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Crowdsourcing Columbus — How the Internet Built A 614 Radio

By Xavier Veccia


I first got a personal introduction to Radio 614, a Columbus-based Internet radio station, when they were celebrating a year of existence at Used Kids Records. It was half-concert, half-fundraising event with a little pizza party sprinkled in for good measure. At the entrance, a few people were wearing red Radio 614 shirts and “Happy Birthday” stickers. After listening to the latter half of the set I walked over to the volunteers, asked who to talk to and was directed to Pat Leonard.

After all, it all starts with Leonard, the founder of Radio 614. With a background in podcasts and previous Internet radio ventures, he had the credentials to do something radical. So, when he saw a void in the Columbus music scene for local curators, he stepped up. He’s the one to do it too as he has his ear to the ground for Columbus music, literally — after our interview he raced inside and crouched down to fiddle with his radio toys as the Birthday Bash streamed live to Radio 614’s audience.

“I had done the internet radio thing before on my own and then I did a podcast for a number of years that focused on local music,” said Leonard. “This time around, I thought I’d ask friends and other people that are interested that wanted to kind of crowdsource a 24/7 Internet radio stream.”

The key word there is “crowdsource.” It’s more than just a bedtime story told by Journalism and Marketing professors alike. At Radio 614, it’s an idea in action, pulling from all walks of live to create a fuller experience and more diverse content.

“Crowdsourcing the content allows me to find the people who don’t necessarily have a radio background but are deeply invested in some aspect of the whole music culture,” Leonard says, pointing inside to DJ Trueskillz, spinning in between sets.

Leonard explains that Trueskillz, civilian name Adrian Willis, was able to put his expansive record collection to good use as a DJ at Radio 614, despite a limited background in the field. Meanwhile, Radio 614 provides an audience for local storytellers — like local entertainment provider It’s All Been Done Presents — and their content.

“I think we really are appealing to more of a niche audience,” said Leonard. “In this age of Spotify and Pandora and Apple Music, we’re trying to appeal to people who still want a human element.”

At it’s core, Radio 614 is about the music, especially the local artists behind it. Leonard and his team keep a pulse of the musical events in our city and try to follow and support it by playing and streaming recordings and live shows alike.

Now, after a year on the virtual air, Leonard & Co. are looking for help in order to keep the local support alive. Radio 614 is filing to IRS for non-profit status, so that they can better plan how to spend their money and time in the future. However, this one time expense is, just that, an expense that they need help paying.

So, if you want to help support local music lovers and storytellers at Radio 614, you can donate at gofundme.com/Radio614

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