Strengthening Local Community Connections with 6 AM City and Ryan Heafy (Episode #74)

Ryan Heafy has created some systems that left a wonderful legacy of progress and possibility for people. Ryan is currently the Co-Founder and COO of 6AM City, the fastest-growing newsletter-first local media company in the country. Let’s learn about Ryan’s view of local media, what’s possible, and pride in our communities!

Episode Highlights


About Our Guest

A mechanical engineer by degree oversaw supply chain development for the H-60L Black Hawk helicopter transmission and led a rapidly growing manufacturing company to a successful private equity acquisition. After exiting the aerospace industry, Heafy pivoted his focus to the workforce and economic development, through nonprofit and for-profit ventures.

His a unique experience in manufacturing, civic leadership, and scaling business operations, has positioned 6 AM City to engineer the future of local media – redefining how communities engage, connect and experience the markets that 6 AM City serves. 

Stay tuned until the end to learn more about how to strengthen local community connections at 6 AM! 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t forget to go and check out the 6AMCity Website!  You can subscribe for free and see how to increase access to everyone in the markets to participate locally.

Show Notes

[00:01 – 13:58] Opening Segment

  • I introduce Ryan Heafy.
    • Bio 
  • Ryan gives a bit of background around his life and work. 
    • Childhood: Growing up in a family of engineers.
  • Connecticut.
  • Mechanical engineer.
  • Space manufacturing company.
  • The transition into the small business world.
  • Recognize toxicity.
  • Struggling with workforce development.  
  • Philanthropic journey in his life.
  • Investment in workforce development.
  • Lead and develop a non-profit program.
  • iMAGINE Upstate.
  • How to leverage technology to better our community.
  • Ryan Johnston: His business partner today.
  • Leadership program development.
  • The need for digital presence.
  • How to solve the challenges in local media.

[13:59 – 31:45] The importance of making a pause.

  • Ryan’s outlook is about looking for new ideas and possibilities.
    • Evaluation of risk and reward opportunity vs a stable and sustainable thing.
    • Job offers to go back to a nice and comfortable salary.
    • Fake it till you make it.
  • Having an entrepreneurial mindset.
    • Failure is no longer an option.
    • Recognize the change in the local market
  • Understanding the gaps in the market.
  • People need a better vehicle for communication to connect with their city.
  • The way money was provided on a local level.
  • The local media perspective a couple of years ago.
  • People losing trust and credibility in their local media.
  • Media becoming a political division
  • Ryan talks about the replacement of the way we consume content historically.
  • Everyone is a content creator today.
  • The problems of platforms such as Google, Facebook, etc.
  • Algorithm: limit the content.
  • A sustainable local model.
  • Think about how people want to consume content.
  • Driving economic impact.
  • Journalists and sellers thrive in the local media environment.
  • Bring out the best in humanity and amplify our future on The Goodness Exchange
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[31:46 –  47:43] Strengthening Local Community Connections with 6 AM City

  • The notion of Pride and Place.
    • A measure of how passionate people were about their communities.
  • South Carolina.
  • Ryan’s explains what 6 AM City is 
    • Newsletter -first local media company in the country
    • Providing local news and events to educate to encourage people to be more engaged in their community.
    • Stronger passion for community.
  • Participating boards, non-profit projects, the parental group, etc.
  • Connect local leaders with community members.
  • Economic impact.
  • E- commerce participation.
  • Make a better user experience.
  • Focus on getting a highly scalable and sustainable local media model.
  • Quality and consistency of the product.
  • Feedback from readers.
  • 24 countries across the United States.
  • Ryan’s vision of 6AM nowadays.
    • Capital and partnership with folks in different countries.
    • Operational efficiency.

[47:44 – 54:15] Closing Segment

  • How 6AM vision can be expanded.
    • Identify our top 25 cities to go to.
    • Match talent with capital to approach new markets.
    • Capital investment.
  • How to connect with Ryan and his work.   
    • Links below
  • Give a review and rating, and share this episode with others
  • Final announcements 

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