The state-operated New Jersey Network becomes the latest victim of New Jersey budget cuts today. The network will officially go dark at midnight after 40 years, leaving its 130 employees without jobs.
The station has been locked in a losing battle about the future of the network since last year with Governor Chris Christie. After an effort to save the network was defeated this week in the state legislature, the station will become NJTV — a WNET-controlled station that will run 20 hours of New Jersey-based programming a week.
The Newark Star-Ledger‘s Christopher Baxter reports on the network’s final evening news, anchored by Jim Hooker and Michael Aron, yesterday evening:
The broadcast cut to a small room of empty cubicles. The lights turned off, and a small, blue NJN sign glowed on the back wall. The screen faded to black. “New Jersey Network. April 5, 1971 – June 30, 2011.
“Oh, baby,” Hooker said with a sigh, after the cameras turned off. “Tough one.”