The always frustratingly informative EV Grieve site—an info hub about all the cool stuff that gets priced out of lower Manhattan—just released the sad news of the shutting down of East Village Radio. Begun in April, 2003 as a 10-watt FM demi-pirate station, EVR soon beame a vanguard in the utilization of internet radio, ultimately ammassing 1,000,000 worldwide listeners. EVR broadcasted daily from a little storefront on 1st Ave., and aside from the wide variety of sounds sent out commercial free, offered a chance for anyone from Lou Reed, bruising hardcore locals, to the DJs’ pals to come stumbling in off the street for impromptu bull sessions in between the tunes. Friends, fans and gawking tourists would gather outside, not only offering a quintessential New York experience, but harkening back to the mid-century glory days of community-building local radio.
The fault doesn’t seem to completely lie in the usual rising rents of Manahttan, instead EVR station manager Peter Ferraro blames the Congressional Digital Music Copyright Act of 1998, and it prohibitive royalty payments, mainly prohibitive to the increasingly shrinking lot of independent radio stations. Ferraro explains, “We pay a higher rate for royalties and licensing than Pandora pays. We live in a world where these behemouth music-streaming services keep going in for more capital. It’s almost like we are being penalized for our growth.”
CEO Frank Prisinzano, who makes his money as a top chef in town, and poured loads of that money into EVR, promises that he and Ferraro are thinking up ideas of where to take the EVR idea. But for now, not only the Lower East Side but a million faithful listeners have lost an utterly unique voice.