Governor Christie Releases Plans on the Future of NJN

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced today the state has reached a deal to transfer operations of the state-owned New Jersey Network to WNET-TV in New York. NJN will be known as NJTV. The deal involves a partnership between WNET and Steve Adubato, Jr which would mean the end of NJN News and all other NJN programs.

NEWS STORY: Assembly Budget Committee Convenes Hearing on Future of NJN
NEWS STORY: WNET to Takeover the Operation of NJN
FULL PRESS CONFERENCE: Legislators Hold Press Conference on NJN Takeover

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53 Responses to Governor Christie Releases Plans on the Future of NJN

  1. Dianne Ashton says:

    I very strongly oppose this action. NJ citizens need a Trenton-based news reporting where we can find news we need to be informed citizens. WNET focuses on NY and WHYY focuses on Delaware and Philly. Only NJN focuses on NJ.
    I distrust the motives of politicians who limit voter access to news coverage about them. Christie is giving me another reason to vote against him and the Republican party at upcoming elections.

    • Hellene says:

      And this nonsense will work out as well as expecting Germany and Italy to reflect and stand up for the interests of France.

  2. john says:

    Awesome. The last outlet for objective news is gone. I’m so excited that NJN will now become the mouthpiece for the governor and his rich buddies.

  3. Jennifer Carter says:

    What a shame…

  4. ann hodgkins says:

    This is a very good move on a number of levels.
    Public broadcasting should be supported by the individuals who watch and listen to the programming.
    I support WQXR and think it is a much better station since no longer affiliated with The NY Times.
    The broadcasting and back office staff should not be NJ state employees.
    Let the professionals who know programming and fundraising run the station.

    • njpatriot says:

      Ann,
      The fabulous staff at NJN has been running the station for more than 40 years. I am not sure what it would take for someone to be considered a professional in your opinion, but they are more than qualified.

      Cutting staff to 20, handing over money to outside entities, and handing over the reins to PA and NY so NJ has nothing is not a good move on any level.

      • ann hodgkins says:

        NJPatriot,

        Perhaps you did not hear/see the televised announcement
        There are stipulations in the contract, yes legally binding contract that are very clear about NJ news and programming continuing. Also NJ holds the FCC licenses which gives NJ control.
        The contract is for a term of five(5) years.
        Mr.Shapiro has a good track record and credentials.

        People do not appear to understand that in difficult economic times changes are bound to happen.
        Isn’t it better to keep the station up and running rather than sinking into oblivion?

        • njpatriot says:

          Anne,

          As an NJN supporter I have closely followed this story. The contract requires at least 20 hours a week of New Jersey programs and live coverage of events such as State of the State speeches and November elections. But given WNET’s track record in Long Island, where it took over WLIW, there is good reason to be skeptical. The required programming was not delivered. Shapiro says the terms were being met until the recession hit. I guess in his estimation contracts don’t matter when times get tough. Perhaps I will try the same approach with my mortgage company.
          While I very clearly understand that difficult economic times require change, whatever the state saves in the way of money, it will be losing something worth a whole lot more — especially now, when the media landscape is shrinking, leaving New Jerseyans with fewer sources than ever for finding out what is happening in their state and in their communities.

  5. Frank P. says:

    Why do we need a House and a Senate when one man can make a decision to send millions of dollars worth of taxpayer funded assets to New York? NJN keeps New Jersey citizens informed of political news and happenings affecting NJ citizens. WNET is in New York and will provide little or only token news about New Jersey, no matter what promises are made behind closed doors. It will be a sad day when there is no more “NJN Nightly News,” Reporters Round Table,” On the Record,” and so many other New Jersey centric programs, programs brought to us each day, and throughout the week by a dedicated and professional team of soon-to-be unemployed New Jersey citizens.
    When, if ever, will we be getting some good news?

  6. Joan Ferrando says:

    As usual, the governor and his millionaire cronies are doing what is good for them rather than the people of NJ. Shame on Steve Adubato for being a part of this take over.

  7. Louis says:

    I am horrified, but expect no better from this Governor. I am, sadly, not surprised. We already have Channel 13! We do not need two Channel 13’s, one with a flashy Christie-, I mean, Jersey-varnish. Do any of us watch Caucus NJ or whatever ridiculous excuse for NJ programming Channel 13 airs currently? Did they not even discontinue Inside Trenton as I recall it was once called? NJN News and NJN is one of a kind. We receive New Jersey news that no other news organizations that currently exist or that can be conconcted offer or could offer. We as New Jerseyans have been dealt an intellectual blow and there is a void which cannot be filled, will not be filled. Governor Christie, can you not take press even if it is positive?! This is King out of state Czar taking over public media. Not Republican or Democratic media. How dare you? New Jersey is not Alabama. Take your conservative right-wing lunacy and keep it in Mendham or wherever you reside outside Drumthwacket or just get on with your show and run for President! You WONT carry New Jersey!

    Louis Koch
    Tenafly

  8. Timothy Frith says:

    Will NJTV air live New Jersey Lottery drawings?

  9. Peter Crisitello says:

    Back in 1960 PBS stole the only Broadcast network in NJ and made it into WNET. Today the governor has given away the alternative created by the state to fill the gap that event created. While i do not like the outside interests that will be running the organization or the minisqual staff allocated to its future, I wish them well in their endeavor and hope that NJ will not be forgotten, again?!

    One programming comment I would like to see is the continued simulcast and or online retrival of the new nightly news program NJ Today as I like a lot of other people work off hours and do not have access to TV but can currently get the NJN Nightly News on my computer, keeping me informed on state issues and events.

  10. Sanen says:

    Why should any state have a role in broadcasting? What other states operate networks? Brings the state in line with the rest of the country.

  11. Shevi says:

    “There is an absolute requirement in the agreement between the state and WNET for a nightly news program.” Later they say this news program will be on at 6PM and 11PM. NJN News will be replaced by NJTV news, and NJTV’s news will not be under the state’s control, which should make it freer to report the news than before. They also talk about expanding educational programing, and bringing more of that online so that anyone can access these programs at any time.

  12. B. Murray says:

    This is really frightening.
    Since when does a Governor have the power to take over a PBS station?

    I guess since his goal has been to destroy public education and teachers in NJ,
    it only makes sense to destroy NJN, as well. After all, we can’t have people receiving fair and unbiased news and educational programs, now, can we?????

    This governor makes Nixon look like Snow White. Soviet Union? Berlin Wall?
    What the heck is he talking about????????

    I’ll donate everything I can to stop this.

  13. Igor Golioto says:

    What I considered to be the single best source of New Jersey news and my basis for being a well informed voter has been taken away. It is a terrible day for NJ citizens.

  14. PamelaofthePoconos says:

    Hopefully you recognize me as an enthusiastic fan of the current news team; please realize that I share your concern for your personal futures as well as the general loss of the only totally credible news source I know.

    I was disheartened to hear the names of those who will be taking the helm. The list includes many who did not serve the Republic well during the 2008 Presidential Primary. As for patterning the new endeavor in a manner similar to The News Hour, Brooks & Shields, who were supposed to serve as point and counterpoint, united to praise Obama and criticize Clinton. Watch any of their performances during that time; I believe you will see the bias. Gwen Ifill of the Friday night round table, was shameless in her favoritism of Obama. The rest of the PBS team was no improvement on the bias, as I recall. Nonetheless, Clinton did garner a majority of the popular vote. But that did not deter Steve Adubato from showing up on mainstream TV Shows to demand that Clinton quit stealing Obama’s spotlight.

    The very best to you at NJN News. In today’s climate, responsible reporting is not rewarded. Yours is a case in point.

    BTW, you and Neil Shapiro may be surprised at the numbers of people who share my opinion. Again, my best thanks to you all.

  15. Lloyd Khomar says:

    this is a crime! how tell me is the NJ government getting out of broadcasting when the requirements of the “deal” specifically require control of the government about the content and quality of the broadcasting.AND the State of NJ will retain ownership of the broadcast licenses.???
    secondly many areas will no longer have radio service and several cable and broadcast TV venues will cease to exist leaving vast area of NJ in the dark.
    third NJN is a communist entity? comparing the cessation of State subsidized NJN ( and Licensed) broadcasting to the fall of the berlin Wall!

  16. Joseph Zalescik Fire Commissioner says:

    This is a reduction of state employees to save taxpayer money. The programming will be fine.

  17. Nick Tambe says:

    I dont watch it…..So why do I have to pay for it.

    Go Christie Go!!!

    We are not rich (household well under 100K/yr),
    Infact my wife and I have lost our jobs (new jobs since 2009 but much less money)

    Govt spending should apply to all including the wealthy, it is Fair.

    Again I do not watch it so why do I have to pay for it.

    • Lisa Emmons says:

      I do not use the turnpike, or route 295, but I pay for that as state infrastructure. It brings jobs and helps the economy of the state, and when things effect the economy of the state I live in, I expect to be informed and responsible.
      That ideal has come to an end now that the bully has given away our right to free speech in NJ, and took away our public auditorium (NPR and NJN). They were there so that we might have some knowledge and some say in how our politics are run amongst us.
      For less than 1% of our total taxation, he felt it was too close to his fat a** to allow us to follow, and sold us all out. He also cost the state more jobs, something no one needs in this economy. Heck, most of our current state employees live in Pennsylvania!! Not to mention every successful state arena is carried by a ‘New York” team (we get to keep Xanadu) – whoopie!
      And where did he get the idea that he had any say in the content and coverage of the station? Was he elected Governor or director and editor?
      Also, is it legal for the governor to act independently and sell a publicly owned asset? I don’t recall being asked to vote on this issue.
      If you share this feeling please contact your congressman/ congresswoman and state that you rights are more important than discount helicopter rides and limo service.

      THANK YOU!! WE NEED PUBLIC UNBIASSED COVERAGE FOR OUR STATE!!! There is no state coverage like NJN!!

      This is the only media I know of that actively covers the whole state – even the Star Ledger is losing the battle!!! SOS!!

      PS – I do donate when I can, but since my taxes are already so high, I rarely have a dime to spare.

  18. john williams says:

    when i was hired in 1982 (as a motion picture sound recordist) now one of 12 cameramen that cover this state, NJ Nightly News was co produced by WNET 13 and several million dollars from them as well …they were under fire to fulfill their licencing agreement to NJ…they (WNET) had people in our newsroom and technical staff, then over the years they left the newsroom and management and over the last several years have given NJN ZERO dollars and still aired our NJ Nightly News, fulfilling their obligation to provide NJ coverage…now we have come full circle …what a sin… JHW

    • Robert Heiney says:

      I started my career in television at NJN back when it first signed on the air in 1971, when then Governor Cahill pushed the button to air the first program. We produced a boat load of programming, most of it NJ based and some with national aspirations. Ever day was busy recording something, and on weekends, a lot of us gave up our free time to air sporting events no one else would even consider. All with a NJ angle. Granted, we had to climb up the backs of WHYY and WNET, but we held our ground, and I’d bet no one ever knew the shoestring we put stuff together with. It all looked just as professional as the other bigger guys.

      I can thank NJN for the knowledge and experience it gave me to move up the ladder of broadcast engineering. I understand the economics of the decision. I sat and sweated out numerous lay off notices throughout the years there, but I think Governor Christie is making a huge mistake. NJ will once again be the arm pit of both Philly and NY.

  19. joshpib says:

    Christie, the callous creep, did not even have the decency, integrity, and common sense to thank the employees of NJN for their years of dedicated service. Instead, he thanked his cronies and lackeys. Typical classless act.

  20. Raymond James says:

    I give full support to the Governor taking this action. NJN cannot, with a straight face, say that they have served
    New Jerseyans. They have served the Democratic Party quite well, but not the citizens of NJ. They totally supported Toricelli – remember him – and the criminal McGreevy administration. They supported Florio, McGreevy and Corzine as they sold the NJ taxpayer down the river. As a News organization they are supposed to be unbiased, and that is a claim they can never make. They are just another mouthpiece for the NJ Democrats.
    A State run/supported News organization would have aproblem being clean anywhere. New Jersey, as corrupt as it is, could never have a clean State-run news organization and NJN is daily proof of that. Anyone who supports NJN in this matter is certainly not part of the solution. At long last, the pendulum is swinging in favor of the citizens of New Jersey, and that is not due to the Democratic Party (and it never could be), nor is it due to the Republican Party, it is only due to the fact that the citizens of this weary state elected a leader – and his name is Chris Christie.

    • njpatriot says:

      @Raymond James – It is clear to me from this comment that you do not watch NJN news: “As a News organization they are supposed to be unbiased, and that is a claim they can never make.”
      NJN is the ONLY unbiased news source available in NJ and certainly the only one covering issues relevant to NJ.
      The citizens did not elect a leader, they elected a bully. And that bully is handing the station over for free, along with $4 million+ to the son of one of his most visible backers. People should be outraged by that, even if they believe that some plan is needed for the transfer of NJN.

      • John Kay says:

        I’m sorry, but NJN is by no means an unbiased source of news and information for the people of New Jersey.
        As a lifelong resident and frequent watcher of Ch.50, the station has a decidedly liberal/left, democrat slant.
        The news broadcast does betray a bias, however unintentional, and a program like “Due Process” doesn’t even pretend to be even-handed.
        There are more examples; On The Record and Reporter’s Roundtable, but the 2 I cited are the most egregious.
        The governor is correct; tax money should not be used for programming, especially since it advocates against one set of taxpayers to further the goals of another.

        • njpatriot says:

          @John Kay – Sorry, but I would need examples of this egregious bias you claim to have witnessed as I have not experienced any such thing from NJN. If you want bias, wait until all we are left with is Fox News.
          I also fail to see how the governor is correct in his assessment of government involvement in Public Television. Libraries, another important public resource, are not run for profit; their shelves are not stocked with books chosen by gubernatorial mandate, just as NJN is not a product of the former Soviet-era Russia thinking as Governor Christie has claimed.

          • John Kay says:

            Of course you’re not going to see it, they come from your leftist viewpoint, as your Fox News remark tells us.
            It’s fine if they are a left-wing broadcasting entity; all 3 network newscasts, and most major newspapers are, but the difference is taxpayers should not be funding it.
            They absolutely have 1st Amendment rights, just don’t force me to pay for it.

        • njpatriot says:

          Sorry, wrong again, John: I am a registered Republican. I just happen to be one who is educated enough to determine bias where it exists. As examples – Guardian UK is decidedly left and Fox News is clearly right, and both are wrong in being such when it comes to reporting news. News reporting should be just that, without slant one way or the other, and that is what NJN has been for the last several decades that I have been watching.
          As expected, no examples of the egregious bias you claim to witness regularly were cited.
          I am opposed to this because it is a bad deal and a terrible loss for New Jersey that will end up costing taxpayers more than the paltry sum we pay for NJN. Not because of some non-existent issue that is left or right.

          • John Kay says:

            Sorry, but I don’t have time to educate you.
            If you want examples, simply watch for yourself. It started in 1996: http://www.njn.net/television/njnseries/dueprocess/
            You will find the producers and the overwhelming majority of the guests come from the left. Not to mention the two hosts.
            Choosing not to see doesn’t mean it’s not there.
            And by the way, I was a registered democrat, who happened to grow up to see the world as it is.
            We’re certainly never going to agree so enjoy your non-biased njn programming.
            You certainly didn’t have reach across the pond to find a decidedly left newspaper. All you have to do is look to 620 Eighth Ave. in N.Y.C. “All the news that fits, we’ll print.”
            Have a good day.

        • njpatriot says:

          ‘Education’ is not what I requested, John. Merely one example of the bias you claim to consistently see with NJN. If this were so very ‘egregious,’ as you state, surely it would not require much time to provide one example.
          You clearly have an issue with the media in general and are using this divisive ‘right or left’ behavior to try to make this horrible deal about party lines when it is absolutely not. You missed the entire point that this is NOT a party issue.
          I vote republican as I am fiscally conservative; however, poor choices such as these are causing me to reconsider my support of this administration.
          I will not comment on this again to continue your ‘liberal media’ rant and take the focus away from the real problem at hand. People oppose this NJN deal with WNET because it is a horrible choice, regardless of where anyone stands to the left or to the right.

  21. Jennifer Carter says:

    @ Sanen – The state of Georgia also runs their Public Broadcast as a statewide entity with local transmission stations. One could argue that is it a more efficient model than each city running thier own entity. There was a proposal to hand over the operations to Montclair college, but Christie apparantly decided against it. In my experience, running the stations through local colleges and universities is more the norm. It provides a really good learning opportunity for broadcast/journalism students.

    @ Nick Tambe – Your reasoning sounds like those folks who don’t want to for pay school taxes because they don’t have any children in school. NJN is the one entity that reliably covers state legislative matters. That is a pretty valuable resource to help keep citizens informed. And it costs A LOT less than school taxes.

    • Nick Tambe says:

      Yes….absolutely, they need to stop spending also and start teaching……stop buying computers…..start using chalk…..and use the same baseball used in the previous game instead of a new one. The system has waste built into it and it needs to stop. That means change and cutbacks to programs that do not apply to everyone.

      I am a citizen of NJ for all of my life, I have plenty of family in the same school system that i went thru and I can see how my tax dollar is wasted….they are very good at it and it needs to stop on all levels.

      I am tired of paying everyone elses causes. Informatiion does nothing except tell me how they are wasting my money. I dont need to know because i cant change it becuase i am not in a position to do it…….
      So I hired Christie to do it for me. Go….Christie….Go!

      Change, cut backs, and lay offs are tough but it needs to be done.

      • Ken says:

        “stop buying computers…..start using chalk”

        Holy cow, it’s no wonder you were laid off and had to take a pay cut.

    • njpatriot says:

      @Jennifer Carter – An excellent point about the cost of NJN versus school taxes. For how little NJN costs the taxpayers, it is one of the states most valuable assets.

      @Nick Tambe – “stop buying computers…..start using chalk…” Really? I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you cannot possibly be serious and cannot think that anyone can compete in today’s job market without computer skills.

  22. Timothy Frith says:

    What is NJTV?

  23. Fred says:

    Kudos to Aron, always the professional with class, even in that setting.

    Someone from those fiercely independent and inquisitive non-public media enterprises should have asked Adubato if he had any conflicted feelings. They also should have asked him if it could be interpreted as a measure of the governor’s character that he had no expression of appreciation for the NJN staff, many of whom have been there for decades. (Of course, the very rationale for the decision — that the governor (who didn’t want a philosophical discussion at the news conference) felt imperiled by his potential capacity, at least philosophically, to involve himself in programming — is banal.

    When I need the information, NJN is a relevant source. It is what it is supposed to be.

    Smart for the bluster and interview-as-news crowd (smoke and mirrors) to dismantle this while they can.

  24. Susie Q says:

    I donate to NJN. The state should give it enough time to build a donor base and develop other private funding sources.

    Why link to WNET? Most of S Jersey doesn’t get it. Why not link to WHYY?? This is unfair to South Jersey.

  25. Ellen says:

    Just picture a quisling head of France turning over its airwaves to Germany and Italy. The mind boggles. Would the French people tolerate such treachery , or call a general strike?

  26. Chuck says:

    As usual, the administration claims they are saving the taxpayers money. Now that NJN TV and radio are to be split, It will now cost me, a NJ taxpayer, twice as much to fund public broadcast as before or I will give only half as much as before to both entities. Also, if I heard correctly, the TV licenses are being retained by the state, but the radio licenses are being acquired by the new entities, from New York and Philadelphia. NJN News aired at 7PM, in deference to not interfering with area news from the big three broadcasters; now, according to the Governor, NJ news will air at the “traditional” hours of 6PM and 11PM. We can watch one or the other. I cannot really tell the difference between WNET and WLIW programming now, other than that WLIW seems to be delayed by one day. I imagine that means NJTV will be delayed by two days. WNET, WLIW and NJTV by being bigger will definitely be stronger and more likely to survive; that is the only positive result I can see. However, we must remember that this governor did receive the majority of the vote while representing a party usually considered in the minority in this state. The people have spoken, whether for good or ill. To all at NJN, TV and radio, thank you profusely for your time, your talent, your intellect and your perseverance over the years from one who has listened to you for almost 40 years; I will miss you terribly.

  27. Dianne Shatin says:

    Total disgust… the State of New Jersey is comprised of tremendous people; communities; resources/ natural beauty; fabulous talent in all areas…NJN belongs to the people of the State of New Jersey…it is an authoritarian regieme close to that of a tyrant to: 1) steal from the people of the State of New Jersey their air waves; their State vehicle for communications; news; show casing talent in all areas from Cape May to Sussex County…these public tv and radio stations belong to the people of New Jersey… not to the Governor; and ditto not to the Legislature…. why are you not all absolutely outraged something this precious… this present in your lives… is being sold off ?????? For what??? NJN isn’t what costs NJ tax payers… Please WAKE UP people…

    what cause your property taxes to sky rocket are all of the debt issued by all of the Authorities in but not of NJ with the authority to issue debt… huge, enormous debt… debt so huge the Port Authortity of NY and NJ is the largest debtor in the USA!!! And NJ property owners will be paying for year to come.

    Unless and until the Governor steps up to the plate, freezes all of the Authorities empowered to issue debt from doing so; then orders his Comptroller General to conduct a review of debt issuance, expenditures, and operating costs of each of these authorities, for instance, the NJ Turnpike Commission, the people of NJ will be bamboozled into losing their most precious resource and talent pool that links us by informing us whether it be the news; opera and music; science; literature; the pleasing and nuturing programming for children and youth and so much more…

    It is astonishing the lack of value NJerseyans and the NJ Legislature place on such a home grown treasure.

    Please don’t let them steal NJN and NJ’s air waves for a relatively miniscule savings… instead demand the Governor go after the really huge excesses with gigantic savings for NJ tax payers.

  28. Thomas Swist says:

    While I agree with trimming the fat from the state budget, I believe this move is an error on the part of the governor. Montclair SU would have been a good home for NJN. I also feel WNET will treat NJTV as a step-child.

    I don’t know if this was the best move, but let’s hope it works out.

  29. PamelaofthePoconos says:

    I wonder if the governor is following any of this. I’d had great hopes for him, but there’s nothing fair or rational about this turn of events. Now it is a matter of hours and I am finding it difficult to stay tuned.

  30. Priscilla Iannone says:

    My state is being dismantled, piece by piece. This governor has done more damage to our state and our economy than any other politician I can remember. When all of us that are out of work or having our contributions to the pension and healthcare increased have no money to spend, businesses will start hurting. We’ve already lost more jobs this year and now we’re losing our only source of NJ news. I’m so sorry NJN employees, I have listened for years and I’m so sorry for you and for all of us that have enjoyed your programming.

  31. Ron says:

    I will never watch Steve Turncoatbato again.

    • PamelaofthePoconos says:

      Nor will I, Ron.

      To NJN staff at all levels. congratulations on a job very well done and best wishes as you prepare to piece your professional lives back together. I will attempt to watch your farewell show tonight. After that, there will be nothing on Thirteen that I care to see.

  32. ron boris says:

    I just sent a donation in to NJN – do I get a refund? Is this not a violation of an agreement? Could ALL PEOPLE WHO DONATED in the last year sue the government? Our money was taken with the idea of another year of PBS/NJN broadcasting.

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