MOKB: My Old Kentucky Blog

When Craig “Dodge” Lile launched My Old Kentucky Blog in late 2004, he didn’t have an inkling of the branding nightmare he was to create. It was an appropriate, clever name for a modest journal by the Louisville-born music aficionado and web developer who had moved to Indiana four years earlier.

But his project has continued to grow, first attracting national attention in the indie rock blog world, then becoming more directly involved with the local music scene via show promotion and all manner of advocacy. Thus, he’s had to make it clear to readers and public relations folks alike that he happens to make his old Kentucky home in Indianapolis.

Lile now presides over a small empire of local and national media interests, all of which he hopes serve the goal of “providing as many outlets as possible for consuming what we’re trying to champion,” that is, artisanal independent music, that which can’t typically be heard through mainstream sources.

First came myoldkentuckyblog.com, re-designed this year by local design team Lodge, and increasingly a place for well-known indie bands to exclusively preview material from upcoming releases. Then the blog begat a satellite radio show on Sirius, which has been on the air since December 2006 after being launched as part of that network’s Blog Radio initiative.

Once Lile’s show launched, he began working with Jeff DuPont, then-director of the high school station WEEM, to record performances by traveling and local bands in a classroom studio. Those sessions begat laundromatinee.com, which, in the style of sites like Blogtrotter and Le Blogotheque, features video and audio recordings of bands performing in a now-genuine studio, The Pop Machine.

But there’s more. In early 2008, Lile became fed up with seeing so many of his favorite bands skipping past Indianapolis on their Midwest itinerary. He began collaborating with Josh Baker (of Midwest Music Summit fame) to organize and promote shows under the headline of MOKB Presents, bringing to town “mid-level” acts as well as headliners like Bonnie “Prince” Billy and MGMT. And in 2010, Lile launched Roaring Colonel Records, which has thus far released a seven-inch by the band Burnt Ones, with full-length releases by four local bands in the works.

Lile hopes he can support the local music scene by leveraging the national audience he’s developed, not to mention the knowledge that he’s accrued, over the past five years. “There’s no reason Indianapolis can’t be the next Raleigh, North Carolina, Denton, Texas, Portland, Oregon,” he notes. “I think we have enough people who are supportive that want this place to be a shining point in the Midwest. We’re just trying to do everything we can to make that a reality.”

—Scott Shoger

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