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Here is why NYC’s iconic East Village Radio is coming back from the dead after a decade

EVR’s program manager Brian Turner on the left outside the radio station, Duran Duran in the studio upper right, and studio equipment on the lower right.
EVR’s program manager Brian Turner on the left outside the radio station, Duran Duran in the studio upper right, and studio equipment on the lower right.

A decade of “dead air” is about to end.

The iconic underground East Village Radio is set to go back on the air again from its original Manhattan storefront 10 years after it signed off the last time.

The small radio station — where Mark Ronson hosted a show and where superstars like Amy Winehouse and Duran Duran were known to stop by — is set to reopen in April with a new, more-cost effective business plan, its founder and owner said.

“It really left a hole in my heart closing it down because we had so much fun with this,” Frank Prisinzano told The Post in an interview from Italy, where he said he’s opening a new restaurant.

“I met every big artist in the world at East Village Radio,” he said. “It was such an amazing thing and I really hated having to close it down, but I was bleeding money like crazy.”

Prisinzano said the station will take back its old spot next to his eatery Lil’ Frankie’s on First Avenue.

Things have changed since 2014, when he shuttered East Village Radio because he was sinking $2 million into the “labor of labor,” he said.

Operational costs for broadcasting music have gone down in the age of streaming, the owner explained.

But what hasn’t changed is his mission to “give something back to the neighborhood.”

East Village Radio will reopen its studio next door to Lil’ Frankies on First Avenue in April after it shuttered its physical location in 2014, founder and owner Frank Prisinzano told The Post Wednesday. “It really left a hole in my heart closing it down because we had so much fun with this,” Prisinzano said. Courtesy East Village Radio
East Village Radio will reopen its studio next door to Lil’ Frankies on First Avenue in April after it shuttered its physical location in 2014, founder and owner Frank Prisinzano told The Post Wednesday. “It really left a hole in my heart closing it down because we had so much fun with this,” Prisinzano said. Courtesy East Village Radio
“We’re going to bring it back under the auspices of, here it is, back [again], another East Village institution,” EVR’s program manager Brian Turner (pictured) said. LP Media
“We’re going to bring it back under the auspices of, here it is, back [again], another East Village institution,” EVR’s program manager Brian Turner (pictured) said. LP Media

The radio station’s program manager Brian Turner told The Post EVR is coming back “under the auspices” of resurrecting “another East Village institution.”

“The East Village has changed quite in a bit in the years since this has been off the air, so for a lot of people it will be a brand new novelty,” Turner said. “But in general, we’re hoping to not only be reflective of the legacy of the East Village, but also the current state and the future.”

Some of the biggest names in music have graced EVR, Turner and Prisinzano said.

Those include John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, who spent six hours hanging out at the spot; and Ian McCulloch from Echo & and the Bunnymen who allegedly missed his flight to Australia because he was too busy spending time with Prisinzano.

Benny Blanco and one of Hollywood’s now-favorite producers Ronson hosted several hit shows at the station and even got Amy Winehouse on.

“It was really something special,” Prisinzano said. “We have an incredible archive of some of the most amazing artists.”

Even better, Prisinzano and Turner already have their old acts flooding in because “they all want their shows back.”

Prisinzano has been coming to the East Village since he was 11 or 12 and both men remember how punk rock the neighborhood used to be before it picked up and moved to Brooklyn.

Some of the biggest names in music have graced EVR, from Duran Duran (pictured), to Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, to Ian McCulloch from Echo & and the Bunnymen. Courtesy East Village Radio
Some of the biggest names in music have graced EVR, from Duran Duran (pictured), to Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, to Ian McCulloch from Echo & and the Bunnymen. Courtesy East Village Radio
One of Hollywood’s now-favorite producers Mark Ronson (pictured), hosted several hit shows and even got Amy Winehouse on. Instagram / @eastvillageradio
One of Hollywood’s now-favorite producers Mark Ronson (pictured), hosted several hit shows and even got Amy Winehouse on. Instagram / @eastvillageradio
Selena Gomez’s boyfriend Benny Blanco also has roots to EVR. Instagram / @eastvillageradio
Selena Gomez’s boyfriend Benny Blanco also has roots to EVR. Instagram / @eastvillageradio

It’s what inspired the owner to open the booth in 2003, saying: “It was my dream to have a say in the music world. Why not open up a radio station?”

Turner remembered what it was like running the station, saying: “In the old days of EVR, people could just be pulled off the streets and go on the air. People would hand the DJ a demo in the window and it would go on,” Turner said. “Mark Ronson would play projects in progress that weren’t OK to even be out there yet.”

At the time, it was getting around 2 million monthly listeners, and costing Prisinzano $40,000 a month in fees and payroll, they said.

When it first started, it was a pirate radio station on 88.1 FM until the FCC shut it down after two months. It was then reopened as a Live365 Internet station, according to the pair.

A decade ago, the station had around 2 million listeners, but it had to shut down after operational costs became too much. Now the dusty space (pictured) will be renovated and some of the old shows will return come April. LP Media
A decade ago, the station had around 2 million listeners, but it had to shut down after operational costs became too much. Now the dusty space (pictured) will be renovated and some of the old shows will return come April. LP Media
Operational costs will be roughly 10% of what it use to and Prisinzano is hoping to “break even.” The reopening is more about bringing back the iconic station and giving “something back to the neighborhood” then making a profit. LP Media
Operational costs will be roughly 10% of what it use to and Prisinzano is hoping to “break even.” The reopening is more about bringing back the iconic station and giving “something back to the neighborhood” then making a profit. LP Media

Now, the station will be put through Live365 again, which will cost them 10% of what they used to pay. Shows will bring in their own sponsors, according to Prisinzano.

“At this point, everything’s changed, all the licensing has changed, everything’s less expensive,” he said. “We can organize it a little bit better.”

But at the end of the day, Prisinzano said he’s not focused on profiting from the station — he just wants to “break even.”

As for the 50-square-foot studio space that is piled high with dust and old equipment, it will be rejuvenated by the time it reopens its doors and its airwaves for listeners next month, they said.