The Playground Podcast

The Playground Podcast

By Chris Byrne & Richard Gottlieb
Join Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy® and Richard Gottlieb, president Global Toy Experts on their new podcast
Two industry experts will tackle the topics of the toys, culture, toy history and talk with some of the leading people in the business of toys and children’s entertainment. Designed for anyone interested in toys, play and great stories, each weekly episode will feature engaging, entertaining conversation, useful information, insights, tales of the toys that we’ll never forget and so much more.
As they say, if it concerns toys and play, we’ll be kicking it around in The Playground.
More places to listen

More places to listen

The Inside Story: Content, Entertainment, Kids & More. A Conversation With the Head Writer of Paw Patrol--Part 2
Chris and Ursula Ziegler, head writer of Paw Patrol, continue their conversation about bringing the world of Adventure Bay to to life, what makes a powerful story, the need for bad guys and how children relate to entertainment and, hopefully, take it off the screen in the form of toys. Chris is then joined by writer Andy Guerdat, who writes for Paw Patrol as well as Fancy Nancy and other shows, to talk about reaching kids through entertainment.  If you're considering creating content for your products, you'll want to hear what these two, award-winning children's entertainment veterans have to say. 
17:39
October 15, 2019
The Inside Story: Content, Entertainment, Kids & More. A Conversation With the Head Writer of Paw Patrol--Part 1
Chris sits down with Ursula Ziegler, head writer of the smash hit Paw Patrol. Recorded in June, this episode talks about kids' entertainment, creating powerful content, the role of toys in entertainment and much more. Listen in and hear about what makes content that kids return to...and that drives toy sales. As Paw Patrol's seventh season is in development, hear about what makes this a success as well as important things to consider for anyone who wants to create successful kid-directed content. 
26:45
October 15, 2019
Staying Safe, Avoiding Counterfeits and More for Q4: A Conversation with the Toy Association
Richard and Chris chat with Adrienne Aappell and Rebecca Mond of the Toy Association. They talk about battling aggressive NGO's and their "dangerous toy" lists, the consumer safety site Play Safe (www.playsafe.org), a new white paper on avoiding online knock-offs The Real Threat of Fake Toys, and a bit of fun coming up in the holiday season. 
25:33
October 2, 2019
A Conversation with Charles Albert, CEO Creativity, Inc.
Join Richard and Chris as they talk with Charles Albert of Creativity, Inc. In an expansive discussion, Charlie shares his thoughts on dealing with the dynamic toy industry particularly with regard to the role of his company as a bridge between the digital and the analog worlds of toys. He shares insights on innovation and success stories about adding sounds and technology including what's worked in the past and how to be prepared for the future. 
23:55
September 24, 2019
Tariffs, China & The Dynamics of an Uncertain Market: A Conversation with Jay Foreman CEO of Basic Fun
Chris and Richard sit down with Jay Foreman, industry veteran and CEO of Basic Fun. With more than 30 years of working with China, Jay has a unique perspective on the current trade situation. Listen as he shares his unfiltered, unabashed opinions and insights into the reality of what's going on and its implications for the toy business and the economy.  Jay's bold point of view needs to be heard by everyone not just in the toy industry but who is doing business in China. Jay shares his clear-eyed assessment and straightforward approach to the realities of an industry facing uncertainty and turmoil. 
32:51
September 12, 2019
Industry Check-In: Tariffs, Hong Kong, Entertainment & More
Richard and Chris discuss the current, dynamic state of tariffs, implications of the situation in Hong Kong and entertainment. Is Hasbro's purchase of Entertainment One, besides being a strong, strategic move for Hasbro, a game changer for the the industry? Listen in as they discuss these issues. 
17:36
September 6, 2019
Innovation, Creativity and Transforming Businesses with Jamie Gallagher
Chris and Richard talk with Jamie Gallagher, CEO of Faber-Castell about the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment and how the Four C's (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) can provide a new path forward for toy companies, and many others, in the current economy. Jamie, Richard and Chris discuss the transformative power of creativity at all levels of business. This is the first in our series on innovation. Join us as we discuss creative learning, what quality means and much more. This one's a little longer than our usual episodes, but we hope it will get you thinking about what creativity means and its practical application in any business. 
41:33
August 20, 2019
Live From Sweet Suite, Part 2: More Conversations from the Floor
Richard and Chris talk to Lisa Orman, founder of KidStuff Public Relations about new products and trends in marketing and PR. Then they chat with Jerome Dureau of Namco Bandai about a breakthrough, new learning and creativity software package called Tori that adds collaboration and family engagement to dynamic play. 
14:57
August 5, 2019
Live From Sweet Suite: Conversations with Industry Leaders
Listen in as Chris and Richard go live to the Sweet Suite event and talk to James Zahn, The Rock Father; Ashley Maddy of Basic Fun and Women in Toys; Lisa Wuuenneman from Play Monster, Ryan Birkhardt from Pacific Cycle and Erika Merklinger from Crayola. Find out what's new and hot, and how these executives are responding to trends and the changing toy industry. 
30:42
July 31, 2019
The Changing Entertainment Landscape & What It Means for the Toy Biz
Join us for a conversation about the changing world of movies and children's entertainment and what it might mean for the toy industry. How has streaming changed the game? And what about kids as their own programmers? What new challenges and opportunities does that present to toy manufacturers and everyone in the business. 
24:05
July 18, 2019
Toys "R" Us and the Future of Toy Retailing
Richard and Chris discuss the current state of toy retailing. Is there a need for a national chain? How has the current market changed for manufacturers, consumers, and kids? And what about the planned relaunch of the Toys "R" Us brand? Is it viable? How can it compete in this dynamic market. The hosts explore these ideas and more. 
26:04
July 8, 2019
Living in "What Is" vs. "What If": A Chat with Lenore Skenazy of Let Grow
Chris talks with Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free Range Kids movement, author and blogger at Let Grow. It's about giving kids freedom and not worrying and how kids are, and can be, self-reliant and fearless from an early age.
19:54
June 26, 2019
Britain, Brexit & Baulch: A Conversation with John Baulch, Founder and Managing Editor of Toy World
Richard and Chris talk with John Baulch of Toy World about the state of the UK toy market, implications of Bexit, retailing in the UK, the sate of innovation in the toy business and what may be ahead in the dynamic toy market. 
30:07
June 20, 2019
A Conversation with The Hong Kong Trade Development council
Richard and Chris talk tariffs with Ralph Chow, Regional Director, Americas, Hong Kong Trade Development Council. They talk tariffs, the changing face of the toy supply chains and how Hong Kong is continuing its leadership position in the global toy industry. Plus, a special event coming in September, 2019 seeking to foster greater partnerships between U.S. and Hong Kong companies. Join us!
25:31
June 11, 2019
Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 2
Richard and Chris continue the conversation with Maura Regan, president of Licensing International, talking about the state of the business, the power of character and more on the power of licensing as a profitable business strategy in 2019. Plus, how companies can work with the newly re-branded Licensing International to make the most of their licensing efforts. 
24:57
June 3, 2019
Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 1
Chris and Richard talk with Maura Regan, president of the newly re-branding Licensing International. Listen as they discuss the state of the licensing business in 2019 and insights into the power of licensing to build and expand brands.  
24:32
June 3, 2019
Tariffs: Implications & Predictions. A Conversation with the Toy Association
With the release of List 4, tariffs of up to  25 percent appear increasingly likely on finished goods, as soon as July. Richard and Chris talk to Ed Desmond and Rebecca Mond about the tariff issue and its implications for the toy industry. We talk about what the Toy Association is doing, the current climate in Washington, and how members of the industry can get involved. 
32:17
May 22, 2019
A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 2
Richard and Chris continue their conversation with Robin Raskin from Living in Digital Times. In this episode, they talk about the demise of Anki and its implications for toys and play, STEM in tech, changes in the family dynamics around tech and some best parenting practices around tech and kids. 
24:43
May 15, 2019
A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 1
Richard and Chris sit down with family technology expert Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times. They talk about current technology, CES, and the role of tech in family entertainment and, of course, toys. 
21:26
May 15, 2019
Stem Toys Substantive Learning...Or Marketing Tool?
Richard Gottlieb and Chris Byrne talk about the hot issue of STEM and STEAM in toys and play and their role in development. From the foundational to the curricular, they talk about how all play for kids is learning based and what makes a good STEM/STEAM toys.
21:24
May 8, 2019
Talking About the China Toy Market (and more) From the Guangzhou Toy & Edu Fair
Richard and Chris talk about developments in the domestic Chinese toy market, implications for the broader international toy business, and, of course, some fun stuff. Recorded on the floor of the show in Guangzhou, China. 
20:54
May 1, 2019
Toy Fair & 2019 Trends, Continued
Richard and Chris continue the conversation about Toy Fair and product trends, with a (very) brief conversation about the evolution of the New York Toy Fair. 
20:21
April 26, 2019
2019 Trends & Toy Fair Wrap-Up
Richard and Chris talk about news coming out of the Toy Fairs as the toy year heats up. Plus, a conversation about some of the trends that will be shaping the business in 2019. 
31:30
April 22, 2019
Introduction to The Playground! Come play with us!
Richard Gottlieb and Chris Byrne introduce The Playground Podcast, and you're invited to join us!
07:42
April 22, 2019
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