Everyone has a story to tell and Jerry Rizzo wants to be the guy to help share it.

Rizzo, 34, a resident of Garibaldi Street, is the producer of a series of podcasts featuring local residents and business owners. Available online at and on Spotify, the Radio Tavern Podcast series now includes 22 episodes of varying lengths.

A communications manager with Panasonic in Newark, Rizzo is married with two young children. He moved here from Philadelphia about eight years ago after having grown up in the Poconos and earning a degree in public relations from Penn State University in 2011. He says he makes the podcasts as a hobby, a way to use his talents to give back to the community. It currently has no sponsors or advertising. “I have a background in communications for over a decade,” he said. “I got a job with Verizon, fell in love with the area, met my wife here, am raising my family here, bought a small house in Bernardsville. “I do it just to stay sharp,” he explained. “Story telling is really my hobby. Some people have golf, some people have fishing, I like storytelling and content creation. So that’s what I like to do in my free time, put my efforts to work here in the Bernardsville community.”

The podcasts are recorded at the King Willy Studio on Claremont Road, which is managed by Adam Sparrey, also a young businessman and father of two from Basking Ridge. A native of England, Sparrey has a marketing background. He and his team design websites, apps and digital ads. It also does branding, video production, print campaigns and social media marketing for everything from large businesses to “local mom and pop places.”

Sparrey provides the studio for Rizzo’s podcast recordings at no charge. “He allows me to record in the studio,” Rizzo said. “They have such a great space here. So I pitched the idea to Adam. He’s been a huge supporter of mine and provides a nice creative space to do something like this. “Jerry is very well connected and has a great vision,” Sparrey noted. “It’s not all about, ‘let’s make money here.’ His vision is, let’s shine a light on Bernardsville and the surrounding area. Hopefully, I can help facilitate that with him using our studio and being a part of it.”

king willy studios and radio tavern podcast

Barber Shop Featured

On Friday, Feb. 24, Rizzo sat down for an interview with Briyon LiBrizzi, owner of The Dappermen’s Den, a luxury barber shop for men also located on Claremont Road.

A third generation barber who grew up in nearby Bridgewater and now lives in Flemington, LiBrizzi has been in business here for about five years. She’d previously worked at various “typical” barber shops learning the trade, including a high-end business in Bedminster, before opening her own shop in town. Noting that he’s a client of The Dappermen’s Den, Rizzo asked a lot of questions about the opening and development of her business, including the difficulty of getting through the pandemic.

His interview style is more casual and friendly than most hard news journalists. He said he strives to put his subjects at ease. “We want to create a comfortable atmosphere where they can feel free to share their story,” he said. “It’s an uncomfortable thing. I think for almost every guest, it’s their first podcast. I want to create a special experience for them. It’s exhilarating for them, they’re talking fast, they’re nervous. They talk about things they haven’t talked about in a long time or thought about in a long time. That’s the value of having a partner like King Willy giving us the space to create these memories and moments.”

“I grew up the son of a small business owner and I know a little bit at least of what small businesses are faced with in terms of marketing and getting out there,” he added. “So I just want to be here to support them with whatever they need. It’s my way of staying involved and supporting my neighbors.”

To hear the full 49-minute interview with LiBrizzi go to

Not all of Rizzo’s subjects are Bernardsville residents, but he mostly keeps it local. “Voices and stories from the Somerset Hills and beyond,” is how he promotes the series. “Pull up a seat and hear from the interesting people who are shaping the places we love.”

“The vision is not to have a Bernardsville podcast,” he explained. “But I believe in starting in my backyard.’’

To date, many guests have been business owners. Among those featured are Rachel and Morgan Colwell, owners of Hans Clothier in Far Hills; Tara Vitollo, owner of Olcott Squared in Bernardsville; Gina Barbara, owner of Lupa Apothecary in Bernardsville; and Joe Bembry, owner of 56 Degree Wine Co. in town. Other recent guests include Nick Bova, a PGA member and director of instruction at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, and Annie Ferrante, a real estate entrepreneur.

Rizzo’s first guest was his host, Adam Sparrey. He also interviewed Bernardsville Mayor Mary Jane Canose and Mark Melillo, her challenger during the 2022 election campaign. All of the past podcasts can be heard online at any time for no charge.

The Radio Tavern

The name of the series, Radio Tavern Podcast, is derived from a business in Bernardsville’s rich history.

From 1943-54, a business called the Radio Tavern was operated at 64 Bernards Ave. by Andrew J. De Flllippis, according to an article on the Mr. Local History website, Half of the house was used for radio and TV sales while the other half “became a neighborhood bar where older men would have a beer, grab a sandwich, play cards or go to the backyard and play bocce.” Several other small businesses were run out of this section of town during those years, including a butcher, grocery store, barber shop and a launderette.

The Radio Tavern reportedly closed in 1954 after DeFilippis sold the liquor license to Pistilli’s restaurant, a popular Italian eatery that used to be located in the shopping area where Bernardsville Hardware is now. “It was a business located here in Little Italy area of Bernardsville,” Rizzo said. “What I found fascinating about it was, one part of the establishment was TV and radio sales and the other part was a tavern. The convergence of technology and conversation and community – I feel like having that tie to the community. I wanted to pay a little homage to the community and get back to talking to one another face to face,” he added. “We’re doing it on an emerging kind of medium.”

Separately, Rizzo also runs a website, Visit Bernardsville, that offers “impartial information about Bernardsville businesses, events, services and destinations.” Like the podcasts, the website currently has no advertising. Rizzo also said neither are affiliated with the borough. “It’s given me an opportunity to knock on doors and get to know people and hear about their stories and support them any way I can,” he said. “A playground for me to help promote what’s great about our town.”