Dec 13, 2022
Really, as you think about personal
brand, for me, it's about building relationships and building
trust. If a person understands that you're out there to contribute
and participate and be involved, I think that the online media
world is a terrific place to start that path for you. And I think
it also has benefits being able to connect with future employers,
being able to connect with people that are working at other
The workforce landscape is rapidly
changing, and educators and their institutions need to keep up.
Preparing students before they enter the workforce to make our
communities and businesses stronger is at the core of getting an
But we need to understand how to
change and adjust so that we can begin to project where things are
headed before we even get there. So, how do we begin to predict the
Hi, I'm Salvatrice Cummo, Vice
President of Economic and Workforce Development at Pasadena City
College, and host of this podcast.
And I'm Christina Barsi, producer
and co-host of this podcast.
And we are starting the conversation
about the future of work. We'll explore topics like how education
can partner with industry, how to be more equitable, and how to
attain one of our highest goals; more internships and PCC students
in the workforce.
We at Pasadena City College want to
lead the charge in closing the gap between what our students are
learning and what the demands of the workforce will be once they
enter. This is a conversation that impacts all of us. You, the
employers, the policymakers, the educational institutions, and the
community as a whole.
We believe change happens when we
work together, and it all starts with having a conversation. I'm
And I'm Salvatrice Cummo. And this
is the Future of Work.
Hi, this is Christina Barsi, the
Executive Producer of the show. Before we begin today's episode, we
want to wish you happy holidays from all of us at the Future of
We decided to do something special
this season and share with you our most loved episodes of 2022. The
topics range from discussions on new media with Rob Greenlee, the
Vice President of partnerships at Libsyn, to postsecondary career
programs with Jennifer Zeisler, the Senior Program Director of
Career Readiness at ECMC Foundation, to tackling workforce inequity
with Kome Ajise, the Executive Director of Southern California
Association of Governments, and so much more.
We're so grateful for your
listenership and are pleased to bring you your favorite topics once
again. And if you are new to the show, this miniseries of 2022
favorites is a great place to start. Enjoy!
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the
Future of Work Podcast. I am your host, Salvatrice Cummo. Today, we
will be talking about the podcast industry and how new media is
becoming a prominent tool for all of us and where we see it heading
in the future. We will also discuss how this new media and
traditional education should overlap.
With that being said, we want to
welcome none other than Rob Greenlee, Vice President of Partnership
at Libsyn, the first podcast hosting platform. Mr. Greenlee has a
rich background in new media, starting with the early days of the
internet, and was of course, one of the ones, the first ones to
jump into podcasting space back in 2005.
At Libsyn, Rob does everything from
developing podcast, content, distribution, paid subscriptions,
advertising opportunities, and its podcast partners. He has been at
his role since 2019 and we are absolutely thrilled to have him with
us today. Good morning, Rob.
Good morning. It's great to be here,
Salvatrice. I appreciate the opportunity to join you, and as I love
to do podcasts, this is like right in my wheelhouse, so what I like
to do every day. So, this is fun for me.
Yeah, well thank you. I'm glad it's
going to be fun. It's fun for me too. So, I'll tell you what; why
don't we just jump right in, if you don't mind. I've got a list of
questions for you. And I think that this is going to be super
exciting, to better understand, again, new media and the braiding
of education and the future of work.
So, with that said, Rob, if you
could share with me what led you really to this path and this work,
and why it's something that really kind of continues to be of
interest to you and drives you in this space.
Yeah, I think from the highest
level, it's really, for me, I'm a marketing guy. I got a marketing
degree in college and I spent years working in the grocery industry
of all things pre-internet. And so, got kind of basically attracted
to the internet as a marketing vehicle and as a marketing tool to
create deeper connections with customers, and then utilizing
content to help reach customers in a different way, and to build
trust relationships and to build direct
I had a really strong background in
advertising, promotion, PR and all that kind of stuff. So, you can
kind of see how that was like, well, this is a way that I can reach
a global market with what I'm doing. And I actually started to do
that. It basically turned into a career. I walked into a radio
station, created a radio show back in 1999, and then started to use
that content online, and build an audience and build distribution
and all that kind of stuff.
And it really took me down a path of
being a content creator online. I had never been really a content
creator prior to that. So, it was really kind of a new frontier for
me. And it really helped me, I think in a lot of ways, expand my
skillset, build some confidence, not unlike what I spent years
doing in playing competitive sports. You just get in and you start
refining your skills and you get better and better and better, and
you help others along the way. And that was kind of what got me
Great. I imagine that you've seen
media just evolving so rapidly, I think, in the last - I would say
7 to 10 years. I would even say less than that. And I wonder if
there's emerging platforms that you're noticing that we need to pay
attention to as new media continues to evolve. What are you seeing
right now in this role - what are you seeing as emerging
Well, I think the emergence, or in
some cases, I think if you have a historical perspective on online
media, it's a little bit of a return to the values of the earlier
days, at least in the podcast medium or video was a very important
part of podcasting.
I mean, a lot of newer people to
podcasting don't realize that, but in the early days of the podcast
medium, about 30% of the market was video podcasts. And that was
delivered to listeners via a download, just like the audio is
But when we saw YouTube start back
in 2007, it basically siphoned all that content away from the
downloadable version of video into more of a streaming experience
and free hosting and just massive potential of audience building on
the YouTube platform. And so, I think what we're seeing right now
is kind of a return to that to some degree.
And I can't say that I can speak to
specifically why that's happening here over the last couple of
years, but I do think that there is kind of this ubiquity of
internet access now and fast speeds that is enabling video to kind
of go to another level.
So, I think about kind of the
cutting edge trends, and I think also in combination with many
people are kind of consuming less mainstream media. So, when I see
corporate media, I think people are starting to have trust issues
with corporate media. So, now, they're kind of gravitating over to
And I think to some degree that's
happening around podcasting too. I think the trust factor is one of
the biggest drivers, I think of the digital media landscape right
now of anything. And just the diversity of voices, the diversity of
thought - I know that there's a lot of tension around
misinformation and things like that. But if you can cut through
that kind of cloud of misunderstanding, I guess, and really get to
common sense, you can start building trust.
And I do think that the digital
medium right now is really starting to plow in that direction. And
video is becoming more and more important. That's not to say that
audio isn't very important. I think both of them can ride together
and help each other. And I do think that there's people out there
that are primarily video consumers, and there's people out there
that are primarily audio consumers and there's some that like to do
So, I think it makes sense that
we're pushing a little bit harder on the video side, and I think
we're all still trying to figure this out. And I think the video
transcends into other platforms other than podcasting too, like
TikTok and reels and Facebook, and LinkedIn and these other types
of platforms are also becoming more and more important in people's
Yeah. You've mentioned corporate
media and the trust factor. Folks are just not trusting corporate
media right now, and what I'm understanding is that individual
voices are dominating the space and it has been, I think ... I
think it's a combination of our environment, current events, social
events. I think that it's obviously amplified right now as it
should, I'm a firm believer of it.
But what trends do you think that
you're seeing or what behaviors perhaps are you seeing with
corporate media right now in building the trust back? And I ask
this question because as educators, specifically within community
colleges, it's important for us to have a relationship with our
employers so that it informs curricula.
But when you have a space, for
example, the space that we're talking about right now with new
media where employer, AKA, the corporates are not valued in this
space and it's really individual voices. Like I wonder how do we as
educators build for potential occupations in this space? So, that's
why I was asking that question about what corporate is
Are they reexamining their
approaches because that's going to inform us on how we build up for
these potential occupations.
I think that it's really a matter of
finding voices in those organizations that can build trust that may
be difficult for some organizations to accomplish, and other ones,
it'll be smooth sailing. But I do think that people generally trust
people. I don't know that at least over the last few years have
been growing in their trust of brands.
So, I think as you think about how
people communicate and be successful online in a career or as part
of a company, I think those personal relationships that are
developed with people representing those companies has become
increasingly important over time.
Which also drives back to a
different kind of skillset that needs to be valued in those
companies or those corporations, or those media companies that are
trying to build trusted personal brands. And one terrific way of
doing that is video.
And another one is doing a podcast
that's trying to help others, trying to communicate value, building
some level of entertainment, but yet driving value to listeners.
So, you can see how the trends in the marketplace are shaping the
content creation side of the online media world. And I think it
does propel us in a direction.
I think younger people are seeing
this I don't think it's lost on them, the impact of TikTok and
Facebook and Twitter and podcasting, and especially YouTube. I
think it's having a transformational impact on our culture and our
society and our education system about how we value
I think one of the most important
skills, and this is something I developed when I was younger,
because I didn't really have presentation skills because I played
competitive basketball and I didn't talk.
So, I've had to grow up in this
medium and learn how to present and communicate and going from not
really speaking very much because I had a little bit of a speech
impediment when I was younger, to getting up on stage and keynoting
at events around the world and doing podcasting is something that
I've had to learn how to do, and had to struggle at times to learn
how to do.
And I think that's going to be more
and more the journey that we see younger people go through. Some
people have natural abilities in this area and other people don't,
and they have to learn how to do it. They have to just get out
there and put themselves out there, and start building their
community and building trust with other people.
And I think it's going to be key to
success in pretty much every career to some degree. I'm not saying
every career needs to have a podcast or every career has to have a
large video brand out there that's associated with them. But I do
think that the skills that are needed are the same, just like what
we're doing here, trying to do this conversation.
I think a lot of people do video
calls. I think a lot of people get in front of their supervisors or
their boss and need to present themselves on a microphone or in a
call or something like that. And these are all skills that are
I think the pandemic really exposed
the need. I mean, I laughed when I saw a lot of the mainstream
media personalities that are so professional in the studio being
forced to become podcasters. They've failed miserably for the first
three or four months until they got their act together. So, I think
that was a terrific example of the transformation that we've
experienced here over the last couple of years because we were all
The skillset of presentation is, to
your point, transferrable across all occupations, across all
sectors. But I wanted to maybe kind of unpack a little more about
the skillsets because I heard two things. I heard building the
skillsets for our new talent. But then I also heard that there's
the skillsets within existing organizations like corporates and
others that they have to build upon.
Is there any other skillsets that
you're saying Salvatrice like, "Yes, communication's important,
yes, presentations important," but are there any other perhaps
technical skillsets or soft skills that we need to be paying more
Yeah, I do think that there's
technical skills that are important on this. And one of them is
creating an environment that is clean sounding, looks good. Like
I've set up in my office here, especially after the pandemic
started because I started doing so much online
I got studio lights in here, I got a
higher-quality camera I have audio gear, you can see I have a
professional microphone, but I am a podcaster and I've done live
radio for many years as well. So, I'm a little bit ahead of the
I didn't buy this mic like last
year, I bought it 2009. So, if that tells you anything how long
I've had this. But it's just a matter of learning about how to
create content online and creating quality audio and video. Because
as you look to the future, I think many people are going to be
judged on that, and how they show up in their videos - whether it's
dressed up for an interview or doing a call with some sort of media
company that wants to just do a recording with you to talk about
your company or your job or what you're doing.
Not unlike what we're doing right
here - this is a common practice for me that I've been doing
actually for, I don't know, probably since 2010, I've been doing
things like this. So, it's just a matter of getting yourself
positioned and knowledgeable and trying to get as good a quality of
production of what you're putting out because it will reflect on
you, your professional skills.
As I heard you say that I was
thinking through rapidly all the services within our career center,
and we don't do any of this. I'm sitting here going, why are we not
preparing our students in front of the camera? Hello? Like we just
went through a pandemic, everything's been flipped upside down. Why
haven't I spearheaded that momentum around preparing our students
to be in front of the camera. And I just had an aha moment. Like I
just self-corrected, Rob, like thank you.
I just like, wait a minute. Like
you're not even doing it Salvatrice, you know. Gosh, like it blew
my mind right now because I thought we're not doing that. Of
course, we do the resume, we do preparations, communications, the
dress, et cetera, all that good stuff. And interviewing questions
and doing that kind of prep work. But we're not sharing how to
present oneself in front of a camera.
Even before the pandemic, I would
say, like we're seeing video resumes, we're seeing video interviews
more so than ever. But even prior to that, like we were seeing that
shift. And so, thank you for saying that because now, it's just
like, gosh. So, I was just like, get it together, like why isn't
your team doing that? So, thank you, I appreciate
I appreciate that. And I think that
it also should be embedded throughout all programming. When we
think about our traditional career technical education programs or
just career tech in general, media falls under career tech, but
just like the skillsets both soft and technical within
entrepreneurship, I strongly believe that the education of
entrepreneurship should be braided across all programming,
education, career tech.
I believe media should too, at this
point. There's not one program that we have that cannot be
translated into having media skills and media knowledge, just as
simple as presentation. And so, I'm hearing you and I'm thinking,
how could we braid that? How do we as educators evolve our
curriculum to include more media, media knowledge? Media
experiences, media ... fill in the blank.
Do you feel like there's a way that
we could do better? How do we as educators do better in this
No, I think it's a complicated
question to answer for the simple reasons. I mean, if I think about
my own path on this, is that oftentimes, this is a very customized
journey that an individual goes through on how they want to
I think there is some fundamentals
that can be probably shared around the importance of certain
aspects of it, but there's so many choices or options in different
ways, whether it's equipment or how you set up your background, how
you set up your lights.
I think you can give students a
perspective of core principles of good audio and video quality.
What is the fundamental aspects of it? You know, proper lighting,
good quality camera, good quality microphone. I'm not necessarily
advocating that you have to have a $500 dynamic microphone. You
know, every student or every professional needs to have a $500
microphone in front of them.
But there are audio tech and video
tech that's out there right now that is fairly inexpensive and that
will give you that level of quality without having to really kind
of go all in like I've done. And I'm constantly looking at
companies out there that are making new hardware that will make
this easier for people to do.
And I think software will solve a
lot of these problems. And very simple devices will also have
capabilities. I think AI technology and sound kind of software is
growing and developing very quickly right now. And we may see a
point where it's very easy to do this in high-quality because the
software's developed, the microphones and stuff are very
You just kind of clip it to your
collar and it communicates everything. And you just have a little
camera that's mounted on your computer that's high enough quality,
and maybe you get a light or two to just make sure that you're able
to be seen clearly.
That's kind of really all you need
for most people. If they want to be a podcaster or if they want to
be a professional presenter on a video series or something like
that that they want to produce, they may need to think about more
advanced tools that can get them to a higher level of
But most people just need to have
the basics. And I think audio quality is really, I think important
and video quality is important. So, those are the core basics that
I think most people that are working in a career today that have
some sort of online connectivity, they're doing remote work need to
be taking into consideration. And a lot of laptops have very good
options as well.
And there's USB microphones that you
can get now that are very inexpensive that you can just set up
right in front of you and do good quality stuff.
Thank you. If I can just shift gears
just a little bit, I want to talk about - because you're right in
front of me and I feel like I have a very limited time to extract
all the domain expertise from your brain. But just shifting gears
about the future of work, keeping true to the theme of this
podcast, which is future of work, I, a student, I, a faculty
member, I an employer, what are we seeing as newer emerging
occupations in this space?
Are we seeing anything new and
different as far as occupations? Or are we seeing just the same
thing but just magnified just a little bit
I think we are seeing more of a
recognition, like I was saying earlier, the companies are starting
to recognize that value audio production, video production more and
more. And I've seen just an explosion over the last, probably the
last three to four years of professionals in LinkedIn with
podcasting in their job titles. Or in their descriptions of the
things that they do, it can expand the whole
It's like a hobby project or it's a
side thing that they're doing from their regular job or it's
primarily to their business. I know I spent ... I'm a very early
user of LinkedIn. I had a hard time finding people that had any
kind of job orientation towards podcasting to connect with. Because
I was full all in on it. I guess, I was early to the party as they
But now, it's like I have a hard
time not ... I mean it's like everybody has that in their job title
right now. So, I think that that's becoming more and more important
all the time. And I'm not saying that everybody starts a podcast
and they do it for the rest of their career or something like that.
But I do think a lot of people are interested in it and a lot of
people are listening and a lot of people are treating it as a fun
thing to do or a professional development thing.
I wonder too, if you're recognizing
any technology gaps, are there any technical gaps that
entrepreneurs should be really kind of solving any specific
problems? Are any problems in this space that you're just like,
gosh, if we only had this, it would solve this for the
entrepreneurs that are listening?
Like I mentioned a little bit
earlier, I think the devices need to be simpler and smarter and to
make it easier to produce high-quality stuff. And I think that's
happening as the market grows for this type of stuff. I think that
that's something that, I know I keep a close eye on that just
because I want to make it as easy for someone to do this as
I came from a timeframe when I had
to spend $20,000 to build a studio to do my radio show at home. And
so, now, it's like I can accomplish the same thing for like maybe 3
or $400. So, it's come that far and that's where I think it's going
to continue to get less expensive to do this stuff at a
I had a takeaway in this
conversation that it just keeps coming up. It's trust in personal
branding. Those two things kind of tie together, and I feel like
it's inevitable. Regardless of the career choice you make, I think
that this medium and this space is crucial really kind of like to
the trajectory of your career to some degree. To some degree, in
certain areas because it involves character, it involves skillsets,
it involves so many elements of one's personal brand that can only
be demonstrated in this capacity and to keep us competitive in this
And whether you're seasoned
professionals or new professionals coming into any one space,
personal brand is really important. It's kind of what sets you
apart from the competition. That's a huge takeaway for me in this
dialogue, along with many other things, but we forget about that.
We forget that we too have a brand.
You're building a reputation with
others is what you're doing. Really as you think about personal
brand, for me, it's about building relationships and building
trust. If a person understands that you're out there to contribute
and participate and be involved, I think that the online media
world is a terrific place to start that path for
And I think it also has benefits
being able to connect with future employers, being able to connect
with people that are working at other companies. I would definitely
think about thinking less competitively about your relationships
from the standpoint of just because someone works for a competitive
company, it doesn't mean you can't have a friendship with
Because you never know, as you build
your personal brand and build your network, you can become an
influencer. And this is applicable to many kind of job roles out
there or in the work world generally. I mean a lot of people are
going to work for themselves. And I think when you go to work for
yourself and you want to start your own company, I think personal
brand is even more important because your path to success is
fundamentally built on trust.
But employers, trust is everything
out there as well. I think more and more employers are digging
deeper into candidate's backgrounds and what they're doing. So, I
think putting yourself out there in the most professional way you
can, I think is one way to build on that trust.
Thank you. Thank you for sharing
that because I did have a prompt question here, Rob, about a
takeaway and what would be one thing you'd want our listener to
walk away with and understand in this dialogue. And I plugged it in
earlier because it was a takeaway for me.
And you further unpacked that for us
and I appreciate that very much. Trust and relationships and
personal branding and all relative, regardless of the career
choices that we make, we can go even further and say personal
I feel compelled to ask you, is
there just one other thing that you want our listener to understand
about the impact of this dialogue and the impact of the space or
just anything in general.
Yeah, I think this conversation
really gets back to the fundamentals of human interaction. There's
new societal norms out there that you always have to keep in mind
that are happening that are what I would call kind of sensitive
areas around racial and gender relationships in the broader world,
even on a global scale.
And the other thing to keep in mind
too is that anything you do online is global. I think for many ...
and I knew this as a younger person myself, is a lot of what I did
was more local. But once you start getting into this area, what
we're talking about here, you have a global
I just came from Europe and London
and Sweden and stuff, being up on stage and talking to people
outside of the United States. I think more and more, we're global
citizens. Even though maybe our countries are more nationalists now
than ever before, I think more and more we're thinking about
internal aspects of our country, but as citizens, I think the
internet makes us global.
And I think our opportunities for
work can be global as well. I've actually worked four years for a
company that was based in central Europe. I was the only one in the
United States, so my online brand was critical to that
relationship. And so, I think the opportunities are much bigger if
you think outside of the U . S. borders.
Well, this has been such a lovely,
pleasant conversation, Rob. I really appreciate your time. And if
there's a listener who would like to connect with you or any of our
educators or employers that would like to connect with you, what
might be the best way they can do that?
Well, I can be found on Twitter. I
have a Twitter account, @RobGreenlee, and that's with two "Es" at
the end. I do have a website at robgreenlee.com. I do co-host a
weekly podcast called The New Media Show. It's at newmediashow.com,
and it's live on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube every Wednesday at 3:00
PM Eastern, noon Pacific.
And we talk about the podcasting
space and the industry of podcasting. We oftentimes do that show
live on stage at conferences around the country. So, it's all about
creating conversations and learning about what's happening in the
podcast medium. And that's what I do.
And then lastly, you can always send
me an email if you want to send an email to email@example.com
or you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It's up to
Very good, thank you so much. I'll
be sure to include those in the show notes. Thank you again and
we'll connect again soon I'm sure.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having
me on your show.
Thanks, Rob. Thank you. Thank you
Thank you for listening to the
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