WXPN-FM purchases WNTI-FM, Centenary College confirms

Hackettstown public radio station WNTI will no longer exist in the form that New Jersey music fans have come to know and love.

WXPN programming will soon be heard on Hackettstown public radio station WNTI-FM.

The fate of Centenary College radio station WNTI (91.9 FM) became a little clearer today. Philadelphia public radio station WXPN (88.5 FM), which is owned by the University of Pennsylvania, has bought the license for $1.25 million (plus $500,000 in underwriting value), it was announced. WXPN’s music programming will be broadcast on WNTI, starting at noon this Thursday.

Meanwhile, students and community volunteers will team to operate their own Internet-only radio station at WNTI.org. It is not known when this venture will launch.

Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, president of the Hackettstown college, said in a statement that the deal “preserves a strong voice for great music in our region and opens new horizons for the WNTI community and for Centenary College.”

She also said: “Centenary students will also be afforded opportunities to intern at WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania. We intend to reinvest the proceeds from the license sale in building Centenary’s academic offerings, to support student recruitment and retention and fuel Centenary’s role as an economic engine in Warren County, New Jersey.”

WXPN general manager Roger LaMay said in the same press release, “We will extend WXPN’s demonstrated commitment to local artists, music and events in the communities we currently serve to the WNTI community, and will apply our deep experience in public music radio management to strengthen its overall operations. In the long term, we expect this transaction to benefit our artists and audiences, and strengthen WXPN’s financial sustainability.”

WXPN’s World Cafe program had already been heard on WNTI, and will remain part of its programming.

The station, which has played a vital part in the Northwestern New Jersey music scene for many years, closed without warning on Oct. 5, forcing many of its longtime DJs to say goodbye to their fans and followers online.

5 thoughts on “WXPN-FM purchases WNTI-FM, Centenary College confirms

  1. John Kennedy, of Kennedy Event Services, has long supported WNTI and has worked closely with the station DJs and PD for years. John approached Centenary College about presenting a 91-minute “Remembering WNTI” concert in the college’s parking lot. The college gave their approval and on Friday, Oct. 30th a show to give WNTI a proper send-off with the listeners and station personnel included. Details are not yet announced but almost all of the DJs will participate and Kennedy has enlisted his buddy Pat DiNizio/Smithereens front man to perform.
    As talent is locked in and concert time posted, a news release will be forthcoming.

  2. Question is, how did the sale occur without any opportunity for public input. CPB requires open meetings, and the FCC website posts info on pending transfers. Neither happened in this case.

    • Here is the Oct. 12 Centenary press release. They seem to view the FCC approval (which hasn’t taken place yet) as a technicality that they don’t anticipate having any trouble with.

      Public Radio Station WNTI/Hackettstown, NJ is purchased by Philadelphia public radio station WXPN

      PHILADELPHIA & HACKETTSTOWN, NEW JERSEY (OCTOBER 12, 2015): Today Centenary College of Hackettstown, New Jersey, and Philadelphia public radio station WXPN 88.5, owned by the University of Pennsylvania, jointly announced a sales agreement and transfer of ownership for the broadcasting license of WNTI 91.9 FM, the public radio station owned by Centenary College, to WXPN. WXPN’s award-winning music programming will be broadcast on WNTI starting at noon ET on Thursday, October 15.

      “We are pleased to reach this agreement with WXPN, which preserves a strong voice for great music in our region and opens new horizons for the WNTI community and for Centenary College,” Dr. Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, President of Centenary College. “WXPN brings exceptional resources and expertise in public radio and a deep commitment to serving the needs of listeners and supporting local artists. Centenary will continue to operate its own Internet radio station at WNTI.org to enhance our curriculum and involve students and community volunteers in programming. Centenary students will also be afforded opportunities to intern at WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania. We intend to reinvest the proceeds from the license sale in building Centenary’s academic offerings, to support student recruitment and retention and fuel Centenary’s role as an economic engine in Warren County, New Jersey.”

      Roger LaMay, WXPN General Manager, said, “WXPN was approached with notification of the proposed sale of WNTI. Although we were not looking to purchase another radio station, we quickly realized that WXPN was the best option to preserve WNTI’s long tradition of musical discovery for listeners in Northern New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania. We will extend WXPN’s demonstrated commitment to local artists, music and events in the communities we currently serve to the WNTI community, and will apply our deep experience in public music radio management to strengthen its overall operations. In the long term, we expect this transaction to benefit our artists and audiences, and strengthen WXPN’s financial sustainability.”

      WXPN produces NPR’s most popular program of popular music, World Cafe, which was heard on WNTI twice daily and will remain part of its music programming.

      The Public Service Operating Agreement will start at noon ET on Thursday, October 15, 2015. WXPN programming will begin at 91.9 FM at that time. After the filing, FCC approval is expected to take 60 to 120 days.

      Sale price is $1,250,000 in cash and another $500,000 in underwriting value over 10 years. Public Media Company represented WXPN/University of Pennsylvania throughout the transaction. Centenary College was represented by Patrick Communications.

  3. Pingback: Celebratory event planned for Oct. 30 launch of online radio station WNTI.org - NJArts.netNJArts.net

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