This week marked 40 years of the state-backed effort to bridge the media gap that existed here in the Garden State between the steroidal New York and Philadelphia television markets.
Hundreds of years later and Ben Franklin’s New Jersey as a keg tapped at both ends still needed fixing. NJN was to be a major part of that fix when the switch was flipped to put us on the air back on April 5, 1971.
So four decades and thousands of stories of, by and about New Jersey and New Jerseyans later and we’re still at it; on the air on television and later radio and now online (that last a term and practice had yet to be invented then). I won’t write an exhaustive history here. But suffice to say that the station’s consistent, quality offerings of news, the arts, cultural and educational fare here in New Jersey have served to help sew New Jerseyans closer to each other in this rich and beautiful — and, yes, frayed in places — tapestry that is our state.
We’re told that New Jersey’s rich and varied stories will continue to be told and that the telling could even be strengthened once the as yet unknown not-for-profit entity takes over when state support ends July 1. Let’s hope so. In any event, it’ll be another turning point for a place that’s become something of a beacon across the landscape of the Garden State.
So Happy 40th Birthday New Jersey Network! What do you say we tap old Ben’s keg in the middle and drink a toast to your health.
And as we’re fond of saying to our dear friends and beloved relations, you don’t look a day over 21.