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  • Writer's pictureAidan G

Allan Grego: Branded Podcasts Work

Updated: May 14

How do you go from being a corporate trainer to being the voice of the whole company? You do what Allan Grego did.

Allan is the host of Yes, We Are Open!, the flagship branded podcast of payment-processing giant Moneris. But he wasn't always an audio guy: as mentioned above, Allan spent most of his career as a corporate trainer and avid podcast listener. He shares how his love of podcasts slowly transitioned into a desire to make one of his own, and how he convinced Moneris to give him the mic for their branded podcast.

Allan also talks about the shows that inspired him in the first place, and how they helped him develop his skills from amateur to exceptional. He explains the specific demands and challenges of running a branded podcast, and more importantly, the massive amount of positive impact it's had on the company and the community. We get into a bit of tech talk as well, discussing Allan's favourite piece of kit for recording in all the varied locations Yes, We Are Open! takes him to. (Hint: it fits in your pocket, but it's not a phone.)

You can sample their latest episode below:

To hear the rest of their episodes, check out Yes, We Are Open! on Moneris' website, or wherever you get your podcasts.



Tara Sands (Voiceover)  00:02

The sound off podcast. The show about, podcast and broadcast, starts now.

Matt Cundill  00:13

This week, Allan Grego is on the show. It's a name you've likely not heard of before, unless you've caught one of his two appearances on the Toronto, my podcast. Or if you listen to his podcast called, Yes, We Are Open. It's a branded podcast from Moneris. And I know what you're saying now, what is Moneris?

Allan Grego  00:30

So Moneris is Canada's largest payment processor, we process credit card and debit card payments, if you use a card to pay for something at a restaurant or store, there's a really good chance it's a Moneris machine. We also you know, have online ecommerce tools and stuff. But we're the largest. And we're a company that's parented by two Canadian banks Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. And we've been doing it for 20 plus years now.

Matt Cundill  00:58

In short, Allan's full time job at Moneris is this podcast and all the marketing elements that go around it, plus a few other things that you know, it's also an award winning podcast. That's why we're talking to him today. And now, Allan Grego joins me from Toronto, Ontario. I would like to work backwards with you. Because I think it's interesting to know what you do and to see what you do. But how did you get here? I can see you're a communications person, a marketing person. You've worked in some interesting fields. You primarily though come out come out of marketing, right?

Allan Grego  01:34

Corporate training, I spent 20 years doing corporate training, marketing is actually relatively new. I switched careers. When I was 46. Because I was getting burnt out from the corporate training. I was building, you know, online learning CBTs all that stuff. That's what I learned in school. But the podcasting came out of interest. I started I was listening, you know, I listened to Toronto, Mike and from his beginnings, and I was just a big consumer of podcasts right back from you know, when when they were first being called podcasts, listening to Adam Carolla and smodcast. And this American life, and I think the first first one I listened to, that really got me hooked was something called the Lost podcast with Jay and Dan. And it was basically just a podcast about the TV show Lost, which at the time was a huge craze. And you know, if you were a fan of the show, you were always looking for more content. And that's how I found it. And that's kind of the impetus for the Letterkenny podcasts I do now. And it set the framework for that. That was the interest that sparked it. And then when I started working on Moneris, in 2015, I was still doing training, but I was also looking at ways to incorporate podcasting into the training that I was doing. And one of the ways that I found that worked really well was, you know, when you're in a corporate environment, you do those yearly surveys, those yearly employee surveys, they say, Hey, do you feel like right from on a scale from one to 10, that you have you feel like you have opportunity for growth and development in this company? And often that question, they're out of all of them. That's one of the lower rated along with the compensation question, which is always the lowest rated that one, there's kind of low. Yeah, we don't feel like we have a lot of development opportunities. And being from HR and being, you know, on that team, we're always pulling our hair going, we have so many opportunities that no one's ever heard of before. So I started doing a biweekly podcast called The Moneris Minute there that all it was, was just talking about, hey, this is what we're doing. And these are the opportunities that are available to you if you want to take it. And it went, like people loved it. I was writing the script, I was making it not corporate speak. It was irreverent. It was funny. at my own expense. I just kind of made it a little goofy, but it was also internal. So no one like there was no worry about being inappropriate. And well, I mean, there was always worried about it being appropriate. But you know what I mean, in terms of reputational risk, so people loved it, and they listened to it. And that got the right attention. And then our chief sales and marketing officer said, Hey, we're looking at doing podcasts for Moneris external podcasts. And we were wondering if you'd be interested. And that's how I started doing that full time. So I switched careers a couple of years ago.

Matt Cundill  04:13

I mean, you were an elearning specialist. At one point, I think we were talking about, you know Wood Gundy? I've had a few friends who've gone through that. And you know, they're, they're doing financial stuff, but here, that's your audience. And you want to be entertaining because you got to sell this stuff. But I read a lot of elearning as voiceover person, and it really pays to be dull. But for you, you've got to get some really thick points across to a corporate audience. How can you do that and have fun at the same time?

Allan Grego  04:39

You can't not Wood Gundy. Anyway, now when your audience is a bunch of investment investment advisors, but I felt Moneris gate was a bit of a breath of fresh air culture wise, even though it is still kind of a financial company. It's more of a fin tech company, however, you're on the tech side. And I found the culture there was a little more welcoming to that kind of stuff. Yeah, I wouldn't have been able to do anything like that at Wood Gundy.

Matt Cundill  04:59

So what was the moment when you thought, Oh, I'm listening to all these podcasts? How can I get this into my workplace?

Allan Grego  05:07

It was early on again, I was given a lot of creative leeway with the work that I was doing, because it's like almost a 20 year veteran, and they brought me in because of some of the creative ideas that they implemented prior. So, you know, one of the nice things Moneris, that they have that whole fail fast kind of mentality was I will try anything. And if it fails, quickly pivot, but if it works great. And so I was always encouraged to try new things. And some of them stuck. Some of them didn't, the podcasting absolutely stuck. And I was able to convince them to take one of our classrooms and turn it into a studio to do full time media production out of because I was doing video production and podcasting. And I needed a permanent room for it. And so they saw the value in what I was doing. So that's what we did.

Matt Cundill  05:55

Have you ever considered or maybe you already do this? And that's an internal podcast for a company?

Allan Grego  06:00

Well, yeah, I mean, they did it for Moneris. And at the same time, when I was doing it, I was looking at all these other podcasts. I was listening to going, Man, I wish, I wish other people outside, my company could hear all this great stuff I'm doing. So again, I didn't manifest it like it happened. I put myself in the position where when the opportunity was there, I was able to grab it. But um, yeah, I didn't push for it. It was actually our Chief Sales and Marketing Officer who just out of the blue, asked me what I thought about doing mineros podcasts. And I said, Yeah, that sounds great. And at the time, I thought he was asking me because he wanted me to refer him to maybe Toronto, Mike, or somebody I knew, like in the field. I didn't, I had no idea that he was looking at me for the position.

Matt Cundill  06:41

 You look at the impact of Toronto, Mike. And I know you've appeared on that show a few times. He's a gateway podcast drug for many people.

Allan Grego  06:50

Absolutely, I mean, he's been documenting Toronto media history. We're both around the same age. We're friends. I mean, I'm a fan of his podcast, because we're from the same era. So the stuff he talks about the people he interviews are right down my alley, I listen to all the same people on the Fan 590, which is the Toronto sports radio, watch Much Music at around the same time, so I know all the V J's he's interviewed. And what I loved about it is first of all, he's company agnostic. So he's not from Bell, he's not from Rogers. He's his own guy, fiercely independent. So he doesn't kowtow to whatever. And he actually doesn't like going through publicists. He tries to get his interviewees subjects directly. But he's documenting the history of the city of the media landscape of that city, which I love. And I've been feasting off of it since he started.

Matt Cundill  07:41

So he has credit for getting you launched into the podcast world on a technical side. I think I've mentioned it a few times, or at least humble and Howard have that, you know, when they didn't have anywhere to go to do radio, because people stopped investing in that sort of thing. I guess that their radio level that you know, Toronto, Mike, here's the equipment. Here's the stuff we'll get you launched. I think now Mike is producing their show on a on a on a full time basis.

Allan Grego  07:41

Yeah, I mean, it's again, I've followed that journey from the beginning. Like we were both bloggers reading each other's blogs. And I remember him saying, Hey, I just interviewed humble and Fred, who are heroes of mine from listening to CFNY, you know, back in the day, and he's Oh, hey, humble and Fred want to do this thing called a podcast, like a Christmas podcast. So they did that a couple of times. And then finally, when they not that they were cancelled from radio, but when they weren't being hired anymore, they decided to go on their own. And yes, Mike helped them set all of that up. And it's funny that now he's come full circle to become their producer.

Matt Cundill  08:46

I think the kind way to put it is radio ran out of money to properly compensate humble and Fred.

Allan Grego  08:52

Probably Yeah, I mean, and I'm a huge radio fan, as a listener, obviously. But we know, like, those personalities are few and far between on radio anymore, and actually don't seem welcome anymore on radio. It's just too bad. Because, you know, we're missing that. And that's one of the reasons I think that people are turning away from radio because why would you're just listening to simulcasts from somewhere else. Right. You're not listening to local. I love all the talk you do with radio personalities and, and being hyperlocal. Because I think that's, that's what would save radio.

Matt Cundill  09:25

There's enough radio stations to accommodate all sorts of people. But everybody loves 25 to 54 and playing the same records.

Allan Grego  09:33

Yeah. And I mean, you know, I listened to theater of the mind and listen to the Sunday night funnies. Most of the stuff that I remember listening to I mean, I also listened to top 40 For sure. But was that kind of other programming. His ongoing history of music like that extra programming is what made radio so good, but now you can find it just as good if not better in podcast form.

Matt Cundill  09:56

So you're a music guy to play in a band you love music you're familiar with the Toronto scene, it's you know, your experience with music is more than just, you know Much Music. What were some of the bands that you grew up in and listen to?

Allan Grego  10:11

Again just like Toronto Mike as a big con can guys so growing up I listened to all the you know, I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace, I was a big grunge guy though 90s music my co host on on the Produce Stand would bristle at that because he was more of a hair metal guy and loves Extreme and those those bands that were replaced by grunge in the early 90s. But that's my wheelhouse. That's what my cover band covers. I love doing that. I mean, I like music of all kind, maybe the exception of country. But yeah, my background is music. I went to Trebis Institute, I originally wanted to be an audio engineer or music producer. That's what I learned as a trade audio engineering being in a studio that that was my dream to be in a recording studio. Now. The recording studio is my desk here. So it's not quite the same environment, but still enjoy it.

Matt Cundill  10:59

But you've come in very well equipped to do podcast if you went to Trebis Institute.

Allan Grego  11:03

So at the time, we're talking mid to late 90s 95/96, I think is when I went. So that was just the end, I still learn how to how to splice two inch tape with a razor blade. And then I think the last year we were there, we started recording these things, burning CDs. And one out of 10 was a dud, right. Like I was in between there. We learned Foley and sound for movies, using both analog and then digital means at the time cuz sampling was still really early. So yeah, that was a lot of fun. But unfortunately, coming out of that second year of music production out of Trebis, I, you know, I started reading the writing on the wall, I'm like, Well, I'm not going to be able to make a living out of this. So they were offering this other program called Multimedia computing. So I took that, and that's where I learned CD authoring and HTML and a little bit of graphic design, a little bit of video editing a little bit of everything. So the new media that was called back then, which kind of set me up for this career in elearning.

Matt Cundill  12:08

What was your first podcast that you put together and put into an RSS feed?

Allan Grego  12:13

Oh, probably the first episode of Yes, We Are Open. Yeah. So up until then, I was doing a lot of internal podcasts. But technically, they weren't podcasts because they weren't being distributed via RSS. So back in 2017, I was recording these little audio vignettes. And they were just being thrown up on the internal company intranet, right. But yeah, the first actual podcasts I would have done would have been, Yes We Are Open for Moneris. And then during the pandemic, I started my home that Letterkenny podcasts that we do The Produce Stand.

Matt Cundill  12:45

So here's the thing, I've always thought about an internal podcast, do you know who has listened to it? And how much of the show they have digested? And does that somehow get recorded somewhere in the chain?

Allan Grego  12:56

Yeah, we had a like an internal thing of SharePoint. But SharePoint would tell you how often a file was dead. So the stats for SharePoint are no better or worse than current stats for podcasts in terms of I knew how many times it was downloaded, and liked. And so there's quite a bit of engagement with those. And I would even get, you know, emails and texts through the company chat going on. I love that, especially during the pandemic when I was recording them at home. And I was using my kids in places because normally I'd be interviewing coworkers and they weren't available. So I just had my kids here. And I was interviewing them. And a lot of people were emailing me and thanking me because they were you know, everyone was feeling so isolated, and they just needed a good laugh or whatever in the middle of their hectic day.

Matt Cundill  13:42

Tell me about the pandemic. Were you set up at home at that time? Or did you have to make changes? Or were you just ready for what came?

Allan Grego  13:51

I was not I mean, we were in a house. I mean, a little, you know, 45 year old bungalow, we had just started renovations on the upstairs. So there was four of us, my wife and two kids living schooling and working out of our basement apartment. It wasn't fun, it was a bit of a nightmare. I wasn't set up to work from home and at the time, you know, the company wasn't really didn't really embrace that too much. So the one positive that came out of the pandemic is my ability to work from home now and which saves me three hours a day and commute time I don't go into the office unless I have to. The argument is that I could come into the office but don't do any work. My studio is at home so I'd only be coming in to socialize, which is fine to do every once in a while but I love the setup I have at home and the freedom I have to do my work from home.

Matt Cundill  14:38

Tell me a little bit about your editing process when you first started we'll talk about today in a sec. But when you first started, what were you using to edit and edit get the audio together?

Allan Grego  14:48

Well, I mean originally it first we were using Audacity to record and edit, you know, stereo channel recordings. Then when I started doing the actual podcast for Moneris site, I was a Let's start using Audacity. So using that for all the multi tracking and adding music and creating the stories that I do for that for those podcasts, I mean coming from, you know, like I said, originally, I learned how to splice tape. So to me editing was always a manual process and a time consuming process that I held on to way longer than I wanted to. I mean, I hate it, it's my least favorite thing to do with podcast production is editing, especially, you know, getting rid of arms and ahhs and doing all that kind of fun stuff, right. But I held on to it wait too long. Up until recently, we talked about, you know, in the pre show, I discovered Descript in December, and I haven't looked back, it's changed my life in terms of it's taken away the most tedious part of what I do, and made it much, much easier. So I appreciate that. The produce and I do live to pod. I learned that from Toronto Mike. And I love that because again, I'm I'm a radio fan. So to me recording an episode of the Produce Stand is kind of like doing a little radio show, I do everything, I have a soundboard, I do everything live, nothing gets edited. And then it gets put out 10 minutes after we've finished recording. And I love the energy that comes from that. And sometimes the happy accidents that you know, we can just laugh at ourselves, because none of us are professionals here.

Matt Cundill  16:15

Yeah, they say anything you can record you can make better, I understand that. But I do totally get what you're saying about. It's live, we want to be live, we want it to sound live. And it's just good communication skills practice, you know, especially you you've got to, there were times when you had to stand up in front of people to communicate with them. And you can't make edits when you're live in front of people.

Allan Grego  16:40

No, and I mean, it's still something I'm working on. I mean, you know, I don't come from a radio background. So I had to work on it as well. Like, when I started Moneris, there was a Toastmasters club in the company. So every Wednesday I'd go to do that, which helped me a lot, not just in podcasting, so I wasn't even doing that yet. But even just by stage banter with my band, I was horrible between songs, you know, talking to the audience, and then you know, doing a little bit of Toastmasters really helped me with that I I strongly feel like Toastmasters should be something that should be available like in high schools. I really think it's that that important skill and muscle to develop early.

Matt Cundill  17:19

Okay, so I've heard about this a number of times. What is Toastmasters? Do they teach you to talk do they teach us speak in front of people.

Allan Grego  17:28

Teach is a strong word. It's kind of like a support group for people who just want to get better at speaking on their feet. And there's different kinds of tracks you can take to whichever way you want to go. So if you want to just be better at speaking off the cuff, you know, each meeting, you might get up and talk for two minutes on a subject that like is written on a piece of paper, and you just have to be able to do that. And then you'll have people who are sitting there and they're writing down all your filler words and they're keeping tally. So that the end of it, they'll be like alright, oh, that was a great two and a half minute speech on yo-yos do you use 30 filler words in those two and a half minutes. And these are your most common words like stuff like that, and it gets in your head, and you get better at it. It's just through practice, right? Everything happens through practice. And so I went into Toastmasters. I only ever did one of the speeches like I didn't even go through the entire program. But it got me to a point where because I was fine being on stage in front of people when I was prepared. When I was rehearsed as a musician. I just wasn't comfortable with the off the cuff stuff. And that's what Toastmasters helped me with a lot of the people in that group and people that I've seen before who credit Toastmasters, like everyone gets something different from it, but I really love and again, I hear my my son and his buddies talk. I'm like, man, you guys can use Toastmasters. Oh brah, brah, oh my god. When I hear my 16 year old son call my my wife brah. Like, that's ma you.

Matt Cundill  18:59

You're very humble. By the way. I do know that you came to my attention a couple of years ago. Because Yes, We Are Open was a winner of a Canadian Podcast Award for outstanding business series. You beat some good ones to in there. So for anybody who would just come up and ask you because they're thinking of starting a podcast? How do you get a show like that to that level? Over a period of time? And the period of time is, you know, a few years, obviously. But how do you get to that level where you're getting awards?

Allan Grego  19:31

The award was a shock. I feel like I had a bit of an unfair advantage in terms of you know, I had the audio background already. And such a huge consumer of other podcasts that I already knew what I wanted to do, even if I didn't know how I was going to do it yet. It all came naturally to me. Fortunately for me, but for somebody else who might want to start right now. Yeah, you basically have to be a consumer of lots of these kinds of podcasts like I go on the road with my Zoom digital recorder which I usually have If you're handy, that's how I recorded my field interviews. I bring them in, I'd listen to that I had no plan. I had no script, I would just listen to the interviews and then piece together the stories as that but I'd be like, how would Ira Glass do this on This American Life? Or Adam, I forget his name on Planet Money. Like, those are the podcasts I was listening to. And I was kind of modeling myself after the guys from Reply All like, how do you tell a story with these interviews, and be you know, with as little interstitial narration as possible, like try to tell the complete story with just the interviews, right? And using the surrounding sounds, recording my flight on the plane recording, if I'm in a brewery recording all the sound in the background, right? Like, it's all stuff that no one told me, that's what I had to do. But because I listened to so many podcasts that I felt, I got to do that I have to capture all this because some of this I'm going to use later on the story.

Matt Cundill  20:55

That's so important. You mentioned Ira Glass, Adam Davidson, you know, there's a lot of NPR in there who are leaders in this space, public radio does a lot. But I see so many radio people who come over into podcasting. And the next thing you know, it's a big banging loud 10 in a row kind of imaging. And I know because if you listen to episodes, one, two, and three through 20, or something like that, it's it was like that was all that we knew how to produce. And that's what we did. But then once I started to listen, for me, specifically, some stuff out of Panoply podcasts, like Why Oh Why some stuff out of Slate, Death, Sex and Money, just stuff like that, that, you know, the audio need really needs to be soothing into the ear more than anything.

Allan Grego  21:38

Yeah, and I don't think I went into producing any of these with any of those rules in mind. Right? Again, it was just a lot of listening, a lot of probably just mimicking, trying to mimic. But then after a while, you develop, I guess, a voice of your own. So it didn't take long for me to include a little bit of my own irreverence in poking fun at myself when something silly happens on the road, right? And people would respond to that, which, which I loved. And, you know, every once in a while be like, Man, I wish I had a video camera following me. But that also forced me to be more descriptive when I'm there. To tell the story later, right. I have been learning as I've been going, and I'm by no means perfect at anything. Again, the award was was amazing and unexpected. But you know, we got to keep it going now.

Matt Cundill  22:23

Well, the people that Quill they make branded podcasts, and I think he got nominated for a few awards there.

Allan Grego  22:29

Yeah, we did. And I know Fatima very well. She was actually, when when I moved over to the marketing team here at Moneris. They said, Hey, if you want to take any training whatsoever, feel free. So I wrote enrolled on in a podcasting course at U of T. Fatima taught, so I got to know her really well. And she had some great insight. And I'd like to think I was just star pupil for that. But that term, but um, yeah, it was a lot of fun and really helpful.

Matt Cundill  22:53

We did an episode with her. I heard it. Yeah. And the biggest takeaways, like, please do not record your podcast on Zoom. Right? Zoom. So many people still do it. And

Allan Grego  23:03

I'm one, I'm one. Do you really I do. There's one thing, they've changed that I think when people were saying that before, hadn't changed, and there's like a setting with the gated noise that you can turn off. That makes it a little bit more palatable in terms of crosstalk and, and playing music, and all that stuff while people are talking over it. It makes it a little bit better. But I mean, Zoom is just ubiquitous. It's just easier to set somebody up specially like we have a lot of guests on who they're not used to these platforms and stuff. So it's just easier to send them a zoom link, and they join that way, because they're probably already used to doing that with work. Right?

Matt Cundill  23:41

You went to Trebis Institute, like you can squeeze that sound out and make it sound great.

Allan Grego  23:47

Yeah. But I mean, I do see the benefits of some of these other platforms. I just zoom because I use it for work. And it's just sometimes it's just easier.

Matt Cundill  23:55

Okay, so now I'm going to transition from zoom, to zoom, the zoom h5, because you mentioned that's the machine that you take on the road. I wish I had mine beside me. It's actually upstairs and I've just been using it. It's a great tool. It's my favorite one. It retails in Canada for about 369. And that's a zoom h5, I believe you have?

Allan Grego  24:14

Yeah,  yeah, so cheap. And it's a four channel, the onboard mics are better than anything you could probably get of that size. And then you can plug into other XLR below it so you can record a full, you can record a full band with it if you wanted to in a in a room and have amazing sound quality. In fact, it's too sensitive sometimes, like, I'll be on the road and I'll be recording like interviews in a noisy area. But in my headphones and think ah, that'll be fine. I'll be able to and then when I get home and listen to it. Oh my god, what was I thinking because it's just picking up too much of the surroundings noise. I mean, I could switch the stereo mics out for one of those more directional mics and that might help me out a lot and maybe I should do that. It's one of those things where When you have to ask money from your boss to buy those other components, you just kind of make do with what you have.

Matt Cundill  25:06

I'm uncomfortable using that microphone to record a full interview, I would just say if you and I would be anywhere, I just say, I can't wait for us to go home to our studios to record a very clean conversation. So what are some of the tricks you do to get great conversation when you're on the road? For instance, I just came back from from an assignment where I had to, I just want to capture some of the sounds of a travel podcast in a restaurant. Well, there's a lot of music on somebody had online order on the TV, and I'm like, this isn't gonna sound great.

Allan Grego  25:39

No, you're right. And you do have to pick the best environment first, right? And this is in sometimes so can we is there an office that we can go into or let's go outside, maybe even if it's if it's too loud, or echoey in the bar restaurant, where you are a couple of things, obviously, I have a wind sock that I put on for sociaux door recordings. That

Matt Cundill  26:01

Is that when soccer a dead cat?

Allan Grego  26:03

It's one of these big foamy things that go on the end, have a tripod as much as I can. I don't like going handheld because there's always noise. Also, one drawback from that Zoom unit, because it's a little older, there's no Bluetooth. So if you want a monitor, you got to be plugged in directly via cable. And some of the noise that comes from handling that sometimes can translate you don't want that right. So I like having a little tripod, wherever I can wherever possible. And then yeah, just get it as close to them as possible and monitor monitor monitor just have like headphones on so you can hear what's going in and make adjustments as you go. Some, you know, there's been times where I've not done that and regretted it big time later.

Matt Cundill  26:47

Those microphones are very sensitive. So I've always picked up a lot of plosives.

Allan Grego  26:51

Well, what's the SOC that fixes that? Right? So that completely gets rid of that? I mean, the mics I use here, you know, this is my stage mic. It's an SM 58. With a sock on it. You don't get any me right. So it's fine.

Matt Cundill  27:02

So I use these zoom h5 For a lot of background recording sounds of a motorcycle transition sounds just ambiance in a restaurant. The airplane is a great one, you know when the planes about to take off?

Allan Grego  27:16

Now many conversation has been started from somebody just going What do you do? Like wandering is a strange guy with a device. He's turning on specifically for takeoff and landing. Why and then, and then I have to start off because I'm just recording background sound from my podcast. And I'm be like, I'm trying to get the captain saying, you know, this is the flight to Winnipeg flight cert, whatever to Winnipeg, because I want to get that so I can use it in my story, right? And often I have to shush people. Wait, wait, it's coming.

Matt Cundill  27:46

It looks like a taser too.

Allan Grego  27:48

Right? Yeah, there's so many things that people probably are going through their head until they you know until it. So sometimes I'll say it's just a microphone before we take off so that to put them at ease.

Matt Cundill  27:59

Is there ever an opportunity where I should plug in an XLR mic in the bottom and just go back and forth with a handheld? Maybe?

Allan Grego  28:06

It's funny. So for Yes, We Are Open. And this was kind of a style choice that I made. I never bring another mic. So the interviews that I do, I'm in the distance, I always have the mic held up my subject, I'm not going back and forth. So I mean, I do that on purpose, because I don't want to be the story. I want them to be the story. So I want it to feel like that. Right? Whereas if I'm asking the question and then putting the mic in their face, there's there's a bit of delay between that. But there's also like it, I'm not important in this, I want to capture what they're saying, as with as much fidelity as possible. And then because later on when I add it, oftentimes I cut out my question altogether, because it makes more sense for them to just keep talking. Right? So but there was one time where I did do that. And that was more for I was in Montreal, I was recording an interview with this is from my Letterkenny podcast recording with one of the writers. And in that case, I do want to be part of that con, I want it to be a conversation. So that time I did have a microphone plugged into the back of it so that we both had high quality audio throughout the whole thing.

Tara Sands (Voiceover)  29:12

transcription of the sound off podcast is powered by the You May Also Like Podcast, the show about people places and things. Follow the show on your favorite podcast app, or at

Mary Anne Ivison (Voiceover)  29:27

This podcast supports podcasting 2.0. So feel free to send us a boost. If you're listening on a new podcast app, find your new app now at That's podcasting.

Matt Cundill  29:42

So you mentioned one of your gateway podcast drugs was Lost...

Allan Grego  29:48


Matt Cundill  29:48

Because you love the TV show. And then did you fall in love with Letterkenny and say I got to do a podcast about this.

Allan Grego  29:54

 Well, it's funny. So Toronto, Mike was doing the podcast I want to do podcast but what are we going to do it on? I'm a musician could I do music, but there's so many of them. And I'm not an expert enough to think that I can offer up anything new that better musicians couldn't already offer up. I was struggling with subject matter. And during the pandemic seemed a great time to start a podcast because there was nothing else to do. I didn't I couldn't play with my band, because there were no venues open. So I was like, Well, what are we going to do? And somebody introduced me to Letterkenny. So really, it wasn't so much that I'm a huge fan of the show is more like we just needed subject matter to focus our discussion on. Why not this show? Because I looked around like, Oh, they're in a lot of podcasts that cover this, so why not? So I just didn't want to start a podcast where it's just, you know, for people talking about stuff, and there's no focus to it. So I wanted to give it a focus. And that's why we went with the TV show. Plus, I really enjoyed the last podcast, and I liked that kind of setup. You know what I mean, that theme?

Matt Cundill  30:52

We're really interested in this next question, because I know that your current title is, you know, emerging channels communication manager.

Allan Grego  30:52


Matt Cundill  30:54

Which is that sums up exactly what podcast is. So did you have to sort of give direction to Moneris? And say, this is where communications and social is going? And podcasting as well? Or did they sort of present this to you that this is what you're going to be overseeing? And then I'm going to dovetail that into a question about video and just a sec.

Allan Grego  31:22

They basically said, You're the expert, come to us with a strategy. So I had to, you know, I spent a few weeks putting together a strategy. And when I came back, I said, I think we should do two shows. And these are the two shows I think we should do. The Yes, We Are Open a basically kind of lifted the whole idea from a CBC show called still standing. And if you're familiar with it, it's Johnny Harris, he travels the country visit small down and out towns tells their story about how they're trying to get themselves out of the economic issues that they are from, you know, a factory closing or a mine closing or whatever. I really liked that format. And I also liked the idea of traveling the country, truth be told, and wasn't sure whether they would go for it, but definitely shoot for the stars and see what happens. So I wanted to do that. And I said, Look, you know our clientele there other businesses, I want to visit these businesses, I want to tell their stories, and talk about their struggles and stuff, especially at that time, it was the pandemic, so there's lots of struggle to talk about. And they went for it, they loved it. So that's that one. So that's kind of the focus on our clients on our customers. The other one called just good business is kind of more of our thought leadership show. It's more of a monthly magazine, where we talked about issues that affect our customers and in the FinTech industry. Right. So those are the two shows that I produce for Moneris.

Matt Cundill  32:40

I mean, it's pretty difficult job to have to like go to the Maritimes to a shellfish festival to go and find out exactly what's going on on behalf of the company to bring your microphones and talk about that that's tough. You're doing God's work there.

Allan Grego  32:58

Under threat of a hurricane to be fair. That was a lot of fun. And I'm not gonna lie I love doing I'd be an asshole if I'd say I don't like my job. I don't complain about it at all. I love it.

Matt Cundill  33:10

Where are some of the great places you've been to aside from of course PEI, where you get to have oysters.

Allan Grego  33:15

Yeah, well, so so far this season one I went to Saskatchewan. I hit Saskatoon and Prince Albert, which you know, you think, whatever, but I loved it. It was a great time. And then I went out to Vancouver. Next season. I've also obviously been all around Ontario. I hit Quebec and Montreal, New Brunswick, and was the maritime and Newfoundland provinces. So my next stop, I'm hoping fingers crossed is Calgary. I want to hit every province and territory at least once. So that's my goal.

Matt Cundill  33:47

When you think about the North kids you mentioned, you know, Nunavut maybe up to Whitehorse, that sort of thing. Do you have something in mind? Because the culture and electronics and tech and the internet is just so different up there?

Allan Grego  34:01

Yeah, I don't know. And I can't wait to find out and to learn more about it. As long as we have customers in those areas and customers who want to tell their story, I will endeavor to get up there, I really want to be inclusive, I want this to be, you know, I don't want this just to be just another show up from Ontario, right? I want to be able to tell other stories and learn about it. So I want the listener to learn while I'm learning.

Matt Cundill  34:22

So tell me what you've learned so far about video. What have you told people? And how are you going to approach the video side of podcasting that has emerged and really it's from a marketing side more than anything, but here you are, you're an audio guy, but now you've got to get yourself a camera and maybe you have to learn how to edit some video and maybe you gotta get some YouTube channels. How are you dealing with that?

Allan Grego  34:47

Not Well, I mean, I'm showing my age when it comes to that stuff because I'm I'm an audio purist in terms of, again, I was a big radio fan. And so when podcasting is right down my alley. Now, having said that, I I've done all the video editing, I know how to do that I just don't enjoy it. And especially if I have to be in front of the camera, there's, there are many other better looking people that I would put in front of the camera before me. We've talked about, you know, if yesterday were open to grow it that maybe they would send somebody on the road with me, you know, I've started doing like, while I'm out on the road. I'm also my own social media guy where if you follow me on Instagram, I will do little vignettes of myself with people I'm with, you know, there's a vignette of me throwing axe for the first time in New Brunswick. And I hit a bullseye for the first time. And so there's video evidence of that. And I posted that to my IG and my social media person that Moneris she loves me that for that like for providing her with that kind of content. But yeah, you're always having to think what kind of content because what I not interested in is putting up still screens and full podcast episodes like that whole, YouTube can now import your entire pod, I'm not interest, I started doing that. And I cancelled it and reversed it because A, when I found out that that means now you're maintaining two separate files that I didn't, I don't care. That's the beauty of podcasts and you upload a file. If you make a mistake, you upload a different file to replace that file and everything gets aggregated and everything gets what with YouTube, that doesn't happen. Yeah, I'm not interested in that. So my YouTube strategy actually came from an episode of yours that I listened to back, I don't know, I'm gonna say September, October where I forget who you had on. But I liked what he said. It's like, the content you put out on video should be different, in addition to what you put out in audio, and that's what I tried to do. Usually it might just be audio grams, but with video component to like, recordings of whatever meetings or something, or I will throw together a little video montage or something depending on what subject matter is. And I'll put that up and I find that that gets enough traction. Like when I was putting up full episodes. I was getting a handful of listeners. That's it because to me podcasts you don't turn YouTube on to listen to a podcast.

Matt Cundill  37:08

How many people do you think are gonna watch this?

Allan Grego  37:11

Yeah, exactly.  Probably none.

Matt Cundill  37:12

Five maybe...

Allan Grego  37:13

Close friends. Yeah.

Matt Cundill  37:15

And they have they obviously have a fetish with men with bald heads.

Allan Grego  37:18

Exactly. And graying beards, you know. But if you check out the Produce Stand YouTube feed, there are some videos there of extra things like we went out to Sudbury and we toured the Letterkenny sets. And so I put together a video montage of that. And so that's good, because that's something I can't show on the podcast. And then if you want to hear more, or Yeah, listen to more than go subscribe to the podcast. So that's kind of been my strategy for my personal podcast and for work. If they insist on doing video, then I might suggest that somebody else be in front of the camera.

Matt Cundill  37:55

What I really like is like how positive you are about the podcast space about what it offers about what you used to do and where it has taken you. I think it's just so positive. And I've had so many people hear about radio, thinking, Oh, I guess I better slide into this podcast thing and sort of catch the catch the train. But it's all upside, even some of the bad news? Well, we're gonna have to do some video. Now you've got some resolve, you know exactly what you want to do and where it's going. So for any company, or anybody who's in your position, had a job like you had or you know, is in communications, even some marketing, why should they consider podcasts and a branded podcast specifically?

Allan Grego  37:55

I mean, branded podcasts for companies is an opportunity for that company to show their personality and show it in a way that they can kind of control to write so you can use social media. And that's one way to do it. But the other channel, yeah, podcast is a great channel, because it's also a very well, if you can get the person to listen, they're engaged listeners, it's an engaging channel, right? If you get the right audience, which I mean, if somebody's listening to a podcast, and they're already the right audience, if if somebody is doesn't listen to podcasts, and they stumble on up, you know, Yes, We Are Open, they're probably not going to listen to it. Because they're, that's not what they want to do. But if you engage podcast listeners, and you give them something interesting or educational to listen to, then you might be able to snag them and then they become, you know, yours, and they become yours to entertain, but they learn about your company through the stories you tell. Right. And anecdotally, I hear you know, because of my former ties to HR, I hear a lot of people who, you know, are hired on to the company going oh, yeah, I know, I know all about Moneris because I've listened to some of your podcasts, which is a nice way of, you know, getting people to come in and already feel at home right when they feel like they already know the company they're coming to.

Matt Cundill  39:49

What is a new piece of technology aside from Descript, you might be having your eye on or checking out to make your life a little bit better?

Allan Grego  39:57

That's a good question because the script is the latest one that I've been playing with and loving.

Matt Cundill  40:02

Have you used any of the video tools in there?

Allan Grego  40:05

I've done some of the tutorials, some of them freak me out like that whole thing about your eyes always looking at the camera. That's, that's freaks me out. But I probably will start using some of the video tools as well, because I feel like you know, the more pressure I get with putting out more video content, the more I'll probably look at easier and quicker ways to create some video content, right.

Matt Cundill  40:28

And with every purchase of Descript, you can also get free access to Squadcast. So does this mean you might be getting a divorce from Zoom?

Allan Grego  40:37

Possibly. Late last year, I started looking at some alternatives to zoom, Squadcast was one of them. But before I even heard of descript, there was, you know, stream yard was another one that a colleague of mine uses for his podcasts that I've tried out. The one thing that kept me with Zoom, and again, this goes back to my personal pot that Letterkenny podcast is every once in a while. And I think we had this conversation before but we'll have something called an egg hall social where we'll have our listeners join us in a Zoom call. And we'll have sometimes upwards to almost 30 people on the same call, which I know sounds chaotic to you and it can be which you can't do with any of the other ones Zoom allows you to have that Stream Yard I think their limit is 10 at a time.

Matt Cundill  41:19

Stream yard will let you do a webinar now.

Allan Grego  41:21

Oh, yeah.

Matt Cundill  41:22

So I think that would kind of serve the purpose, but I'm not sure that everybody would be able to see one another.

Allan Grego  41:27

Yeah, because webinars still kind of a one way but anyway, it's it's not like if we wanted to do that we could do a one off just with Zoom. So um, so yeah, I am looking at you know, different tools because I'd love to be able to, to get some graphics going on on you know, on our video feed is especially and, and some cooler intros and maybe pre built interstitial elements, right, right now, I still do everything off live off my board. And it's all audio still.

Matt Cundill  41:54

So have you played with the AI feature in the script that allows you to substitute your voice on errors?

Allan Grego  42:01

I have...

Matt Cundill  42:02

What's that like?

Allan Grego  42:03

So I gotta say, like, again, I only use it here and there when I wish I said this word instead of that word. And I'll go in and I'll do it and it's just replacing one word. I gotta say, it's, it's great. I'm not gonna lie. I love using it. I would never do it really. I tried doing full sentences just to hear what it would sound like. And it doesn't sound great. Yeah, it's not there yet. And that's fine. I don't think I'd ever do that. Because, I mean, the reason I got into podcasting is because I'm not in radio, but I always wanted to be in radio, and this is the best thing. So why would I replace myself with AI?

Matt Cundill  42:36

If you could have been on one radio station in Toronto? What station? Was it? And why was it the Edge?

Allan Grego  42:44

It wasn't the Edge though. So I went from 680 CFTR. And then when, when their format changed, I think I went almost directly to sports radio to Fan 590. Like I would every once and I'll pop over to 102.1 But no, it was I went from kind of top 40 to to sports. All sports when all sports opened it was done for me. That's all I listened to. It was. Yeah, I loved it.

Matt Cundill  43:11

What year was that? Early? 90s?

Allan Grego  43:13

Yeah, early 90s. At least I was probably you know, a pizza boy. You know delivering pizza after school listening to because I remember you know, listening to the first blue jays World Series on 1430 before they switched frequencies at I was already delivering pizzas. So that might have been 92/93.

Matt Cundill  43:30

Yes, that was such a great era for sports. And both Montreal and Toronto.

Allan Grego  43:34

Oh, man, it Yeah, I miss it. But also thank God, we had all sports radio because everyone was thirsty for more write more content, and they provided it.

Matt Cundill  43:44

Do you spend as much time with sports radio these days? Or have you moved on to podcasts?

Allan Grego  43:49

 In the car everywhere. I just I always have podcasts in my ear. That's all I listen to

Matt Cundill  43:53

What sports podcast to listen to?

Allan Grego  43:55

You know what? I haven't been on sports podcast too much lately. There's one called Tales with TR. That's Terry Ryan. But because he's an actor on shores. I listened to him since the pandemic kind of got soured a bit on sports. I gotta tell you. It's funny because the Raptors won the championship in 19 On my birthday, and that was kind of the last time I remember caring about sports after that the pandemic happened locked down and they went into the bubbles and and then when it was all done, they didn't really get me back. So I mean, I was I'm a lifelong Leafs fan. What do I have to cheer for right now? The Raptors are in a retooling period. Maybe the Jays they kind of get me excited at the beginning of the season, but then they show their true colors after a while so.

Matt Cundill  44:42

 I'm just holding on to the NFL, but I have to admit, I have not watched hockey since the Stanley Cup final with the Habs and Tampa Bay. Oh, wow. And even even before then I kind of stopped. I think I wouldn't even be able to name five Habs, right right now...

Allan Grego  45:00

Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat. I mean, I can name three Leafs. But that's just because they're all over the news. And but other than that, yeah, because I've been filling my time with other things, and mostly podcast related stuff. The band is back. So we're playing again, haven't really needed sports so...

Matt Cundill  45:15

 I wonder if that's a symptom of work from home.

Allan Grego  45:18

Might be

Matt Cundill  45:19


Allan Grego  45:20

Yeah. And again, sports radio used to be my I had never my car was always on. You know, Bob McAllen. And now, I don't care enough to listen.

Matt Cundill  45:31

What app do you listen to podcasts on?

Allan Grego  45:33

Pocket Casts. Well, I used to listen on one called Beyond pod. But something went screwy with their interface and it got all messed up. And I stopped without and and then I put out a request, what's everyone using? And what should I use? And I think, again, he was trying to make us that I think I use Pocket Casts if you want to use that one. So, but I've been listening a lot about the podcasting 2.0 and all that stuff that you guys have been talking about. I'm wondering about whether I should try one of these newer ones, too.

Matt Cundill  46:01

Do you have a crypto wallet or anything crazy like that? I do not. I probably never will. Not if you work for Moneris. Right? Why would you need one? Exactly? Yeah, I got involved with fountain so that I could just send people some Satoshis sight, the guy bought like 100 bucks and SATs just so I could pass them around to people just to see how it worked. It's really just one feature of many. I think apples just made some changes that will allow transcription. So hopefully, like our podcast hosts will catch up and we'll be allowed to drop our transcriptions in so that they can be read. Or Apple will just do it for us, apparently. So. Yeah. I mean, there's all sorts of like, it could be a name tag, it could be geo local. Can I hear all the podcast in my area? It's gonna take some time to get there. But it's just, you know, way to play with it just to see what what happens. But explaining podcasting 1.0 is tough enough.

Allan Grego  46:57

Yeah, I mean, so I used simple cast for my work podcasts. And I switched over to coal. And I was on Lipson and I switched over to co host when Fatima was my teacher, at U of T. I'm like, alright, I'll try this out. Because the quill had started this new hosting company. And I thought, you know, one thing I've learned kind of in the past is sometimes going local, even if it's small, you can grow together. And it's been great, like Co Host has been really good in terms of if I have an issue, they respond pretty quickly and some of their newer features. If I have feedback, I'll be heard right away. And it's been it's been really good and co host has been a pretty solid host so far.

Matt Cundill  47:35

Anybody wants to check that out. And all of the podcasts that you're involved with, are in the show notes of this episode.

Allan Grego  47:41

All right, thank you very much.

Matt Cundill  47:43

Thanks a lot for being on the show. I really appreciate it.

Allan Grego  47:46

Thank you for having me.

Tara Sands (Voiceover)  47:47

The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at


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