After More Than 10 Years, East Village Radio Is Just Getting Started
"What we've done is we've shown [the DJ's], since we've become compliant, that if you play new music and you feature new music and you help a band sell a record, that's what radio is. You know some DJs go in that studio and drink beer and party. And that's not where we're going. We're striving to be like BB6 Music, NPR. We're not striving to be like a hippie radio station in the East Village."
I asked how a personality like Ferraro's gelled with those of DJ's like AndrewAndrew, who cite the most important part of their jockey education as "learning how to be a good enough broadcaster that you can be drunk on the air and still make a quality show."
"If they didn't have listeners, they wouldn't have a show on the station," Ferraro responds. And indeed, he has not been shy about canceling shows that have not been working. Frozen Files, a 90's hip-hop show hosted by Schott Free and Matt Life drew his ire and was soon shut down. The Smith's bassist, Andy Rourke, also saw his show removed from the lineup, because "we couldn't get it right."
Ferraro comes off as a hard-ass (at one point in our conversation, he compared himself to his favorite coach, Rick Pitino, saying "if you have a job like mine and you strive to be liked by everybody, you're a loser.") But he's working for a pair of legacies: what he remembers radio to be like when he was growing up in Queens, and the musical lineage of the East Village itself.
"Listen to the words 'East Village Radio,'" he says. "It says Charlie Parker. It says The Ramones, it says The New York Dolls. Basquiat. Madonna. We've tried to make sure that we understand why we're here. If we were West Village Radio it wouldn't mean anything. The fact that we're East Village Radio says so much because of what came before us."