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Kevin Heffernan, Rise Collaborative and the Queen City Quarantine Concert


May 13, 2020


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Kevin Heffernan, Rise Collaborative and the Queen City Quarantine Concert

Kevin Heffernan is a co-founder and managing director at Rise Collaborative, a news and entertainment platform that covers culture and lifestyle in Buffalo, Rochester and Western New York at large. Kevin and his team is also putting on the Queen City Quarantine Concert on Saturday April 25 at 7:00 p.m. The concert will feature local musical and entertainment acts to raise money for charities in Buffalo. Kevin and CJ discussed his background, the mission of Rise Collaborative and the upcoming concert. Enjoy!


CJ & Kevin Discuss Rise Collaborative and the Queen City Quarantine Concert



Conversation Highlights

We spoke for about 40 minutes and touched on the following:

  • Kevin's background and what lead him and his partners to start Rise Collaborative.
  • What is Rise Collaborative?
  • Kevin and Rise's experience producing content - blog, videos, podcast, small business features.
  • The importance of supporting local business always, but especially now.
  • The Queen City Quarantine Concert that Kevin and Rise are putting on to help raise money for charities in Buffalo and Western New York.

Full Transcript

CJ Maurer: (00:01)
Kevin Heffernan. How's it going, man?

Kevin Heffernan: (00:03)
Excellent. How are you doing CJ?

CJ Maurer: (00:05)
I'm doing well. It is Friday and all of a sudden I'm at a point where the days are not just bleeding together and I'm putting some more boundaries on my time between work and family time.

Kevin Heffernan: (00:19)

CJ Maurer: (00:19)
So there is some semblance of a traditional Friday today. I think the weather's going to be a little bit warmer this weekend, if even just for a short period of time. So I would say I'm doing well. How are you?

Kevin Heffernan: (00:34)
Yeah, yeah, pretty good. It's been a crazy busy week, which has been great too to feel like there's a big project to work on, which we'll talk about. But yeah, for the beginning of this quarantine it was like, which direction am I headed in? Which project should I be trying to start from scratch? Things like that. Now there's a lot more direction, purpose, at least until this Saturday.

CJ Maurer: (01:00)
Well, so for those that don't know, Kevin Heffernan is one of the founders and partners of an organization called Rise Collaborative. I think Rise Collaborative is super cool from what I've grown to learn about it. Kevin, we first got connected through some networking. I remember we were in the agency world, or different sales worlds at the time and fortunately stayed connected through the years and I've always known you to be a big Buffalo booster, self-starter, creative guy, open-minded thinker and something that I think certainly this community could use every ounce of that as it possibly can. But now you're doing Rise Collaborative and one of the things when I first heard about this, I remember thinking what is a collaborative and what is Rise Collaborative? I love the fact that on your website you have the little column, WTF Is Rise?

CJ Maurer: (02:03)
I think that's perfect, for people who maybe aren't 100% sure what it is. Now, as you guys have proliferated a little bit, you guys are a media company where you produce videos and you have a podcast and a magazine and you guys are involved in events and things like that. So I think not only myself, but a lot of other people have a much better understanding for what you do. But for those that don't yet, why don't you answer the question, WTF is Rise?

Kevin Heffernan: (02:34)
Sure, yeah and I'll touch on that word collaborative too and why we threw that in there. It was a 2014 and I was working at The Martin Group ad agency here in town and I was on a client that wasn't all that much fun and yet saw the rest of the agency being able to do some really cool, interesting work. I thought, "Let's get something started where we can do this ourselves." And the idea was let's just sell some T-shirts. Let's do cool designs, sell T-shirts, and that'll be a nice little side project to have some fun with. We realized that you can't just create a market with no one knowing who you are. So we started putting together content on our website, on our social media that was about Buffalo, so that people would give us a follow, and then we'd be able to introduce that apparel to them once they were already following us in. The apparel very quickly took a backseat and we started creating a mission to start supporting small businesses by just doing a simple Friday blog about them.

Kevin Heffernan: (03:39)
We'd ask them to DJ that blog. So we'd embed a 10 song playlist on Spotify right at the beginning. Set the tone while you're reading about that business, looking at photos of them. Then as that evolved, we really wanted to start growing our audience in a significant way and we noticed that it wasn't very diverse. It was a lot of people who were just like us, young 20-somethings West Side. We found that we could not literally cross Main Street here in Buffalo, our segregation line. We weren't really doing well in the suburbs, so we thought, "Okay, a lot of this is the social media algorithm that's saying like, 'Hey, you like this, I'll show it to people just like you.' " And we thought, "Let's sidestep social media here." We started a newsprint called No Boundaries and it was really meant to be this content rich flyer that we put 10,000 copies out into the community for free, funded by the small businesses who advertised in it.

Kevin Heffernan: (04:48)
That evolved into a magazine because when The Public was still around, we came out twice a year, The Public was doing amazing work by coming out weekly, but when we did come out, it would be The Public here looking big, bright and beautiful and us next to it, a little smaller, little crappier paper. We thought, "Let's level up. If it's only twice a year, let's make something that really knocks people's socks off." So it was the fall of 2018, I think, spring 2019, we launched in magazine format and we've done three of those thus far. We had a fourth for this spring that's indefinitely on hold until things come back online because the biggest part we do with that is we put them out into coffee shops, restaurants. One, we need those to be open but two, we also need people to be comfortable with literally picking up something that's been sitting out in a shop and we don't know what that's going to look like when things reopen.

Kevin Heffernan: (05:43)
We even thought about having free coffee available on Elmwood and Bidwell and just hand somebody a fresh one right out of the box, something like that. But briefly, just the rest of the aspects of Rise are when that newsprint was out, a woman named Holly Kirkpatrick approached us and said, "Hey, I saw your newsprint. I really like it. I'd love to produce a podcast and if it could be under your network, that would be great." So we met for coffee in late 2016 and she came prepared with a whole set of documents on why she wanted to do it, how she would do it, and the perceived measurements on its results.

Kevin Heffernan: (06:46)
So we do episodes that are about seven, eight minutes in length and cover average Buffalonians. We've covered blacksmiths, retired politicians, female head brewers, covered Queen City roller derby women. We've covered Rick Smith in his plans for Silo city.

CJ Maurer: (07:05)
Yeah, I listened to a couple of them. There's a couple that stand out to me. There was one about the pit bull shelter.

Kevin Heffernan: (07:14)
Yeah, yeah. Trainabulls.

CJ Maurer: (07:17)
What was the one about that woman who was a drug addict and had been in and out of rehab? You don't have to share her name if you want, I mean you did a podcast about her, but it was just a really interesting story about how she was able to reclaim her life and how she's now a positive influence for a lot of people who are in bad situations.

Kevin Heffernan: (07:37)
Yeah, she had definitely hit a rock bottom and now is running the Matt Urban Hope Garden Center-

CJ Maurer: (07:44)
That's what it is, yeah.

Kevin Heffernan: (07:45)
... which is a home for women who were at one time homeless and are trying to transition back into security, consistency, prosperity. So yeah, that one was great.

CJ Maurer: (08:00)
It was great.

Kevin Heffernan: (08:00)
What Holly does with this is it's not necessarily this format of sitting down and chatting, Holly will do a ton of research in advance. Then she will do a lot of audio recording in that person's place of work, or in that person's home. Then at the very end it's a sit-down interview. So she sort of creates a full scene that's an NPR-style record.

CJ Maurer: (08:26)
I was just going to say, it's just like NPR. It's fantastic.

Kevin Heffernan: (08:30)
Thank you.

CJ Maurer: (08:30)
It's fantastic content.

Kevin Heffernan: (08:32)
Yeah. So the latest evolution in everything we're doing, the podcast will return likely next year and the magazine will return, as I said this summer, or potentially this fall. But video production is our main thing. It's been our financial bread and butter and it's what has set us apart from other platforms digitally here in Western New York. So yeah, as you mentioned, it's a media network with all those pieces pulled together and we want to grow into something that can consistently be producing content from news to documentaries and to live off of the dollars of sponsors primarily. That is either producing partner content for businesses who want to get real specific about their story and tell it in our voice, or they sponsor some content saying, "We like what you're doing, we'd just like to put our name on it."

Kevin Heffernan: (09:30)
That was on a successful upswing up until COVID. So, I'm happy to be honest about that, that along with so many other risks, it's just dried us right up. But we're still active and still finding stories to tell and things like that. We had some money in the bank that we were putting aside for a studio for next year, so we're able to keep the lights on and keep producing content. We've had an incredible intern this year who's helped us out quite a bit too.

CJ Maurer: (09:58)

Kevin Heffernan: (09:59)
So we plan on coming out of this stronger. A weekly email has become a place where a lot of people have replied saying, "Thanks for sharing some good, positive news." That comes out later today, as soon as I wrap up a couple more videos that I can put into it. Yeah, we've got a really positive outlook for the future. Our audience is so young that as long as we keep doing what we're doing, producing content that they care about, in a voice that they relate to, we're going to be able to grow and I think, compete with the major news media in town in a matter of a couple of years.

CJ Maurer: (10:36)
That's cool. Yeah, this is really a time for leadership. Did you happen to see, somebody posted a video on YouTube and some genius person did a mashup of all of the commercials from big brands with soft piano music and slow pans across empty football stadiums and public parks and things like that. Did you happen to see that?

Kevin Heffernan: (11:05)

CJ Maurer: (11:05)
Oh you have to. I'll try to find it and send it to you afterwards. It's basically making fun of how every single big giant brand is approaching this with like the same PR strategy and literally has the same commercial and while I appreciate anybody who wants to put positive sentiments out there in the world, I think most of all it was just a bunch of people in the board room thinking, "Okay, how do we spin this for ... How do we make our brand look good through all of this?" Without actually doing much. So when I say this is a time for leadership, I don't mean just anything, I mean real substantive influence on the community and what I think that you guys can ... How you guys can benefit from that is that you guys literally have been doing it for years, before COVID.

CJ Maurer: (12:02)
It's clear to be an essential part of your mission to help businesses thrive, tell stories and I think establish a greater sense of place in terms of what it means to live in Buffalo, in Western New York. I think that you guys already have the audience probably that's looking for that, undoubtedly the resources available to continue doing that. Maybe have it peeled back a little bit, it may be a little bit harder. You have to do more things virtually. So for you guys, maybe you may have to make some compromises on production quality, I don't really know. Somebody like me, I don't have a nice camera for my business or just myself. So these Zoom calls, these recorded Zoom chats are perfect for me. It's the production quality I'm used to putting out there. But for somebody like you guys that ... maybe that's hard, but undoubtedly, well, I guess this is just a roundabout way of saying I think that we need leaders right now and I have no doubt that you and your partners and Rise will continue to be that. So keep on man, we need you. We need you.

Kevin Heffernan: (13:15)
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I think, Drew Brown and I founded this together, and there was always a bit of a pragmatic view and a wider view of what's going on in Buffalo, which is we're broke. There's definitely some money around town, but there's a lot of small businesses struggle every day. There's not a lot of population to support somebody who's got a wild idea for opening up a shop and things like that. When that happens, it makes it easier for a lot of chains to move in, be those restaurants or stores. As soon as people say, "I'm just going to go there, I'm just going to buy it from there." 85%, 90% of the money you just spent heads right out of town and these are dollars that a lot of West New Yorkers has worked their tails off for and we just shoot them right out of town.

Kevin Heffernan: (14:04)
So the idea being, let's highlight the beauty of these local restaurants, these local retailers who are taking a chance buying up inventory and hoping people walk into their store. The more that we can support, it's not just a nice thing. I think that often so often comes across like, wouldn't it be nice of you to shop local? It's a smart thing to keep that money in town and to have the owners of that shop, that restaurant then turn around and spend money with you in one fashion or another. It would make our region so much stronger if there wasn't a line 80 cars deep at Chick-Filet every day. It's a long view on the local economy, it's keep that money here however you can because then it's going to make its way back into your own wallet.

CJ Maurer: (14:52)
Yeah. I've never had Chick-fil-A.

Kevin Heffernan: (14:53)
Me either, [crosstalk 00:14:57].

CJ Maurer: (14:55)
Really? I definitely want to try it one day. But to me, this idea of waiting in line for a fast food chicken sandwich is just preposterous. I love that distinction, that supporting small business is not some nice to do thing. It's not altruism, right?

Kevin Heffernan: (15:18)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

CJ Maurer: (15:18)
It's smart, it benefits you. I like that and you've stated a pretty clear case. In terms of leadership and how Rise is continuing to lead people in this community. One of the things we just talked about before before we started recording is that you guys are working on a virtual concert. Now, it is 9:23 AM right now on Friday morning and I understand this concert is going live tomorrow night, so maybe we're looking at something like 36 ish hours from now, maybe 32, I don't know.

Kevin Heffernan: (15:56)
You're stressing me out.

CJ Maurer: (15:58)
What's going on? Tell me about this. What are you doing?

Kevin Heffernan: (16:01)
So yeah, Queen City Quarantine Concert, briefly on the background. Emily Perryman who heads off Unite By Night, she's actually also just got promoted to the head of institutional advancement over at Daemen.

CJ Maurer: (16:13)
I was just going to say, she used to be at Trocaire, right?

Kevin Heffernan: (16:16)
Yeah, yeah, she-

CJ Maurer: (16:17)
I met her once when she was at Trocaire, that name's ... Yeah.

Kevin Heffernan: (16:21)
She left for Daemen maybe a year, year and a half ago to lead up their marketing efforts and now, yeah just was promoted yesterday/ so congratulations to her, but never one to sit on her hands, she's also at Unite By Night, which she founded, which is this league of young professionals who will pick a nonprofit or multiple nonprofits and they spend 12 months with them. There's attorneys, there's accountants, there's people who can do some design and some web development and they'll help that nonprofit through everything. It's usually very small nonprofits that wouldn't have the funding to reach out to an agency or any money at all. They help get them on their feet, get them looking modern things, like that, giving them a modern communication strategy and send them on their way. So they do this for, again, the nonprofits who were working with people in our community.

Kevin Heffernan: (17:17)
There are also those ones that are so small staff that would've never thought about marketing in first place and they say, "Let's take care of her for you. Just tell us what you're passionate about, what your needs are, what your impact is, things like that." So Unite By Night is a really great group and that collaboration aspect of our name, it started with Drew and I not really knowing how to do much other than Instagram. We thought, "Well, we can do anything, we just grab the right person to collaborate with and we'll collaborate with somebody to build our website," things like that. So collaborating with Unite By Night here, it was their idea to do this Queen City Quarantine Concert. The idea being, yes, let's get some some artists back out there in front of people and let's find a way to have it help these local nonprofits that are very small. There are certainly large nonprofits in town that are doing incredible work and are very deserving of our dollars.

Kevin Heffernan: (18:10)
They're included in here too, something like FeedMore Western new York has already announced that they're critical on food supplies and cash, so they're going to be ones that will benefit from this. But there's also much smaller ones like the Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, Western New York Book Arts Center, Volunteer Lawyers Project. I'm going about this in a roundabout way of telling you about the concert, but-

CJ Maurer: (18:31)
No, no. Well what I like it is, I like ... We'll get there, right?

Kevin Heffernan: (18:34)

CJ Maurer: (18:35)
And then what I'll try and do is I'll try and cut up a little clip of it and put it out on social media, but before you tell me what's going on, I think it's important for you and me and I think quite frankly, for anybody else, to know what this is benefiting and like how this came about. So I'm glad that you're clarifying.

Kevin Heffernan: (18:52)
Yeah. Yeah. So to put it out on the table like once every bit of this hit, you heard about Lexington Ave throwing these dance parties with people glassing off porches, right?

CJ Maurer: (19:05)

Kevin Heffernan: (19:05)
My wife and I even put up a sign that said, "Listen to more music." And for a while at 5:30 each night, we were blasting out the window when the weather was a bit nicer. All throughout this, this COVID piece and that's telling because we're upset, we're a little bit fearful, or we're just losing our minds with some cabin fever and the stress of the unknown here. I think people turn to music, they turn to musicians who've written something that makes us feel better.

Kevin Heffernan: (19:33)
So that's part of this concert, a lot of those musicians, they're not just accountants by day and playing some bars on the weekends as a side gig. There's quite a few in this town who support their families off of the gigs that they get, the recording sessions that they're able to afford thanks to those gigs, and touring a little bit now and then. All of that has been taken away from them, so we want to give them an opportunity here to play. What this is going to look like is the VH1 pop-up video. So every artist pre-submitted, or pre-recorded and submitted, a 50 minute set. At the bottom we've edited on a ribbon that says, if you want to tip this artist, here's their Venmo. If you want to support the nonprofit they're paying for, here's a real quick Bitly link that you could type in on your phone while you're watching.

CJ Maurer: (20:22)

Kevin Heffernan: (20:25)
Throughout, we have little tidbits and factoids about the artist and about the nonprofit popping up like a VH1 pop-up video. Sometimes with a little photo, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, and by the end of it you're going to know and love that musician and you're going to be introduced to and grow to love that nonprofit and their work too. So over 15 minutes, all those popups coming at you, you're going to be more likely to say, "All right, all right, I can Venmo this guy five bucks," or, "I can go on that Lincoln and hand over 10 bucks." We know that not everybody watching is going to have the means. So at least by the end of it, they will be more familiar with the artist, more familiar with the nonprofit, so that when they do come back into those meetings, hopefully they remember these organizations. So we have 12 artists, so that's going to end up being about three full hours of mayhem that we have to upload.

CJ Maurer: (21:22)
That's perfect, what time does it start?

Kevin Heffernan: (21:25)
It starts at 7:00, so when I said you're stressing me out, it's that my intern and I have completed all the pop-up videos for every artist. What we need to do is we're going to string them together into 30 minutes video files. On top of these artists all doing this, we have Buffalo celebrities, Buffalebrities, hopping in, saying hello. So a couple of news anchors, couple of Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Beauts hockey team, and then founders of different organizations and things like that that are going to hop in and say, "Hello, thanks for tuning in and enjoy our next act, the Humble Braggers," and things like that.

Kevin Heffernan: (22:00)
So we've got to tie those together, tie two acts together and we end up having about a 30, 32 minute video. We'll upload those one at a time to our YouTube, to our Facebook, to our Instagram TV, so today-

CJ Maurer: (22:12)
So that's where people can watch it at YouTube, Facebook or IG?

Kevin Heffernan: (22:16)
Yeah and that's what's going to differentiate this from one of the many live shows we've seen going up. Because a live show, oftentimes if you miss it in that moment, you missed it forever. With this, it's a permanent file upload, just like any other documentary we've done or things like that. So long as those URLs don't change for those nonprofits, if you see this a month from now that you can still go there and make those donations. So we're hoping that that'll expand the impact for everyone involved.

CJ Maurer: (22:43)
It actually is a documentary as well, I would argue because think about this, I have two small children right now, four and two. One day they're going to learn about this, because I think this will be significant enough where eventually it'll be mentioned to them, or they're going to learn about it in school, or something. They're going to be like, "Wow, what was that like?" One of the things I like is we're leaving a paper trail into society and how we currently dealt with all of this now. That doesn't really exist for the Spanish flu 110, 115 years ago. Good, bad or indifferent, I think a lot of people will want to look back on this time and say, "This is what we were doing, this is how we were connecting, this is how we're making the most of it."

CJ Maurer: (23:30)
So in addition to it being something that will be fun to consume live and I guarantee you that I will, when at seven o'clock tomorrow night, I will come up to my office, I'll kick my feet up, I'll probably have two beers and I'll watch that on YouTube and that'll be fun. But in addition to that, when you're talking about serving a purpose, it serves a purpose now, but also I think months, years from now, I think that's cool. That's part of the reason why I'm doing this by the way, is because ... I mean, who am I to just have a podcast? That's why I haven't really named it and every time I refer to it, I put it in finger quotes, but a big piece of it is one, I was thinking about doing this for a really long time and now I feel like with this whole quarantine, every excuse has been eliminated.

CJ Maurer: (24:27)
And two, a big part of it was we're going through something right now and I just want to have a voice in it. I don't think that anything that I'm going to do is going to help people not catch COVID. I don't think it's going to help them recover faster, that's what these medical professionals are doing but if nothing else, if I can provide a little bit of content that a couple of people have liked, and I can look back on this and say, "All right, here's an opportunity where I just showed up." If nothing else, then I'll be happy about that. You are doing a heck of a lot more than what I'm doing, you are doing a heck of a lot more than showing up. You guys are the show.

CJ Maurer: (25:14)
I think that's really cool. Cool, as in fun but also legitimately admirable. So, good on you.

Kevin Heffernan: (25:22)
Thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah, it's funny you mentioned how that is sort of a documentary of this. Brian Grunert, friend of ours, White Bike-

CJ Maurer: (25:31)
He was on here. Did you know that?

Kevin Heffernan: (25:32)
No, I didn't know that yet.

CJ Maurer: (25:34)

Kevin Heffernan: (25:34)
Is that coming out in your next email?

CJ Maurer: (25:36)
I haven't emailed any of them out but I'm going to be emailing them out soon. Yeah, we recorded on Monday night.

Kevin Heffernan: (25:45)
[crosstalk 00:25:45] conversation.

CJ Maurer: (25:45)
It was insane. It was insane. So we spoke for about an hour and 40 minutes. We recorded on Monday night. We started recording at 9:00 and Grunert and I, I would say we're pretty friendly, meaning we're not best buds, we're not hanging out all the time, texting, daily, weekly, anything like that. I would say a couple times a year we get together and I always have a good time with him. We have respect for one another professionally and we just enjoy one another's company.

CJ Maurer: (26:25)
He was the second episode I've ever recorded. This one is the fourth and I'm still figuring out what it was. So we started just talking about how we're doing in this whole situation and we're both business owners, so we started talking a little bit about business. Then he went into politics, which I thought was really interesting because normally I don't plan for this to be a political themed thing but the thing is about him is, he's very thoughtful about it and you can see that whatever he believes politically is tied to a greater ambition of something that I feel like everybody can get behind. So even if you don't agree with his political persuasions, you agree with what his political persuasions he believes are trying to ...

Kevin Heffernan: (27:28)
Yeah, his goals.

CJ Maurer: (27:28)
Exactly. So yeah, I thought it was great and it was just really cool. We talked about certain conversations that you really only have when you're talking with Brian Grunert and it was awesome.

Kevin Heffernan: (27:43)
Yeah, I had one of those, I can't even remember now if that was this week or last week with him too over Facebook Messenger, but ultimately they loved the idea of this concert and he and his team designed us a poster that-

CJ Maurer: (27:59)
Oh, then it's awesome.

Kevin Heffernan: (28:00)
... commemorate it and at first I was like, "Oh a poster?" And he's like, "Dude, you got to think about this as a moment in time that people are going to remember and they collect posters from concerts that they've been to from tours and things like that." I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." So they're actually comping something up for us today that'll just show it on a wall in a frame, so that we are going to sell that too and give all that money to the nonprofits as well.

CJ Maurer: (28:26)
That's awesome, yeah. 100% buy one.

Kevin Heffernan: (28:27)
If we raise like 500 bucks on those, we'll divide it over the 13 so that ... sort of a fail safe too, if no donations come in during this concert. We can say, "Well we still got some money for you." So yeah, that was really a great of him and so often I'm flying by the seat of my pants in this organization and don't take a step back to think what other aspects could be built into this and stuff like that. So it's great to have people paying attention and sending in messages with suggestions of things like that too, it really helps us and [crosstalk 00:28:57].

CJ Maurer: (28:58)
Well, if you're doing something that is truly unique or hard, or you truly are innovating, or essentially taking the risk of saying ... to paraphrase Seth Godin, "Here, I made this, I hope you like it." Not knowing 100% if it's going to work or not, or whatever. If you're living on that edge, then you're always going to be just a little bit overwhelmed and in some cases maybe a lot a bit overwhelmed. So I think there is no innovation in that respect, if we can agree on that definition of innovation. There is no innovation without flying by the seat of your pants, without missing things, without having blind spots, right?

Kevin Heffernan: (29:44)
Yeah, yeah.

CJ Maurer: (29:45)
Because that's like the whole purpose, is to go into an unknown space for you and for other people and that's something that I'm still learning to be comfortable with and I'm slowly getting there but I feel that way all the time, that I'm always ... because any one person, depending on what they do for a living or what they're really good at, they could look at any aspect of my operation. Whether it is how I deliver services to clients, or what I do from project management, or accounting, or marketing. Or this, which I don't know how much I even want associated with my business or not yet, right?

Kevin Heffernan: (30:27)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

CJ Maurer: (30:27)
They could probably be like you. When we emailed about this, you gave me a couple of quick tips on how to make the podcast better, especially from a production standpoint, because you've done one. I think it's very easy to get caught up in the overwhelm of all the things you could have done, or should have done, or whatever, could be doing better. But that's just going to be the reality of it when you're trying to throw on a concert in a format that's never been done right or has rarely been done on short notice to benefit a cause and you're bringing in 15 million stakeholders. That's just how it's going to be.

Kevin Heffernan: (31:10)
Yeah, yeah. A lot of herding cats for this production.

CJ Maurer: (31:14)
Yeah, exactly.

Kevin Heffernan: (31:16)
What it's also going to require today is a creeping around multiple college campuses looking for speedier internet because the internet we're working off of from home is great for Zoom, it's great for downloading, but when it comes to uploading, at least in my neighborhood, every 15 minutes takes about two hours.

CJ Maurer: (31:37)
Oh gee, yeah.

Kevin Heffernan: (31:39)
And we've got four platforms to hit with nine, 30 minute videos, or six, seven, eight, I don't know anymore. But yeah, today and tomorrow are going to be pretty funny, but it's going to come together one way or another.

CJ Maurer: (31:56)
That's awesome, I have no doubt.

Kevin Heffernan: (31:58)
I've got multiple computers at my disposal and I may just be in the backseat of my car with all three uploading at all times, right before the show starts. But I think, one way or another, it's going to be pulled off and it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun and with the good cause in mind, sure, but do we also hope that this is a opportunity for us to introduce Rise to a new audience? Absolutely and hoping that that can come from fans of those nonprofits, or fans of those bands and that they stick around and see what else Rise has to offer either by going through our former library or seeing what comes up in the future. That's all we really hope to get out of it is that people are like, "Oh, yeah, Rise are doing good stuff." That'd be a happy day for me.

CJ Maurer: (32:47)
Yeah. Well, if I'm going to get this whole thing out with enough time to potentially get some more eyeballs to your concert and support you and support all these wonderful organizations that you're supporting, I'm going to have to wrap up this conversation soon.

Kevin Heffernan: (33:03)

CJ Maurer: (33:03)
So before we do that, why don't you give a final ... What's your quick elevator pitch on the Queen City Quarantine Concert? Tell them what it is, tell them how they cannot, how they can find it and why they should absolutely make some time, Saturday night at 7:00.

Kevin Heffernan: (33:18)
Sure. Well, I'll first thank you very much for having the opportunity to just talk about Rise and its background. Every time I do this, it puts a lot of things in perspective, so I really appreciate that and appreciate whoever's watching for checking it out. Then yeah, this concert, so Rise Collaborative, we have a Facebook and our Instagram, we're going to be using the Instagram TV function there, obviously we have a YouTube as well. On Facebook and YouTube you can set it up on your computer and you can cast it to Chrome devices or things like that in your home, your Amazon Fire, et cetera. So you can turn this onto your TV and get it cranking. As soon as one ends, every 30 minutes it'll end, you can go right back to that source and we'll have our next episode up, and our next episode up. But if you're with your phone only, hop on Instagram TV and watch the whole thing there.

Kevin Heffernan: (34:11)
You're going to see big name artists from Buffalo, like Humble Braggers. We also have a band called Liminal Space Ensemble, which is made up of people from the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Buffalo Chamber Orchestra. Then we have a couple of acts like Zak Ward, Kerry Fe, who are always putting together shows and heading up on stage with their guitar. Wild woman named Little cake who put together the most fun I've had watching music in such a long time. So every act is going to be offering something different. Some people are doing covers, some people wrote music specifically for this moment in our history and yeah, you're going to learn about all sorts of nonprofits like Volunteer Lawyers Project, Western New York Book Art Center, but also FeedMore and PUSH Buffalo and you'll be invited to support them however you can.

Kevin Heffernan: (35:05)
One of our artists reminds everyone that no donation is too small, especially at a time like this. If you set a goal to go through and give every artist a dollar and every nonprofit a dollar and everybody who did that, who watched did that, we'd be looking just fine right here, but if you've got more to give, please do and help these organizations continue to provide the good news that we're looking to find in moments like this.

Kevin Heffernan: (35:29)
They are doing the great work in the community that can either make you feel good or gives you an opportunity to volunteer and join them. They need your support very badly right now and same for these bands. As I mentioned before, you turn to them when you need comfort or when you need inspiration, you're turning to the music that bands like these are producing. So give them your support too. Then just have fun. As you said, put your feet up, grab a beer and enjoy the show. It's really going to knock your socks off. These musicians are incredible and it's going to make you very proud of your city and its artistic acumen here.

CJ Maurer: (36:09)
I mean, for one, this is a very unique production during a very unique time, so it's very memorable. For a second point, what else do you have to do on a Saturday night, you know?

Kevin Heffernan: (36:22)
Yeah, exactly.

CJ Maurer: (36:23)
So this is awesome. Kevin Heffernan, Rise Collaborative and the Queen City Quarantine Concert should be Saturday, April 25th at 7:00 PM in the year of our Lord 2020. Dude, thank you so much for talking about this, sharing a little bit more about you. I really appreciate it and maybe we'll do it again.

Kevin Heffernan: (36:44)
Awesome. Thank you so much.

CJ Maurer: (36:46)
All right, see you.

Kevin Heffernan: (36:46)

Connect with Kevin

To learn more about Kevin and Rise Collaborative, check out their website here.