June 6, 2011
NJLM ON NJN’S FUTURE. KEEP FOCUS ON STATE AND LOCAL PROGRAMMING
Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista Township, President of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, released the following statement regarding the future of New Jersey public broadcasting.
“New Jersey Network television and radio stations have provided the people of our State with news, information and perspectives on New Jersey issues that were not available anywhere else. That coverage has enriched our appreciation for the history and cultures of people and places throughout New Jersey, our awareness of New Jersey political and public policy developments, and our sense of community and common purpose. Loss of New Jersey centered content to be carried on those outlets would jeopardize all of that.
“Before the birth of NJN, New York stations dominated the airwaves in the North, and Philadelphia stations controlled broadcasting in the South. For years, the people of New Jersey could only consider themselves second class citizens of the electronic media markets. New Jersey issues and events, when they were covered at all, seemed almost an afterthought on the evening news. And any thoughtful analysis of New Jersey public policies and politics was virtually non-existent on either television or radio. Alone among the Fifty States, New Jersey had no television station to call its own.
“But 40 years ago, on April 5, 1971, WNJT in Trenton went on the air, to be joined by three other NJN television stations over the next two years. NJN's radio network began operation on May 20, 1991, when WNJT-FM in Trenton signed on; eight other stations would be established over the following seventeen years.
“Those stations have reported on events that would never be covered by New York or Philadelphia stations. If not for NJN, most of our fellow citizens would never know how fine the school is in Stockton, or about the train in Richland Village in Buena Vista Township, or the new Dispatch Center in Monmouth County or medical, educational or technical breakthroughs in the Garden State, or about the Highlands or the Pinelands. They would never have learned about our farmers, our teachers or construction on the Turnpike.
“Whatever the future holds for those stations, New Jersey citizens need to be assured of quality New Jersey focused and New Jersey based programming. That must be the primary consideration of State policy makers determining the future of the network.
“Accordingly, we appreciate the Governor’s efforts to protect that resource in the proposed television contract with WNET. We encourage the Legislature to diligently review that contract, as well as the proposed future of our public radio stations, in order to ensure the same high quality product that has been professionally and passionately delivered to our State by the folks at NJN.”
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.