Merger Effective Today; Consolidated resources, staff continue streamlined quest for public television funding in the Garden State
September 28, 2012—Englewood/Trenton, NJ— Public Media NJ (PMNJ), operator of NJTV, New Jersey’s new public television network, announced a merger with the Foundation for New Jersey Public Broadcasting, Inc. (FNJPB) that takes effect today. The Foundation, created by statute in 1990, served as a fundraising arm of NJN Public Television and Radio, then New Jersey’s public broadcasting network. FNJPB utilized its own staff, payroll and Board of Trustees. When new legislation in 2010 and an open bid-process in 2011 transitioned the state-run NJN into what would become the independently-operated NJTV, FNJPB remained in place for the new network’s first 14 months. It worked to raise revenue independently from NJTV’s own underwriting team. The merger now consolidates corporate fundraising operations into a single entity.
“We had two groups soliciting corporate underwriting from the same limited marketplace,” said Josh Weston, Chairman of the PMNJ Board. “Consolidating our resources for a more unified effort just makes sense, logistically and financially.”
“It was a long yet smooth process to make this merger happen,” said Bob Smartt, former Acting Chairman of the FNJPB. “Those of us involved in the process recognized the new network’s potential, and the need for it to operate efficiently with a unified branding message.”
Added NJTV General Manager John Servidio, “More efficient fundraising means that we can stretch more out of every dollar we raise, with less overhead, and ultimately put more money where it will best serve the public – in programming.”
With the new agreement, PMNJ now assumes all fundraising responsibilities for NJTV, in addition to creating and distributing its program content. The agreement also transfers two former FNJPB employees to the PMNJ budget and closes FNJPB’s office space in Trenton. Five former FNJPB Board members now serve as Trustees on PMNJ’s Board, including Anthony V. Bastardi, formerly FNJPB’s Chairman and now PMNJ Vice-Chair.
“This merger is the result of the passion and collaboration of many individuals from the Foundation and PMNJ, all of whom believe in the mission of public television, understand its importance to the Garden State, and want to assure it has a long, fruitful future here,” Bastardi conveyed.
NJTV, which does not receive taxpayer money as did its predecessor, generates the majority of its revenue through a combination of corporate and individual donations. NJTV’s new underwriting team continues the efforts to raise funding support for such shows as its news program, NJ Today, On the Record with Michael Aron and NJ Docs, as well soliciting funds for the balance of programming, online components, educational resources and general operation expenditures.
“We want NJTV to keep growing, for the benefit of New Jersey and our viewers, and to that end have boundless ideas on new state-centric programs, broadening our news coverage, creating more community initiatives, and enhancing our website,” Servidio said. “We hope that, in turn, New Jersey will help make those ideas a reality by supporting us on the corporate and individual levels.”