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Internet radio ushers rebirth of local airwaves

Video may have killed the radio star, but some New Yorkers are breathing life back into the airwaves.

Video may have killed the radio star, but some New Yorkers are breathing life back into the airwaves.

“I used to listen to the radio as a kid,” said Williamsburg Web developer Chris Edwards, 29. “Then overnight, every DJ played the same set. I stopped listening to radio.”

What was lacking, he said, was a sense of community. Then Edwards discovered East Village Radio, an Internet radio station that broadcasts from a tiny storefront on First Avenue at First Street.

“They play genres you wouldn’t normally hear,” Edwards said. He now tunes in several hours a week.

EVR general manager Peter Ferraro told Metro he has watched the station grow from a pirate radio operation in 2003 to a full-fledged Web station that now reaches over 90,000 listeners a day.

There are 98 traditional radio stations in the New York metro area. Meanwhile, hundreds of Internet radio stations like EVR and Barnard College’s WBAR have all rapidly increased listenership in the last few years.

Heritage Radio, for example, is devoted to the food industry and broadcasts out of a converted shipping container in the backyard of Roberta’s pizzeria in Bushwick.

"New York is a town of foodies," said Katy Keiffer, co-host of the show "The Main Course" with Heritage Radio founder Patrick Martin, "We have local chefs on, local food writers, a lot of our content is New York driven."

Launched in 2009, Heritage radio has bloomed- from a handful of daily visitors to over 2500 a day.

"Every week we see an uptick," said Keiffer, "There are no traditional radio shows that do what we do."

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.

 
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