Out of Control Policy Blog

New Jersey Privatizing State Broadcasting Network

Last month New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Transfer Act (A3604) into law, initiating a transition to private and independent management for New Jersey Network (NJN), the state-run public broadcasting network.

Under the new law, the state Department of Treasury is responsible for implementing the privatization, specifically:

  • Accounting for all of the network's assets and liabilities;
  • Identifying steps necessary to transfer the network's assets and liabilities;
  • Receiving, evaluating and authorizing transfer of any or all of the network's assets; and
  • Guaranteeing that the new private partner retains the network's focus on New Jersey-related content.

Assets include radio operating licenses, but not the television operating licenses.

In compliance with the bill, Christie suspended layoffs for NJN employees during the transition to becoming a freestanding, independently-financed institution. Also, the bill eliminated the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Commission and replaced it with a new oversight body.

In a time of fiscal crisis, it's hard to justify the state being in the broadcasting business. Kudos to Governor Christie and the legislature for getting New Jersey out of a non-core enterprise.

Harris Kenny is a research assistant at Reason Foundation

Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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