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Friday, August 12, 2022

Grow Radio $20K short of Indiegogo goal

It’s hard to make the older format of radio play nicely with the Internet, but inside a studio downtown, a group of music lovers is trying to make it happen.

Grow Radio, a local Internet radio station that broadcasts from Gainesville, offers an eclectic mix of music featuring local disc jockeys.

The station joined many other independent businesses in September by going online to ask for needed funds to continue its operations. Of the $25,000 it needs to pay bills and buy supplies, the station has made $5,425. Fundraising ends Thursday night.

Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo gives campaigns the option of keeping donations even if the goal isn’t met.

“Without the money to keep the power on, we can’t broadcast,” said Jeremy Murdock, a Grow Radio DJ.

General manager Bill Bryson created the online fundraising campaign page on Indiegogo at goo.gl/JNd6L7. After relying on a handful of donors for years, he decided the station needed to ask more of its listeners to contribute to rising costs. The station is in need of better technology and maintenance.

Bryson created Grow Radio in 2009 with a group of friends who thought Gainesville lacked an alternative radio station.

“Nobody was playing any music that we liked,” he said.

Indiegogo also requires campaigns provide tiered rewards, or perks, to donors. So Grow Radio collaborated with local businesses to offer guided tree climbs, welding lessons, passes to Fest, a subscription to Vice magazine and other items like T-shirts.

If the station doesn’t meet its goal, Bryson intends to explore other options. He plans to sell merchandise and ask for donations year-round on the station’s website.

Bryson said Internet stations like Grow Radio struggle to attract attention because it’s competing with FM radio stations. Using Internet stations can require connecting a phone to car speakers, and he said most listeners prefer the passive experience of simply flipping on an FM station.

“That’s all it takes to discourage some people,” he said.

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Some listeners, like 22-year-old UF alumnus Joseph Villavicencio, think it’s worth the effort.

Grow Radio plays music people may have trouble finding on their own, he said.

DJ Leela Corman plays mostly Middle Eastern music on her show. Her goal is to expand the ears and minds of her listeners beyond auto-tuned pop robots, she said.

“Great radio serves the community it’s in,” Corman said. “This is something so valuable.”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 11/5/2013 under the headline "Grow Radio $20K short of Indiegogo goal"

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