NJ Assembly Won’t Sell Defunded NJN To WNET; Layoffs Coming

After New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed legislation last year that defunded New Jersey Network, the state’s public broadcaster, it looked like the station’s 129 employees would lose their jobs.

But then Christie suspended the layoffs, the plan apparently being that whatever existing public broadcaster purchased NJN would also receive those employees.

However, the New Jersey Assembly has just rejected a plan that would have sold NJN’s public TV to a subsidiary of WNET, which is based in New York.

“Giving NJN to New York makes no sense,” said Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) before the vote. “We need to make NJN stronger and not give it away.”

The NJ Senate also needs to vote to block the sale by Tuesday, or the sale will proceed as planned.

Without the sale, though, the station’s employees will lose their jobs and “NJN as we know it will cease to exist,” as State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said.

In addition to the deal with WNET, Sidamon-Eristoff negotiated the sale of New Jersey’s nine public radio licenses; those deals have not generated opposition and will likely proceed, the New Jersey Star-Ledger said.