at the time, when I really started imploring people to consider getting involved in the world of podcasts, we were around 400,000 shows.

[00:05:33] And then that number continued to grow, and continued to grow, and continued to grow. And by the time we turned around, now we're over two million, depending on the stats and the data of the two that you're able to access. But regardless, at the time, when I sat there and I had the idea around doing the magazine, it was getting to be about a million shows or so, and it was just a very simple question, which is, do I want to be one of one million shows and struggle, as I had been struggling to try to [00:06:00] gain attention and get enough people listening to really move the needle? Or do I want to create, really, that category of one, and have the only magazine that serves this industry in the way that I thought we could serve the industry. And then ultimately, the one million podcasts would all want to be a part of what we're doing with the magazine.

[00:06:19] The industry companies would want to be a part of what we're doing with the magazine, the executives, and all the companies and organizations would want to be a part of what we're doing with the magazine if we do it the right way. And so for me, it was really just a matter of how to really create that category of one.

[00:06:37] And the magazine seemed to make really good sense in terms of doing that because I love the industry of podcasting. I just have the same trouble as many people do with discovery. And when you're not bankrolled by huge deep pockets, you could have the best show in the world, but it doesn't mean anybody's going to find it.

[00:06:55] So that was really the impetus, and it just, it [00:07:00] surprised me. I'll be honest with you, that there wasn't a podcast magazine at the time. And almost two years later, I'm still not a hundred percent sure if it was the right idea or not, but time will tell. 

[00:07:12] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, one of the things that your magazine has the capacity to do, that as you mentioned, so many other publications have done for other industries, is create a sense of community.

[00:07:27] And in this very online world that we live in, you know, as people will say, are more connected and yet less connected, than we have ever been. And one of the things that I find very odd and challenging in the space of podcasting is, that if you took a hundred people and, you know, I want to say that Alex Bloomberg mentioned this in the first podcast movement that I went to.

[00:07:56] I think that this was what he had said, but if you take a [00:08:00] room of a hundred podcasters, and you say, how many of you will say that your main profession is podcasting? That is what you are, is a podcaster. Very few people would raise their hand to that, because we have biologists, and doctors, and dentists, and comedians, and fiction writers, and business experts.

[00:08:25] And the list goes on and on, right? Of people who have a profession. And podcasting is their hobby, right? It's something that they maybe do on the side. And because of that, I think that sometimes we can struggle to connect as a community. You've got, of course, the business of podcasting.  Which is all of the corporations and the people who work within those corporations, that would definitely say that they identify as being part of the podcast community.

[00:08:57] But it’s not that [00:09:00] uncommon. I don't find when I'll be talking to somebody, and they'll say, oh yeah, I have a podcast. And the only reason they ever told me they had a podcast, is just because I mentioned something of being in the podcast industry. And because of that, I think sometimes that in and of itself can lead to it being a more fragmented space.

[00:09:19] How do you view your magazine as potentially being a catalyst to create community? 

[00:09:25] Steve Olsher: Yeah. I mean, it is really interesting when you talk about community and places to gather and, is this a hobby? Is this a career? Is this full-time? Is this part-time? Like, there's just, there are so many different sorts of buckets, if you will, that people in the industry seem to find themselves in.

[00:09:44] And so, it is one of those things where on one hand, it's like the industry has been around for so long, that you would think we would be further, farther down the path, right?  In terms of just being able to give [00:10:00] people the opportunity to really gather in a way that is meaningful. And again, even from a consumer standpoint, right?

[00:10:08] If you just look at where do podcast fans gather, it's show-by-show, right? There's not a lot of opportunities. At least you don't see a lot of opportunities for people to get together more on a holistic basis. It's one of the reasons why we're actually going to be doing, we've been doing, live events for years.  But we're going to be doing a live event that we're calling PodExpo.

[00:10:33] And so, PodExpo is kind of like the Comic-Con if you will, but for the world of podcasting. And so we're doing that for many of those reasons that we're talking about.  This is not only to create a community environment and a gathering opportunity for fans but also for people who have shows, to be able to gather. I know that this happens at Podcast Movement and at PodFest, and there are some great opportunities. She Podcasts and so on, for people who are in the industry. But there's not really [00:11:00] any sort of central gathering place for the two to get together, consumer and creator. And even the industry people as well.

[00:11:08] So, it is a question that we're really looking to answer here. And between what we're doing with the magazine, what we're doing with the live event, we're gonna be moving people into our Discord community. And even though ClubPod on Clubhouse, we're starting to try to do our part anyway, in terms of being able to answer that fundamental question, of where is the community of podcasters and podcast fans gathering? And how do you facilitate any sort of community between them? 

[00:11:38] Heather Osgood: So you bring up a great point, which is social audio. And, you know, I know that when Clubhouse first hit the scenes, everybody was like, oh, this is going to replace podcasting. I personally don't love it, because I listen to podcasts when I have time, which is in between a million other things in my life. And [00:12:00] with that type of audio, you have to be there when everyone else is there. I mean, podcasts are wonderful for many reasons, but they don't necessarily facilitate community.

[00:12:13] Whereas obviously, a platform like Clubhouse is going to do that. Where do you think social audio fits into the podcast ecosphere? 

[00:12:23] Steve Olsher: It's interesting, and I will say, I think the jury is still really out, right?  From the standpoint of social audio, it is still brand new, right? In the scheme of things, we're very much in the embryonic stage of seeing what can and possibly will happen in the world of social audio. I think that there is a place for social audio, and I was on this morning. And there are, you know, still thousands of people from across the globe and in various social audio rooms. What's happened in some of the bigger players, like with Clubhouse, is that as more people came [00:13:00] on to the platform and as more clubs were formed, then what you saw is that the attendance naturally is going to go down, in terms of when you look at a particular room.  Like, where are these huge rooms?

[00:13:12] There's no longer just a few huge rooms. Those attendees are scattered amongst numerous clubs, in numerous conversations. And so, some people look at it and they go social audio is dead. That was a good little fad and this, that, and the other. I don't think so. I think there's still an opportunity there for it to sit side-by-side, nicely with podcasting.

[00:13:32] Right? And this was a conversation that we had quite frequently inside of Club Pod. Which is our club there on Clubhouse. And so the question was will social audio kill podcasting? And it was a legitimate question at the time. And I think there was a lot of fear amongst podcasters of, yeah, this is potentially going to just absolutely kill our traditional podcast boat. But what we found is that the [00:14:00] two actually do complement each other quite nicely. As a matter of fact, since December of 2020, we have been recording all of our episodes of Reinvention Radio live on Clubhouse, and then taking those files and then putting those out to our traditional evergreen podcast channels, Apple, Spotify.

[00:14:20] And so for me, it's really the best of both worlds. And when we talked earlier about how I always thought radio would be the holy grail, right? I mean, this to me actually provides a very radio-esque opportunity to have more interaction with the people that want to be in communication with me. So, I happen to think that the live component of social audio, even if you don't record it and release it as a podcast, that's fine. It just compliments what you're doing in evergreen quite nicely because no matter how you slice it, a podcast is really still just a one-way channel. We like to sit here and think it's a two-way channel because we decide when we want to listen to [00:15:00] it, and we decide on what platform we're going to listen to it.

[00:15:02] And we decide what episode we're going to listen to. But the reality is that it is still a monologue. That is still used sitting there, passively listening, as opposed to being actively involved in that conversation. And so, I think there's a time and a place for both. And I would just also say that if you're one of those folks who started down the path of social audio, and then threw in the towel,

[00:15:30] I would actually ask you to reconsider that decision.  Because I think that I don't have a crystal ball here, but just based on past trends and based on what I've seen, there's always going to ebb and flow with new technology. And right now we're just in a little bit of that ebb or that flow.  I never can remember which it is, but we're in that in-between stage before I think we're going to have another resurgence here.

[00:15:52] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah. I could totally see that. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don't think that you can say that [00:16:00] podcasting is a two-way conversation, because it's not, right? I mean, you might love a host to death, but if you want to actually reach out to that person, you're going to have to go to social.

[00:16:11] You're going to have to go to email. You're going to have to go to some event where they might be. You are not going to just be able to have that conversation. And I know that, of course, there were call-in podcasts that happened. But the value of social audio is that interaction, right? Is that ability to create this content and have the other person respond. How do you think, I guess for me, live also provides that element. Of course, there's the video element of a live, where Clubhouse is solely audio.  Where do you think live fits into that equation? 

[00:16:47] Steve Olsher: I have seen very few people do live well.  Not to say that it can't be done well, but if you're talking about Facebook Live or Instagram, I have yet to [00:17:00] see someone, there are people who do well with it.

[00:17:02] But when you just look at the flow of interaction as a creator. And again, I'm hoping that at some point one of the platforms comes up a better way of interacting with your fan base when you do something on a live basis. But as a creator, if you've never put together a live, and sat there and tried to watch the comments and to actually have a meaningful dialogue.

[00:17:30] Yes, if you bring someone up, and you give them the camera, sure. Then you can have a one-on-one conversation. But that's risky because you never know what their audio or their video is going to be. You never know what their question is going to be. You never know what's going to happen, which is, you know, the beauty of live. But at the same token, if you're just asking for comments or feedback, it's just really hard to keep up and do that in any sort of meaningful way. Just like Clubhouse, which is live, or green room, whatever your social audio platform of choice is.

[00:18:00] There is a time and a place where lives certainly make sense. I just haven't seen anybody really do it well outside of a more controlled environment. And it's just tough to control those though platforms right now.  Not to say it's impossible, but I'm just saying it's not easy.

[00:18:18] Heather Osgood: I think the hardest part about lives, for myself, I do a live on a weekly basis. The big challenge is being able to, it's easy to sit here and have a conversation with you, or it's easy to give a presentation, but it's difficult to maintain a conversation with someone and read the comments, integrate the comments in a meaningful way, and then have it actually be appealing to the audience. And so, I think that to your point, it takes someone that's very practiced and very good to facilitate that. And then, of course, there's this whole level of filtering and [00:19:00] editing that happens. Obviously, if you're in the live, you can see the questions and comments that are coming up, but that doesn't mean that question or comment is actually going to be addressed.

[00:19:09] Because the person that is presenting gets to say, I'm gonna address that question. I'm not going to address that question. Whereas in Clubhouse, obviously, when you invite somebody up onto the stage with you, if they say something you're going to need to address it. You can't just say, oh I'm not gonna, I'm not interested in your comment path.

[00:19:26] Next one. Right? Like you to address. 

[00:19:30] I'm sorry. Say that again. 

[00:19:31] Steve Olsher: I said that just makes you look really bad, obviously when you do that. But all of that being said, if you have a team it can work. It can work well. You know, love him or hate him, I admire what Grant Cardone is doing in a live format. He has figured out a way with his team to syndicate.

[00:19:53] And we recently did an interview with Magic Johnson. And so, they were on Clubhouse.[00:20:00] They were on all the social channels and YouTube live and so on. And they've really figured out how to get the syndication piece working. Because he has his team involved, in more of a production, in an actual studio.

[00:20:17] He's able to make that work. So, there are very few people though that have that type of production capability. But if you have that team and production capability, you know, again, I don't want to dismiss the notion altogether of live working. It can work. It's just very hard to pull off on your own. 

[00:20:36] Heather Osgood: So, let's talk about advertising, because of course this is the Podcast Advertising Playbook.

[00:20:42] So I know that, gosh, right after Clubhouse went live, I was approached by facilitators of different rooms into selling ads on Clubhouse. And I know that there are certainly other agencies that we work without there that are trying to facilitate [00:21:00] Clubhouse ad-selling as well.

[00:21:01] Have you seen, or do you know of anyone who is doing a good job executing advertising within Clubhouse? It seems like it's definitely being done. 

[00:21:12] Steve Olsher: Yeah. I would actually point to ourselves from the standpoint of we have Club Pod, which has almost 70,000 members. And, you know, God's honest truth is that we have people coming to us all the time saying, you know, how can we do something in Club Pod?

[00:21:30] We'd love to get in front of your folks. And, we do offer that in terms of a Club Pod takeover, either there by the room, by the day, or by the week. But we try to do it as a component of a larger campaign, where that campaign would include the magazine and exposure there. Would include email subscribers, right?

[00:21:51] In terms of a blast to the list. It would include social. So, it's not just in a vacuum and selling it à la carte. We're really trying to do it as [00:22:00] more of an overall opportunity for people to gain access to the community that we've cultivated. And so, I told my wife, I think around January of 2021, I said, I can really see a time here where if I build this community, and I build this following, then we can get to the point where we have people who want to sponsor our rooms and would invest $2,500, as an example, to sponsor a Club Pod room, and do a couple of those every week. And that's, it's a quarter-million dollars in top-line revenue for doing a couple of rooms a week. So then, I'm not saying we're doing this every single week. But we do have rooms that are sponsored pretty consistently now.

[00:22:56] Heather Osgood: I have not personally overseen any [00:23:00] Clubhouse campaigns, so I couldn't speak directly to those, but I agree. I think the integration across multi-platforms is really valuable. And I think that should be the case with podcast advertising as well. Of course, you can just run podcast ads, and they can be very successful, but that doesn't mean that that's necessarily the only thing you should do.

[00:23:21] And I really see a time and a place where we're moving into just larger integrated advertising campaigns period. Because we really are focused on that influencer marketing element. And if we've got an ad in a podcast, we've got an ad on a Clubhouse, we've got an ad on social media. And then that person's newsletter, right? There are these multi-touch points, because ultimately when we're trying to get a response for an advertiser, it boils down to how many times has that person been able to see that ad message so that they can decide if they want to take advantage of it. 

[00:23:59] And I [00:24:00] guess that's been one of the concerns I've had a little bit with Clubhouse, in particular, is yes, we might have 70,000 people coming into that room, but at that moment, when that message is, that ad message is being communicated, what percentage of the people are actually there and listening? How have you, and I know there are different apps that have been created to try and monitor that, but how are you able to really deliver metrics to your advertisers about people in the room, and then what kind of response are these advertisers seeing?

[00:24:34] Steve Olsher: Yeah. You know, 

[00:24:34] it's interesting. Even to this day oh, let me say what we're using is, we're using Direcon as our primary analytics tracking tool, and they give you great data in terms of the number of people that come into the room, demographics, it has worked really well for us. Maybe for about four months, five months now that we've been using Direcon, D-I-R-E-C-O-N. I think it's how you spell it. And[00:25:00] what's amazing to me is, there were two key statistics that I find fascinating, as far as the Clubhouse rooms are concerned.   That even the smaller rooms, where maybe you have thirty or forty people, and you look at the numbers and you go,

[00:25:16] okay. It's a nice size room.  Nothing huge, nothing crazy.  But what's really interesting is, that those rooms that have thirty, forty, twenty people, the number of people who actually have come into that room over the course of time, between when you open that room and when you ended that room,

[00:25:39] most of the time, substantially is higher, like to the tune of three, four, five, even ten times. Sometimes, more than what you think it is because there are people always coming and going from these rooms. And so, if you have a room of thirty people, again, you might not think it's the biggest room in the world. But that same room [00:26:00] could have had two hundred and fifty, or three hundred people go through that room, from the moment you opened to the moment you ended.

[00:26:06] And then you couple that with the average time that somebody spends in the room. So, somebody was there for five minutes and twenty-three seconds on average. Okay. In an hour room, five minutes and twenty-three seconds suck. That's terrible. Why would I want to invest in that? Here's a good answer, on what other planet can you have someone's attention in 200 people in an ad, right? For five minutes in twenty-three seconds? Television, thirty seconds. Radio, thirty seconds. Yeah. An email blast. If you're lucky they actually read the thing from start to finish. So, five minutes and twenty-three seconds. That's actually pretty dang good. 

[00:26:51] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. So, are you getting responses back from the advertisers that you've had, that the campaigns are succeeding? Are people happy with them and coming back to renew?

[00:27:02] Steve Olsher: Not renew, because we haven't really gone back to any of them to say, hey, let's do this again. We're still trying to just get our feet wet and really figure it out because again, we're not in the business of just taking people's money.

[00:27:13] We want to make sure that what we're doing provides just really solid ROI for them, no matter how much they invest with us. And so, the reality is, every single one that we've come to at this point, it's a trial thing. And if it works out, then we'll circle back and we'll look at it.  But we've really only started doing this over the last two or three months or so.

[00:27:35] And as the magazine continues to grow, and as we just continue to really get more clear on who we are and who we see. It also helps us then to really understand, okay. This person would make sense for us to go back to. This one probably doesn't. And so, we're not even after the, to be honest with you, we're not after the renewals at this point. It's really, for us, it's just about gathering data and seeing what sort of companies are having more success than others. As far as Club Pod is going. [00:28:00] 

[00:28:00] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So, what would you say is your target?  If someone is listening to this podcast, is Club Pod designed for companies that are interested in advertising podcasts? Is it for podcasters themselves? Is it for podcast listeners? Is it for all of the above?

[00:28:19] Steve Olsher: Yeah. So it's interesting. So, we found specifically with the magazine, is that the magazine has about a sixty, forty split in terms of people in sixty percent who don't have shows opposite, and forty percent who do. So, what's interesting is that a lot of the sixty percent though, are interested in podcasts and have an interest in potentially starting their own show at some point.

[00:28:43] So Club Pod, on the other hand, is skewed the other way, where you have the majority, like seventy, thirty percent, it's a much larger number, who are either currently in the industry or already have their own podcasts. So it is interesting to see how the data splits. [00:29:00] But yeah, it's just, it's not the same audience.

[00:29:02] It's not a hundred percent clear. I'm not a hundred percent clear. It's not a hundred percent consistent between the people who subscribed to the magazine, and the people who participate in Club Pod, that the numbers are different. 

[00:29:13] Heather Osgood: Okay. Okay. So tell me, you have been in the industry for a long time.

[00:29:19] What are your predictions about where podcasts are heading? And that could be in terms of how and where people are listening.  That could be the types of shows, maybe the footprint of podcasts. What are your predictions about the general industry overall, and where it's headed?

[00:29:38] Steve Olsher: Yeah, generally speaking, I'm concerned. 

[00:29:40] Heather Osgood: Oh interesting. 

[00:29:42] Steve Olsher: I'll be honest and I'll say that I'm concerned. And I'm concerned because when you look at the people who consume podcasts in their traditional form, that demographic is older. I've got kids, I've got an 18-year old and a 15-year old.

[00:29:59] They're [00:30:00] not listening to podcasts. They're just not. They're consuming through other channels. They're consuming through traditional social media channels, are consuming through Discord. They're consuming through Twitch. They're consuming through YouTube, right? YouTube is a huge channel for those who are under 25. But when you look at traditional podcasts in their current shape, their current form, the numbers themselves, and especially if you look at advertising, when we can just simply use that as a metric with which to weigh the long-term potential for the industry, we should not be at a billion dollars in ad revenue.

[00:30:35] For the number of years that we have been doing this. To be sitting at a billion dollars in revenue is concerning. And so, what is that a red flag for? I'm not sure. Is it more of a red flag that the consumption numbers aren't there? Or is it a red flag that the value isn't there, or was it a red flag that the [00:31:00] appeal isn't there?  And so, what I know is that there's a huge opportunity for us here. You can look at what's happened in the world of broadcast radio, and we know audio has its place. So, my crystal ball, if you will, as far as the podcast industry is concerned, really just, it starts and ends with getting people to consume more podcasts. Like in the same way that we have what we need to do if I'm allowed to offer this opinion.  What we need to do, is we need to figure out how to become "Got Milk" right? Because when you look at what "Got Milk" did for the industry, for the dairy farming industry, was incredibly powerful because the industry itself banded together

[00:31:51] and said, I don't care if you buy, and frankly in the world of milk, only now you're starting to get into more brand sort of stuff. But [00:32:00] historically, I went to the grocery store, I just bought a gallon of milk. I didn't really care what the brand is, what the brand was. You're starting to see some of that in the world of podcasting, where everything is just empty.

[00:32:12] Everything is just Rogan. And so my point being, we need to massively increase the number of people who turn to podcasts for their news, for their entertainment, for their information, for their learnings, et cetera, et cetera. So, that is something we need to work on as an industry.

[00:32:35] As opposed to just fighting for, you know, I want this piece of this pie. You're fighting the wrong battle, because Spotify and Apple and Wondery and Luminary, and all of these players are saying, hey, I want to get a piece of this billion-dollar pie. That's the wrong fight. The fight is, how do we get this to a $10 billion industry?

[00:32:59] The [00:33:00] fight is, how do we get this to a fifty billion a year industry. That's where I think we have been very, I don't want to ruffle too many feathers here, but I'm just, I think we have all been a little bit self-serving in our efforts, as opposed to really looking at the industry and the community as a whole.

[00:33:19] So that's, I'll get off my soapbox, but that's, I think the bigger battle we need. 

[00:33:24] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah. I really appreciate that perspective. And I think that it's nice to hear because oftentimes in the podcast space, we're like, we're getting to a billion dollars. Isn't this amazing, isn't this great? And it's not really that great, because as you said, we shouldn't be excited about a billion. We should be excited about fifty billion. Do you know what I mean? When you look at the amount that is spent in advertising, across different mediums, a billion is nothing. It's really a small amount of money. 

[00:33:55] Steve Olsher: What's Facebook? What's Facebook going to do this year? I have just Facebook. [00:34:00] Billions, right? You and I could both take a second and look it up here, but we won't.  But the point is, whatever it is, I guarantee you, it's probably at least fifty billion just Facebook by itself.

[00:34:11] Heather Osgood: Absolutely. 

[00:34:11] Steve Olsher: So, this is where people email us and go, hey Steve, hey Heather, here's the number? Here's the number. 

[00:34:15] Heather Osgood: Yeah. But no, it's totally true. I know I've looked at the TV, which used to bring in the most in ad revenue. And it hasn't been that many years that digital exceeded. I want to say it's been like three or four years that digital exceeded TV advertising.  But,

[00:34:31] we're talking hundreds of billions of dollars that they're doing. And so, not that I don't think we should be happy to get to a billion. Yeah. Let's celebrate that. 

[00:34:44] Yes, sir. 

[00:34:45] Steve Olsher: All right. So, in 2020, when I want a guess, in 2020, Facebook's advertising revenue won again. 

[00:34:53] Heather Osgood: Oh, I'm guessing it's higher than fifty.

[00:34:55] Let's say two-hundred billion,

[00:34:57] Steve Olsher: Four eighty-four billion, okay. That's an insane number, right? 

[00:35:03] Heather Osgood: That's insane, that's one planet. 

[00:35:06] Steve Olsher: Yeah. So, the point being is, we have this conversation, is I think the industry has a huge opportunity and I think the industry has some serious headwind that it needs to figure out on how to come back. Yeah. And the only way to really do that, I think, is to band together in some sort of meaningful way. 

[00:35:23] Heather Osgood: Yeah. And that gets us right back to the beginning of the conversation, which is how are we creating community? And I think that a lot of times we have too much fragmentation. I love the podcast industry and I'm so happy to be part of it.

[00:35:36] And I like that close-knit, you know, an industry where, when we show up to conferences, it's real easy to know most people there, which is awesome. But we still have a long ways to go. And part of it is also, I think, really working to bring in these corporations that are investing in this space and using the leverage and the power that they have.  Because they can really tip the scales in a very meaningful way that we could not. So, if we can continue to get them to invest in this space and to position it, perhaps in different ways and to really create that community, I think that's where the growth could happen. Would you agree with that?

[00:36:19] Yeah. And when you look at just even, so yes, a hundred percent, I agree with you. And if you look at what's going on in our world specifically, let's just play it out. In terms of Podcast Movement, right? So Podcast Movement has been this premiere event for a long time for people in the industry.

[00:36:38] At the most, I think they had owed just over two thousand people at one of their events, maybe twenty-four hundred. I don't know whatever the actual numbers are. That's a conversation for another day, but this last event that they just did, was there. I don't know what the release numbers were, but having been there and having done events for a number of years, if there were more than fifteen hundred people there, I would say.

[00:36:59] [00:37:00] Probably about what the number was, and you, then you compare that to a, again, picking on Facebook here for a minute.  Like a Facebook developers conference. And the number of people that show up to a Facebook developers conference, or you look at an Apple developers conference, and the tens of that, like just these huge numbers.

[00:37:21] And so, what does that mean? It just simply means there's so much work for us to do. And so much upside here for this industry, to really aspire to model what you have seen in some of these other use cases here, and community is going to be a big part of that. And I will tell you, as I sit here and I look at it,

[00:37:44] I don't think that the way that we're doing it right now is providing the right solutions, because the proof is in the numbers. You can just see the number of people that showed up at the last Podcast Movement and it's not impressive when you come right down to it. When you [00:38:00] get, when you compare what we're doing here to other industries.

[00:38:03] Yeah. That is a really interesting perspective and putting things side-by-side.  I do agree with you that there still is a lot of growth and work to be done. Of course, that is the upside too, is that you and I are in the trenches, doing the hard work to get the industry where it needs to be.

[00:38:21] Yeah, thanks so much, Steve, for being here with me today.  If people are interested in connecting with you, where's a good place for them to find you? 

[00:38:29] A couple of places, right? So Podcast Magazine you can join us for that ride at Join us for the Podcast Magazine ride.

[00:38:38] Best place to go. And then my email is really easy. It's just Excellent. 

[00:38:43] Thanks so much for being here. And I hope that you have enjoyed this conversation. I know that I have.  If you're interested in learning more about podcast advertising, or how you can help take us from one billion to a fifty billion industry, feel free to reach out to us at

[00:39:00] Thanks so much. And we'll talk to you again in the next episode. 

Steve OlsherProfile Photo

Steve Olsher

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine®

Steve Olsher is the Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine®, creator of ClubPod™ (on Clubhouse — the largest podcast group on ALL social media platforms), creator of PodXpo®, original Chairman & Founder of, online pioneer who launched on CompuServe’s Electronic Mall in 1993, New York Times bestselling author of What Is Your WHAT? Discover The ONE Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do, real estate developer, creator of The New Media Summit™, host of the #1 rated podcast Reinvention Radio, international keynote speaker, and an in-demand media guest who has appeared on CNN, The Huffington Post, the cover of Foundr Magazine and countless other media outlets.