Cover art for podcast The Playground Podcast

The Playground Podcast

42 EpisodesProduced by Chris Byrne & Richard GottliebWebsite

Join Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy® and Richard Gottlieb, president Global Toy Experts on their new podcastTwo 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 inter… read more

42 Episodes | 2019 - 2020

Coronavirus Toy Industry Update with Steve Pasierb, CEO of The Toy Association (20 minutes)

April 1st, 2020


Richard and Chris talk with Steve Pasierb about the current impact of the Coronavirus on the toy industry. The conversation includes information on how the Association is supporting its members, news, perspective, and …

Current Toy Issues: Coronavirus, Plastics and Predictions

March 30th, 2020


Richard and Chris talk about current topics in the toy industry, including: The impacts of the Coronavirus on the industry, changing retail, sustainability, and the expansion of LEGO in China. What's happening now...and …

Arnie Rubin: A Look Back, A Look at Current Issues & His Secret of Long-Term Success

March 21st, 2020


Chris and Richard talk with Arnie Rubin. Rubin was a co-founder of Imperial Toy Company, and later went on to found Funrise. He's a 2012 inductee into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, and one of the most loved and …

Transmedia Storytelling: What You Need to Know for IP & Licensing

March 3rd, 2020


Richard and Chris sit down with Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner, and Danny Simon, founder of the Licensing Group, Ltd. Listen in to an insightful …

Toy Fair New York 2020: Past, Present and Predictions

February 20th, 2020


Richard and Chris share stories about past Toy Fairs, trends that will be affecting the business in the year ahead, and a look at the TOTY awards and much more. Start your Toy Fair adventure here!

A Groundbreaking New Platform for Inventory Management:'s Matt Hansen

February 18th, 2020


Richard and Chris talk with Matt Hansen, client engagement manager for the start-up This data-driven platform helps toy companies manage inventory, track sales and forecast demand and supply down to the …

Nuremberg 2020: Wrap-Up Trends and Conversations with Hog Wild and Lottie Dolls at Spielwarenmesse

February 12th, 2020


Chris provides some perspective on the emerging trends at Spielwarenmesse. Plus conversations with Ian Harkin of Lottie Dolls and Josh Loerzel of Hog …

Nuremberg 2020 Day 3: Overall Trends, German Market Insights And How Exhibitors Can Maximize the Show

February 2nd, 2020


Richard and Chris discuss the trends emerging at the Spielwarenmesse. A chat with Jerry Kallman provides insight for would-be exhibitors, Lisa …

Nuremberg 2020 Day 2: The Value of Toy Fairs, One Company's Sustainable Structure, and Timeless Dolls

January 31st, 2020


Chris and Richard talk the present and long-term value of international toy fairs with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse, sustainability with Alain Derauw of Plan Toy and the challenges and opportunities of launching a …

Nuremberg 2020: An Interview with Mark Foster of Playmobil, Strategy, Expansion & More

January 30th, 2020


Live from the Playmobil booth at the Nuremberg 2020 Toy Fair, Richard and Chris sit down with Mark Foster, general manager of the U.S. and U.K. for Playmobil. Mark talks about current strategies, the company's …

Toy Fair New York: What to Expect, What's New...And What's Ahead

January 23rd, 2020


Richard and Chris sit down with Marian Bossard, EVP Global Market Events for the Toy Association to talk all things Toy Fair. From innovative …

The Decade in Review-Part 2: The Trends

January 13th, 2020


Richard and Chris finish the first season of The Playground Podcast with a look at the trends that shaped the decade and their implications for the industry as we move into the 20's. From the changes in demography to …

The Decade in Review-Part 1: The Toys

January 6th, 2020


Richard and Chris talk about the toys that shaped the decade from Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, to Monster High, to the revolution in play ignited by the iPad, …

Year-End Conversation with Steve Pasierb Part Two

December 27th, 2019


In the second part of their conversation with Toy Association President and CEO Steve Pasierb, Chris, Richard, and Steve discuss the ongoing importance of a Los Angeles presence for toy companies, the need for, and …

Year-End Conversation with Steve Pasierb-Part One

December 27th, 2019


In the first of a two-part conversation, Chris and Richard sit down with President and CEO of the Toy Association, Steve Pasierb. Listen in as they discuss tariffs, counterfeits and the ongoing work of the association …

FAO's David Nigli Talks about The Iconic Store and Brand--The Original Experiential Marketer

December 17th, 2019


Richard and Chris talk with David Nigli about the return of FAO Schwarz and its role as an iconic American brand. From its founding in 1862 to today, …

A Conversation with Keith Meggs of Far Out Toys

November 25th, 2019


Richard and Chris talk with Keith Meggs of Far Out Toys about building a company from the ground up, the importance of a solid business model, the …

Barbie, YouTube, Dallas and More: Current Toy Industry Issues

October 30th, 2019


Listen as Richard and Chris engage in a wide-ranging conversation talking about current issues in the toy industry. They'll discuss the state of Barbie and what's behind her resurgence, marketing, what the changes at …

The Inside Story: Content, Entertainment, Kids & More. A Conversation With the Head Writer of Paw Patrol--Part 2

October 15th, 2019


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 …

The Inside Story: Content, Entertainment, Kids & More. A Conversation With the Head Writer of Paw Patrol--Part 1

October 15th, 2019


Chris sits down with Ursula Ziegler, head writer of the smash hit Paw Patrol. Recorded in June, this episode talks about kids' entertainment, …

Staying Safe, Avoiding Counterfeits and More for Q4: A Conversation with the Toy Association

October 2nd, 2019


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 (, a …

A Conversation with Charles Albert, CEO Creativity, Inc.

September 24th, 2019


Join Richard and Chris as they talk with Charles Albert of Creativity, Inc. In an expansive discussion, Charlie shares his thoughts on dealing with …

Tariffs, China & The Dynamics of an Uncertain Market: A Conversation with Jay Foreman CEO of Basic Fun

September 12th, 2019


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 …

Industry Check-In: Tariffs, Hong Kong, Entertainment & More

September 6th, 2019


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 …

Innovation, Creativity and Transforming Businesses with Jamie Gallagher

August 20th, 2019


Chris and Richard talk with Jamie Gallagher, CEO of Faber-Castell about the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment and how the …

Live From Sweet Suite, Part 2: More Conversations from the Floor

August 5th, 2019


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 …

Live From Sweet Suite: Conversations with Industry Leaders

July 31st, 2019


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 …

The Changing Entertainment Landscape & What It Means for the Toy Biz

July 18th, 2019


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? …

Toys "R" Us and the Future of Toy Retailing

July 8th, 2019


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 …

Living in "What Is" vs. "What If": A Chat with Lenore Skenazy of Let Grow

June 26th, 2019


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 …

Britain, Brexit & Baulch: A Conversation with John Baulch, Founder and Managing Editor of Toy World

June 20th, 2019


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 …

A Conversation with The Hong Kong Trade Development council

June 11th, 2019


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 …

Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 2

June 3rd, 2019


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 …

Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 1

June 3rd, 2019


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 …

Tariffs: Implications & Predictions. A Conversation with the Toy Association

May 22nd, 2019


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 …

A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 2

May 15th, 2019


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 …

A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 1

May 15th, 2019


Richard and Chris sit down with family technology expert Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times. They talk about current …

Stem Toys Substantive Learning...Or Marketing Tool?

May 8th, 2019


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 …

Talking About the China Toy Market (and more) From the Guangzhou Toy & Edu Fair

May 1st, 2019


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, …

Toy Fair & 2019 Trends, Continued

April 26th, 2019


Richard and Chris continue the conversation about Toy Fair and product trends, with a (very) brief conversation about the evolution of the New York …

2019 Trends & Toy Fair Wrap-Up

April 22nd, 2019


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. 

Introduction to The Playground! Come play with us!

April 22nd, 2019


Richard Gottlieb and Chris Byrne introduce The Playground Podcast, and you're invited to join us!

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