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Transcript - Episode 72: How Integrating New Media In Education Can Realistically Prepare Our Workforce With Rob Greenlee VP of Podcast Content & Partnerships at Libsyn Episode 72

Jun 21, 2022

00:00:00     Rob

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 companies.


00:00:29     Christina

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 education.


00:00:42     Christina

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 future?


00:00:54     Salvatrice

Hi, I'm Salvatrice Cummo, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Pasadena City College, and host of this podcast.


00:01:02     Christina

And I'm Christina Barsi, producer and co-host of this podcast.


00:01:06     Salvatrice

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.


00:01:20     Salvatrice

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.


00:01:40     Christina

We believe change happens when we work together and it all starts with having a conversation. I'm Christina Barsi.


00:01:47     Salvatrice

And I'm Salvatrice Cummo, and this is the Future of Work.


00:01:51     Salvatrice

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.


00:02:11     Salvatrice

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.


00:02:31     Salvatrice

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.


00:02:49     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 every day, so this is fun for me.


00:03:01     Salvatrice

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.


00:03:17     Salvatrice

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?


00:03:32     Rob

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 relationships.


00:04:03     Rob

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 the 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.


00:04:28     Rob

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 like 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 into this.


00:04:55     Salvatrice

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 platforms?


00:05:18     Rob

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 today.


00:05:47     Rob

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.


00:06:10     Rob

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.


00:06:26     Rob

So, I think about kind of the cutting edge trends. I think and 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 independent voices and I think to some degree, that's happening around podcasting too.


00:06:49     Rob

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.


00:07:15     Rob

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 both.


00:07:36     Rob

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 lives.


00:07:57     Salvatrice

Yeah. You've mentioned corporate medium 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.


00:08:22     Salvatrice

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.


00:08:41     Salvatrice

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, 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 doing. Are they reexamining their approaches because that's going to inform us on how we build up for these potential occupations.


00:09:12     Rob

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.


00:09:33     Rob

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.


00:10:05     Rob

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.


00:10:30     Rob

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 skills.


00:10:50     Rob

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.


00:11:25     Rob

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.


00:11:46     Rob

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 relatively new.


00:12:16     Rob

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 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 years, because we were all locked home.


00:12:43     Salvatrice

Right. The skillset of presentation is, to your point, transferable 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.


00:13:09     Salvatrice

Is there any other skillsets that you're saying Salvatrice, like yes, communication's important. Yes, presentation's important. But are there any other perhaps technical skillsets or soft skills that we need to be paying more attention to?


00:13:21     Rob

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 video. You know, I got studio lights in here, I got a higher quality camera. You know, I have audio gear, you can see I have a professional microphone.


00:13:45     Rob

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 curve. 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.


00:14:05     Rob

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.


00:14:25     Rob

I like 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.


00:14:47     Salvatrice

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.


00:15:13     Salvatrice

And I just had an aha moment. Like I just self-corrected, Rob. So, like thank you. I just like, wait a minute, like you're not even doing it Salvatrice. 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, the etc, all that good stuff and interviewing questions and doing that kind of prep work.


00:15:37     Salvatrice

But we're not sharing how to present oneself in front of a camera and all ... 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 like, gosh, Salvatrice, like get it together. Like why isn't your team doing that and helping better students. So, thank you, I appreciate that.


00:16:02     Salvatrice

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.


00:16:27     Salvatrice

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 of experiences, media of ... 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 space?


00:17:00     Rob

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 position themselves. 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 or how you set up your lights.


00:17:32     Rob

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.


00:18:11     Rob

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.


00:18:35     Rob

And we may see a point where it's very easy to do this in high quality because the softwares developed, the microphones and stuff are very convenient. 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.


00:18:58     Rob

And that's kind of really all you need for most people. It's just, 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 quality, but most people just need to have the basics.


00:19:16     Rob

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 that 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.


00:19:46     Salvatrice

Yeah, 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 different?


00:20:22     Rob

Yeah, I think we are seeing more of a recognition. Like I was saying earlier, the companies are starting to recognize and 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.


00:20:45     Rob

It can span the whole spectrum. 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 say.


00:21:09     Rob

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.


00:21:34     Salvatrice

I wonder too, if you recognize any technology gaps, are there any technical gaps that entrepreneurs should be really kind of solving any specific problems? Are there 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?


00:21:50     Rob

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 possible.


00:22:09     Rob

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 three 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 high-quality level.


00:22:29     Salvatrice

I had a takeaway in this conversation that just keeps coming up; it's trust and 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.


00:22:50     Salvatrice

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 market space. 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.


00:23:15     Salvatrice

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.


00:23:24     Rob

Right. 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 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 companies.


00:23:54     Rob

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 them. So, 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.


00:24:18     Rob

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 candidates' 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.


00:24:48     Salvatrice

Yeah. 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 choices.


00:25:15     Salvatrice

Is there any other one thing - 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?


00:25:26     Rob

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.


00:25:49     Rob

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 perspective. 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 were 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.


00:26:20     Rob

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


00:26:46     Salvatrice

Very true. 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?


00:27:00     Rob

Well, I can be found on Twitter. I have a Twitter account @RobGreenlee and that's with two Es on the end. I do have a website at I do co-host a weekly podcast called The New Media Show. It's at 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.


00:27:28     Rob

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, or you can send it to It's up to you.


00:27:52     Salvatrice

Very good. Thank you so much. We'll be sure to include those in the show notes. Thank you again. And we'll connect again soon, I'm sure.


00:27:59     Rob

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on your show.


00:28:02     Salvatrice

Thank you very much.


00:28:05     Salvatrice

Thank you for listening to the Future of Work Podcast. Make sure you're subscribed on your favorite listening platform so you can easily get new episodes every Tuesday.


00:28:14     Salvatrice

You can reach out to us by clicking on the website link below in the show notes to collaborate, partner, or just chat about all things future of work. We'd love to connect with you.


00:28:14     Salvatrice

All of us here at the Future of Work and Pasadena City College wish you safety and wellness.