The Playground Podcast

The Playground Podcast
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.

Staying Safe, Avoiding Counterfeits and More for Q4: A Conversation with the Toy Association
Oct 2 • 25 min
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 new white paper on avoiding online…
A Conversation with Charles Albert, CEO Creativity, Inc.
Sep 24 • 23 min
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…
Tariffs, China & The Dynamics of an Uncertain Market: A Conversation with Jay Foreman CEO of Basic Fun
Sep 12 • 32 min
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…
Industry Check-In: Tariffs, Hong Kong, Entertainment & More
Sep 6 • 17 min
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…
Innovation, Creativity and Transforming Businesses with Jamie Gallagher
Aug 20 • 41 min
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…
Live From Sweet Suite, Part 2: More Conversations from the Floor
Aug 5 • 14 min
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…
Live From Sweet Suite: Conversations with Industry Leaders
Jul 31 • 30 min
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.…
The Changing Entertainment Landscape & What It Means for the Toy Biz
Jul 18 • 24 min
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…
Toys “R” Us and the Future of Toy Retailing
Jul 8 • 26 min
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…
Living in “What Is” vs. “What If”: A Chat with Lenore Skenazy of Let Grow
Jun 26 • 19 min
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.
Britain, Brexit & Baulch: A Conversation with John Baulch, Founder and Managing Editor of Toy World
Jun 20 • 30 min
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.
A Conversation with The Hong Kong Trade Development council
Jun 11 • 25 min
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…
Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 2
Jun 3 • 24 min
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…
Licensing in 2019: A Conversation with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Part 1
Jun 3 • 24 min
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.
Tariffs: Implications & Predictions. A Conversation with the Toy Association
May 22 • 32 min
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…
A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 2
May 15 • 24 min
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…
A Conversation with Tech Expert Robin Raskin - Part 1
May 15 • 21 min
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.
Stem Toys Substantive Learning…Or Marketing Tool?
May 8 • 21 min
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…
Talking About the China Toy Market (and more) From the Guangzhou Toy & Edu Fair
May 1 • 20 min
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.
Toy Fair & 2019 Trends, Continued
Apr 26 • 20 min
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.
2019 Trends & Toy Fair Wrap-Up
Apr 22 • 31 min
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!
Apr 22 • 7 min
Richard Gottlieb and Chris Byrne introduce The Playground Podcast, and you’re invited to join us!