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30 Best CEOs of the Year 2022

Michael DeAloia, CEO of Evergreen Podcasts, Speaks Exclusively to The Silicon Review: ‘We’re Uniting Audiences with Authentic Storytelling that Lives Up to Our Name’

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“Some of the new endeavors we are undertaking at Evergreen Podcasts include the launch of a true crime and paranormal podcast network called Killer Podcasts.”

Evergreen Podcasts, a global distributor of high-quality original, branded, and partner podcasts, is designed for the creative class to create, listen and inspire. It works with top brands and thought leaders to publish inspiring stories through branded content, original shows, and partner podcasts.

The company was founded in 2017 and is based in Lakewood, Ohio.

To highlight and further understand what Evergreen Podcasts stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Michael DeAloia, who serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

Below is an excerpt.

Q. What’s your story?

I have historically operated in the tech/software industries, and I never expected to be in the media industry much less podcasting. I was the Chief Revenue Officer of a software development company in Cleveland and was enjoying my time at that firm. I was looking to buy into the ownership group of this software company and after exhaustive negotiations, it became clear to me that wasn’t going to be the case. I was just beginning to make some decisions on my career when I received a promising phone call from a friend of mine who had interviewed for the CEO role at Evergreen Podcasts. Long story short, this happened in late October of 2016, and I was named CEO in January of 2017. It has been an amazing opportunity complemented with an astounding growth trajectory.

Q. How do you contribute to the company’s overall growth? Please share an overview.

Evergreen Podcasts affords me, as the CEO, the great opportunity to focus my strategy, marketing, sales, branding, and culture-building skills. One of the first actions that I took as CEO was to bring in our Chief Creative Officer, David Allen Moss — a gentleman that I had started another company with many years ago. David is this wonderful combination of creative, musician, and raconteur. We focused early and often on the Evergreen brand and the content strategy of the company. Evergreen’s first year in podcasting resulted in four show launches with nearly 18,000 podcast downloads. In 2021, Evergreen now manages over 115 shows and will hit north of 5,000,000 downloads for the year.

Q. Trust is one of the most important currencies of leadership that requires authenticity and consistency to maintain. What’s your take on this?

Trust is everything to me as the CEO and to the management team as a whole. We are holding on by our fingernails to a rocket ship and if we as a team cannot trust your instincts and intellectual curiosity then your tenure is going to be a short one. Trust allows us to accomplish more than we should as a small team. And by that, I mean trust allows us to leverage our skills to achieve big audacious goals.

Q. Who do you look up to and why?

In my youth, I looked up to my two grandfathers – Tuffy Brooks and Dominic DeAloia. Tuffy owned a retail chain of sporting goods. And Dominic owned a milk truck that brought dairy products right to one’s front door. You couldn’t go anywhere in my hometown where someone wouldn’t know my grandfathers. It was a great feeling. I remember then how much people trusted and enjoyed my grandfathers. I learned a lot about how to treat people from them.

Q. What makes Evergreen Podcasts unique? And what makes the company one of the fastest-growing podcast publishers in its class?

What makes Evergreen Podcasts unique is the trust and espirit de corps we have amongst our founder and investor, management team, staff, and partners. This creative camaraderie has served us well in crafting quick and ingenious solutions for our original programs and our partner podcasts. This combination creates a significant amount of trust especially with our partner podcasts – those individuals or hosts who produce their show and are seeking a network. These creative souls are trusting us to do right by their show. We work with them to grow the show and sell for them in the marketplace. You couldn’t grow with partners if they don’t trust you. We have that trust, and we must do everything we can to keep it.

Q. Who are your partners? And how do these partnerships help Evergreen Podcasts widen its reach?

Well, Evergreen enjoys a long list of podcast partnerships. Our very first partnership was with Twin Sisters Digital on a podcast called Storytime Anytime that is focused on child development. It has been a huge hit for us. We have also partnered with Five Minute News, Ars Longa Media, and Podcast Radio. These particular partnerships we are especially thrilled about because we have an investment stake in these great and growing media companies. Other partners on content development include Arcadia Publishing, The Gathering, RAINE Magazine, and Your Teen Magazine.

Q. What new endeavors is your company currently undertaking?

Some of the new endeavors we are undertaking at Evergreen Podcasts include the launch of a true crime and paranormal podcast network called Killer Podcasts. We hope to launch this new network in mid-October of 2021. Also, Evergreen recently signed a music podcast network that will shift all of its podcasts exclusively to our network. This will be the beginning of a new music podcast network to be launched in 2022. Yet, the biggest news for Evergreen is that we will be moving into new podcast studios in early 2022.

Q. How do you plan to counter challenges that you think Evergreen Podcasts might face in the next five years?

Despite the gratifying growth, we are experiencing as a company and as an industry – several issues are confronting us. While we have a reliable source of capital, at some point we will need to foster other financial relationships to maintain our growth. Our last $1.5 million round of funding, which we closed in June is focused on creating a powerful sales and marketing engine. On that front, we are furiously working to establish a new sales team, sales technology platforms, and improved relationships in the marketplace.

Michael DeAloia | CEO

Michael DeAloia is currently the CEO of Evergreen Podcasts, a podcast network, and production company. Under his leadership, the company has grown from four original podcasts in 2017 to now producing and distributing over 115 podcasts that have been listened to in over 200 countries. Evergreen Podcasts is on target for over five million podcast downloads in 2021.

He is probably best known as the “Tech Czar” for the City of Cleveland having worked for two mayors as the point person for the economic development of the technology sector. During his tenure, Michael successfully brought 35 tech companies into the city, bringing over 1,000 jobs with them – a major feat in the early 2000s. Michael was also a columnist for the Plain Dealer.

Michael earned his MBA from Case Western Reserve University and his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Xavier University. He has written three books on Cleveland history all published by History Press.

He lives in Lakewood, Ohio with his wife and their daughter.

“What makes Evergreen Podcasts unique is the trust and espirit de corps we have amongst our founder and investor, management team, staff, and partners.”