Last night, New Jersey Network ended its 40-year run of providing state news and information.
Due to budgetary concerns, NJN’s days were numbered. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced last month that WNET, the parent company of Channel 13 and Channel 21/WLIW would handle all programming and services under a five-year deal. The broadcast license continues to be maintained by the state.
“WNET is uniquely qualified to maintain and grow the network for New Jersey and its cititzens,” Christie said. “WNET brings a wealth of resources to the table, including an award-winnning education department that provides video and other materials to teachers; an innovative interactive department with a solid technology infrastructure and other back-office functions that will help NJN strive. I am confident that WNET will continue to provide the excellent local and national public television programming that New Jersey residents have relied on for more than 40 years.”
The network, renamed NJTV, launches today at 6 p.m. with a news program–NJ Today. The show airs at the same frequency (four broadcasts per day) and times as previously held by NJN. In the fall, WNET is expected to upgrade NJ Today to a more robust program with a focus on in-depth interviews similar to the PBS NewsHour.
“We are pleased with the Governor’s confidence in our ability to add value to New Jersey’s public television presence,” said WNET president and CEO Neal Shapiro. “It has been a challenging few years for public television, and all media companies around the country. Consolidation has become the way to streamline operations while continuing to serve the community. WNET has used innovation, ingenuity, and partnerships to withstand the current challenges and enhance our value to viewers. We are ready and willing to do the same for New Jersey public television.”