Hivio(hi·vee·oh) n.#Hivio

The first-ever audio future festival. New and transformational ideas in the audio entertainment and information industry.

Imagining the future of radio, online radio, audio branding, podcasting, and audio advertising.

Mark Ramsey and Jaime Solis gather a ‘hive’ of smart people to see, discuss, and think about new ideas in audio on-demand, radio, content, social, mobile, and technology that transform the audio entertainment and information space.

Presentations, in-depth Q&A, and presentations with media, agency, brand, technology, and content authorities who are not the same old faces.

Watch these highlights from 2016:

hivio 2016 is over. But stay tuned for details on our next big event. For more information and to stay in the loop on updates, visit hivio.

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hivio 2016 – Glenn McQuaid and “Tales from Beyond the Pale”


The power of audio is more than just music or even “spoken word.”

With his partner Larry Fessenden, Glenn McQuaid is the co-creator of the extraordinary contemporary audio drama series “Tales from Beyond the Pale,” featuring voices you’ll recognize from artists like Vincent D’Onofrio, Sean Young, and the late, great horror legend Angus Scrimm.

In addition to writing and directing many episodes of Tales, Glenn is also well known for his feature film work – he was writer/director of the period horror/comedy I Sell The Dead, starring Larry Fessenden, Dominic Monaghan, and Ron Perlman. And he has written, directed, and provided visual effects on many other films.

Here is the video opening to Season 3 of Tales from Beyond the Pale:

This is not a free podcast. It’s something much bigger. Here are some of the questions we discussed in this Q&A from hivio 2016:

  • You come from a filmmaker’s perspective – the visual art. Why audio? What is it that makes audio so powerful and compelling for you?
  • Why did you create Tales from Beyond the Pale?
  • Sound design is a major emphasis in Tales. Your partner Larry Fessenden was recently quoted as saying “I often fantasize about stripping away more and more of the dialogue and leaving the audience to navigate through pure sound”? Can you talk about that?
  • Audio stories are less expensive to produce than video stories, but is it also more difficult to focus audience attention on them?
  • You decided not to give away Tales as a free podcast. Why?
  • What are your hopes and plans for monetization now that Tales is approaching Season 4? (e.g., syndication, live performance, etc.)
  • Are you open to partnering with Public Radio, podcast platforms, and broadcasters?

Click here for the Q&A:

This is the final video from hivio 2016. Thanks to all who attended and to all who have viewed these videos online.


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hivio 2016 – Jesse Thorn on Leveraging Podcasting and Radio


What can the audio space – radio, online radio, and podcasters, learn from Jesse Thorn?

Jesse is the host and producer of some very popular radio shows and podcasts, Bullseye and Jordan, Jesse, Go!, and the co-host and producer of Judge John Hodgman and the proprietor of

He founded the show that became Bullseye way back in 2000. In 2007, the show began to be distributed by Public Radio International, making Jesse the youngest national host in public radio history. Since 2013 Bullseye has been distributed by NPR and currently airs on more than seventy public radio stations around the country.

As owner of, Jesse oversees a network of more than twenty podcasts, along with video and other content production. The company helped set the template for the modern podcast network, and continues to be a leader in independent, audience-supported media production.

Here are the questions we covered:

  • Is it true that you are the person who got Marc Maron started in podcasting?
  • Describe your network of podcasts and shows? Why multiple shows? How do you stay focused?
  • What is MaxFunCon, and how did that happen?
  • What is the relative importance of these elements in your business model: radio, podcasting, merchandise, live events, MaxFunCon, donation?
  • How important is being on the radio to fueling your audience overall?
  • Where do your ideas come from? How do you execute them?
  • What advice would you give to people in the podcast space who want to be the next Jesse Thorn?

Please watch this video and share it with your peers.

Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: How Radio Can Make a Real Difference in Local Communities


During this week of Thanksgiving (and in the spirit of giving thanks), I wanted to share with you one of the most important conversations from the 2016 hivio audio future festival.

If you’re a radio broadcaster, this will change the way you view contesting forever.

Ryan Cummins is the Co-Founder/Co-CEO of Omaze, a cause marketplace that raises money and awareness for charity by offering the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Many of my clients know I’m a huge fan of what Omaze is doing, both in terms of its contributions to society and the elegance of its platform.

In just two years Omaze has disrupted traditional models of fundraising and raised millions for charity through campaigns ranging from the chance to appear in Star Wars: Episode VII, to riding in a tank and “blowing s**t up” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, to my favorite experience ever – the chance to fly to LA and raise a glass with George Clooney, whereupon he will compliment you for 45 seconds straight.

So what makes this different from any other “once-in-a-lifetime” prize contest?

Well, for one thing, every entrant is a winner. That’s because every donation goes to support a good cause.

Second, the platform applies Kickstarter-style mechanics, so you are rewarded with something progressively more desirable at each gift level. And note that in some cases “desirable” does not mean “expensive to produce.”

And third, Omaze is dreaming big – far bigger than the average radio station with its “we pay your bills” promotion. And in this world packed densely with media messages, the big dreams stand out a lot more than the promise to pay the rent.

Here are a few of the questions we tackled:

  • What is Omaze? How does Omaze work?
  • Why did you create Omaze?
  • Why is it better than a straight contest? How important is the good cause to the success of the “contest”?
  • How is this not an illegal lottery?
  • What have you learned about participation in this? How does the combination Kickstarter / charity connection impact participation?

Ryan wraps up our time with a call to all radio broadcasters to make a real difference in the world. It’s a hugely inspiring session and the only one of the conference that led to sustained and spontaneous applause.

Please watch this video and share it with your peers.

And have a happy Thanksgiving.

Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: How to Transform Personalities into Digital Brands


Every high profile brand and personality must now think of themselves as digital brands, but how?

Chris Balfe has the answer.

He’s a Partner at Red Seat Ventures. Red Seat partners with high profile individuals and brands to build unique digital businesses. Initial clients include Premiere Networks and motion picture producer Blumhouse. Prior to founding Red Seat, Balfe was President & COO of Mercury Radio Arts as well as CEO of TheBlaze. TheBlaze pioneered a brand new direct-to-consumer subscription model, while became one of the top 100 website in the world.

Here are some of the questions we covered together:

  • What does Red Seat Ventures do? And why does that matter?
  • Who should be working with you, and what will you do for them?
  • Suppose Howard Stern approached your company. What would you do for a show like that?
  • Who are you looking for to work with?
  • What do people in the audio space need to understand about the transition to digital?

This is essential viewing in an age when every personality on every platform must be digital, too.

Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: How Radio Can Do Social Media Right


How can radio and other media brands do social media right?

Why not ask the expert whose clients include NBC Universal, News Corp, and several OTT video players?

Todd Beck is CEO & Founder of Beck Media & Marketing, the agency dozens of TV, OTT, and Tech companies look to for potent digital strategies that get results. Beck Media’s areas of focus span content creation and exploitation on TV, web, mobile, and social media, and whatever medium comes next.

Todd was one of the featured Q&A’s at this year’s hivio audio future festival in LA.

Here are just some of the questions we covered:

  • Social Media Activation is HUGELY important in the entertainment industry. What are the secrets? How do they and you do it?
  • How do you drive Audience Development?
  • You say we need to identify what we want the audience to believe and implant that belief…How?
  • How important is identifying exactly what we want the audience to DO?
  • How do you rise above the noise?

Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: Panoply and the Business of Podcasting


Andy Bowers is the Chief Content Officer of Panoply, a leading podcast network and an innovator in the space.

In this Q&A from hivio 2016, the audio future festival, I talk with Andy about Panoply’s business model, how the company works with advertisers and brands, and the future of podcasting as a business.

Among the questions Andy addresses:

  • Describe Panoply
  • For advertisers, Panoply is more about impact than scale. How is that distinction important and how does it work for you?
  • How do you work with brands?
  • Most of the advertising on Panoply is direct response. This is a small portion of the ad dollar. When will this evolve? How will it evolve?
  • What data do you need to boost the business of podcasting?
  • Client-branded podcasts – The Message / GE, companion podcasts for HBO / Netflix. How did these come about?
  • Describe the business model for Panoply? How do you make money?
  • How do you measure success for Panoply and your clients?
  • What is a “Panoply show?” How does a show become a Panoply show?
  • What’s your aspiration? How large?
  • What are the challenges in a podcasting network?

If you’re in the audio space then you have to grapple with monetizing on-demand content. See what you can learn from Andy. Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: What’s the Future of ESPN Audio?


If ever there was a brand built on proprietary content, that brand is ESPN. Across all platforms, ESPN Audio offers more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching nearly 24 million listeners per week on more than 450 stations.

Traug Keller is ESPN’s Senior Vice President, Production, Business Divisions, and he leads three business units at the company: ESPN Audio, ESPN Local and the ESPN Talent Office. For ESPN Audio, Traug oversees all aspects of the business including talent, staffing, national programming content, scheduling, and event production.

Traug was one of the amazing speakers at hivio 2016. And in our conversation we covered a lot of ground about ESPN’s audio strategy and the future of Sports radio generally. The questions included these:

  • You have said “there’s never been a better time to be the in audio business.” Why?
  • In the wake of talent churn, what is ESPN’s strategy on talent retention/acquisition? Fewer superstars? More mid-rank talent that might be easier to control?
  • How many podcast/on-demand audio downloads every month? Is ESPN monetizing that content, and if so, how?
  • What has to change for on-demand/podcasting to unlock significantly more ad dollars?
  • As the world of radio becomes increasingly hyper local, what role does a national network play?
  • With sports broadcast VIDEO distribution at an all-time high on numerous platforms (ESPN, regional sports networks, league apps, etc.), should we expect AUDIO numbers to decrease for LIVE sports broadcasts? Are you seeing that? Are radio/audio rights LESS valuable even as video rights get MORE expensive?
  • With ESPN streaming and their content available on Sirius and other Internet platforms it decreases the value of exclusive content for affiliates – in fact, it CEASES to be exclusive. This is the same problem faced by NPR. What’s your take on that? Why shouldn’t affiliates be up in arms?
  • What is the CULTURE of ESPN?
  • What’s the future of ESPN audio, now that you’re folding the ESPN radio app into the broader ESPN app? What’s ahead for Sports Radio in general, in your view?

If you’re in Sports Radio or a fan of the category – or if you want to see what real leadership looks and sounds like – then you’ll enjoy this conversation. Click here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: How to Get Your Fans to Share Your Digital Audio


Recently I was working on a project for a cable TV network involving digital content. They had only one rule: No audio, no way, no how.

Why? Mostly because of their belief that of all the digital content elements they could present – text, images, video – the one that is least likely to be shared is audio. And the less the content is shared, the less impact it will have, and the less tune-in potential to their TV content they will see. In TV, as in radio, it’s all about ratings.

This is a problem familiar to anyone in the audio space: How to make audio easy to share and discover?

Clammr is a tool that solves that problem. The platform is integrated into leading podcast and audio players and reaches 25 million unique users monthly with the ability to share audio soundbites to social media and mash them up with GIFs.

David Silverman is the company’s co-founder, and in this presentation, David provides an overview of Clammr and a primer on why sharing is so important and some critical sharing best-practices. It’s from hivio 2016.

If you’re in the audio space, this presentation is must-see viewing.

Watch it here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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hivio 2016: “What the F**k Happened to Radio?”


Howard Lapides is a veteran of radio.

As CEO of Lapides Entertainment, Howard is now managing writer/producers, talk show hosts, authors, comedians, and actors, as well as executive producing a variety of shows, like VH-1’s highly successful “Celebrity Rehab” franchise, Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” and “LoveLine” on MTV.

Among Howard’s first words to the audience: “Radio as you learned it is gone, but radio is not gone.”

Howard is a keen observer of the radio space and a fan of the medium, but an even bigger fan of the content carried by that medium.

“Make a noise,” Howard advised us. Great advice.

Are you?

Some of the questions we cover:

  • Talk about some of the talent you’ve worked with who have at least part of their identity in the audio space?
  • How does a talent grow from audio into other platforms? Why is that even important?
  • Thanks to the low bar required to podcast, everybody thinks they’re a radio talent. Are they?
  • What do you look for in the talent you partner with? What are the talent must-do’s – must-not-do’s?
  • How do you advise talent?
  • What are media companies looking for from talent?

I really think you’re going to enjoy this conversation with Howard. Watch it here:

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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This Will Revolutionize Radio Ad Sales


If you’re trying to grow radio ad revenue (or ad revenue from any audio or video platform), you should watch this presentation from Veritone Media’s Ryan Steelberg.  It will change forever your sense of what you can sell and how you can sell it. Ryan was one of the speakers at hivio 2016.

And if you’re trying to spread your content across platforms (and who isn’t?), this video is for you, too.

Veritone Media’s big data solution ingests and indexes all of your content, and that means everything on any topic on your audio platform can be analyzed, searched on-demand, and turned into actionable data which can be monetized directly by your sellers.

It’s native advertising on steroids.

And beyond that, Veritone has some amazing tech which enables search, discovery, and amplification of your content across many platforms. Impressive stuff when you’re trying to spread your content around easily and effectively, and it beats any other solution I’ve seen.

Watch this Q&A.

More about the Veritone platform here.

This is another of many videos I’ll be sharing from hivio 2016.

You’ll find them first here in this blog.


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