Millvale radio station displaced in fire moves to Mr. Smalls
The River's Edge online radio station has found a new home in Millvale's Mr. Smalls entertainment complex.
The move follows a recent fire at its studio in the Millvale Studios building on North Avenue on June 19.
Mike Speranzo, who owns Mr. Smalls with his wife, Liz Berlin, said in an announcement that Millvale Studios was “still smoldering” when he contacted station co-owner Brian Crawford about permanently relocating to the space.
“I think what you guys are doing for the local community is extremely important,” Speranzo said. “Supporting local music is the lifeline to, I think, our community's success. … It makes our scene more healthy. It makes our culture more vibrant. It makes our community more friendly.”
The River's Edge streams local, original music and hosts nine podcasts. Brian Crawford started it as a podcast, then joined forces with fellow co-owners Sarah Kremer and Tom Benoit to form the network two and a half years ago.
Crawford started the Mr. Smalls announcement by ringing the same cow bell he rang during his station's first broadcast.
“The original studio was a really small closet in an attic and the reason why was because I live in an old house and none of the rooms have very good acoustics. I found a room that worked and it happened to be in this old closet in the attic,” he explained during an interview.
Two years ago, The River's Edge moved to a small office at Millvale Studios, which Crawford said helped the station gain credibility. Guests often felt inspired by the art found within the studio's gallery.
“It (Millvale Studios) provided so many opportunities for us. We grew from just a podcast to 500 listeners a month to over 2,000 to 10,000 all in that space.”
The station will continue to transition in its new four-room studio at Mr. Smalls.
“This was actually the first recording studio space that was built in this complex. Our original recording studio was at 139 Grant Avenue and, when we purchased this church, this was the area we renovated first so that we could continue our recording business,” Berlin said.
Anti-Flag and Black Eyed Peas have recorded at Mr. Smalls. The River's Edge will have the opportunity to facilitate studio performances, such as when art rock band Working Breed kicked off the announcement with a song.
Lead singer Erika JC Laing was with Tara Molesworth editing their inaugural “Petticoat Rule” podcast for The River's Edge at Millvale Studios when the fire erupted; no one was injured.
“It's a cool story because you can see how Millvale pulled together and rallied and made a nice new home for The River's Edge, which is also something that supports local music and businesses.”
At the new location, Laing hopes she and Molesworth will have the chance to interview musicians participating in the weekly Acousticafe open stage show at The Funhouse @ Mr. Smalls for their podcast focusing on women in the music industry.
Crawford said the station will create branded content for Mr. Smalls. The partners aim to increase the public's awareness of the local music scene through the collaboration, he said.
Mr. Smalls also has a North Side recording and mastering studio.
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.