Monday, July 11, 2011

The End of NJN Radio

It didn't get nearly enough press. Last week an entire public radio chain was snuffed out. It was like there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.  The whole process took abotu 6 months if you start with the actual papers and not just the stumping. Their last day was last Thursday, and that day was the end of the New Jersey Network; a Public Radio and Television Broadcasting Network. Gov. Christie [R] of New Jersey chopped his state in half, more-or-less drawing the line at Interstate 195, and only letting the networks butt heads around Brick Township. The Northern territory went to New York's 93.9 WNYC, and South Jersey for the Philly gang at 90.9 WHYY. The television network was spared and reorganized as NJTV now owned by, the parent company of WNET-TV and WLIW-TV.

I'll now callously skip over the massacre of the TV stations and focus on radio as I am known to do and go straight for the radio. WNJT 88.1 Trenton NJ, WNJY 89.3 Netcong NJ, WNJP 88.5 Sussex NJ and WNJO 90.3 Toms River NJ, and even the repeater W285EE have become "New Jersey Public Radio," owned by New York's WNYC. Only a year ago New Your Public Radio (WNYC) owned just WNYC-FM on 93.9 and WNYC-AM on 820 kHz. Then they picked up 105.9 WQXR for a classical service Even W228BI, their 93.5 repeater in Smithtown, NY. It is being replaced by another on 105.7  but I don't' think it's on air yet. This purchase effectively doubles their number of transmitters,

WHYY was the much smaller entity, consisting of just the one FM and the one TV station. (Maybe WRTI was giving them an inferiority complex.) But now they're audible clear to the shoreline. They have assimilated WNJB 89.3 Bridgeton NJ, WNJM 89.9 Manahawkin NJ, WNJN 89.7 Atlantic City NJ, WNJS 88.1 Berlin NJ and last but not least, WNJZ 90.3 Cape May Court House NJ. I broke it out on a map roughly estimating coverage area. Blue is WHYY, red is WNYC . Here's what that looks like:
(You can zoom in for a bit more detail if you want) The stations were sold at bargain basement prices to say the least. Why BIA/Kelsey would put their name to this trash I cant guess. The stations they compared them to for price reference were in podunk markets, some even in unrated market areas. It stinks of bias. The total market value was estimated to be $4.2 million for the entire network. And while none of these stations was KTRU or WRVU... I maintain they were undervalued in this estimate. The whole NJ treasury doc in pdf is here, but I'll cut to the chase.
WNJB - $469,000
WNJM - $144,000
WNJN - $563,000
WNJO - $496,000
WNJP - $403,000 (includes W285EE)
WNJS - $142,000
WNJT - $1,572,000
WNJY - $581,000
WNJZ - $219,000
But now it's gone. Ultimately that means a lot of  "NJ" call signs will be changing in the immediate future. It also means both of these networks will be working hard to round up new donor/members to pay for both the acquisition and the operating costs.