Following months of rumors and speculation regarding the future of the New Jersey Network and its TV channels, Jersey-centric programming and seven radio frequencies, New Jersey governor makes major announcement Monday morning. After that NJ state legislators and union leaders held a press conference with many asking Christie to reconsider the move.
ATLANTIC CITY — Not that it was a big surprise, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) held a press conference in Trenton early Monday morning, June 6, announcing his plans to severely change what has been a major source of news, politics, arts and information statewide for decades — namely the New Jersey Network (NJN).
Back in April, Christie made public his intention to terminate NJN's 129 state employees, saving a projected $11 million in the state budget. For months rumors have been swirling around the tri-state region about which potential private entities may take over the network, which operates five TV channels, as well as a radio station with seven frequencies that reach all over the Garden State, as well as parts of New York and Pennsylvania.
Just last week, it was reported that opposition to Christie's plan was mounting among New Jersey legislators and union leaders.
NJN first went on the air in 1971 — after the ground work was laid down in 1968 — to provide programming centered around the many parts of New Jersey — not only for residents of the Garden State, but also for those living in the nearby markets of New York and Philadelphia.
Although the Atlantic City-area Richard Stockton College of New Jersey was once rumored to be the entity taking over NJN, Christie announced Monday morning that New York's WNET-TV would oversee NJN and would change its name (on TV) to NJTV.
According to reports, all of NJN's radio licenses will go to Philadelphia's WHYY and New York Public Radio, which operates WNYC and WQXR. (Read a post on the Wall Street Journal's Web site here.)
Monday afternoon, union officials and state legislators met at a separate press conference — which was broadcast live, like much of the major political events in the state over the past 40 years, on NJN's radio stations — to discuss the announcement and weigh the pros and cons of leaving NJN untouched.
See video of both press conferences by clicking on one of the below screen images: