The large staff of DJs at WNTI-FM found out today that their services are no longer required. As DJ Mike Watterson wrote on Facebook, “WNTI as we know it is no more. Locks have been changed & the studio is dark.”
It’s a huge understatement to say this is a big blow to the music scene in Northwestern New Jersey, as the public radio station (at Centenary College in Hackettstown) was undeniably one of the cornerstones of that scene.
It’s 9:30 at night as I write this, so I don’t think it’s going to be possible, tonight, to get a full explanation about what happened, and what’s going to happen to the station in the future. But here is what some of the station’s DJs posted on Facebook today about what’s going on there, as well as the farewells that they weren’t able to say on the air, and so wrote online, instead.
Mike Watterson: “By now those who care have heard the news. Centenary College has sold their broadcasting license to NPR. WNTI as we know it is no more. Locks have been changed & the studio is dark.
“Since May of 1987 I’ve held rock n roll court there every week … not a bad run. Since music has always been a passion of mine, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to program and produce my own vision of what a rock & roll radio show should be. I’ve meet lots of incredible people along the way. I’ve sat down and interviewed some of my musical heroes too. Who gets that chance?!
“I’ve seen lots of jox & station managers come and go throughout the years. Obviously, I can’t name everyone here but I will say that Melanie Thiel was an amazing leader. Thank you for all of the time and love you poured into WNTI. The final collection of on air DJ’s that were assembled are all talented, interesting, fun & knowledgeable about their formats. It’s been an honor & a privilege to have worked with all of you. All the best on what lies ahead.
“The listeners… I love you guys. It’s why I did this in the first place. To turn you on to new stuff, play things you haven’t of in years …or ever. Share music!! Inform & educate about the songs we grew up with and love. You’ve been with me/us all along the way. We couldn’t have gone this long without you. Your emails, calls, etc have always been welcome and appreciated. I’m glad you enjoyed what I spent so much time preparing for every week. It was worth the prep right ? smile emoticon Well….rock on my friends, it’s been a blast!”
Dan Baynes: “I began the show last night with a live version of ‘Exodus’ and ended with a track from Pink Floyd’s More Soundtrack called the ‘Crying Song without even knowing it was my last WNTI broadcast…….”
“Centenary College, President’s office, 400 Jefferson St, Hackettstown, NJ 07840: Attn: Board of Trustees.
“No idea what that may accomplish, but it can’t hurt.”
Jeff Rusch: Still processing thru all this. The outpouring of emotion is hitting me. I can’t listen to the station. It’s like watching your lover/spouse/soulmate on life support……..it’s empty. Soulless. We are all such a close family. We are all mourning.”
Kenny Collins: “After responding to numerous queries, I am saddened and dismayed that Centenary College has stopped WNTI’s live on air broadcasts. My last show was Saturday night. The college is leasing the station to an NPR affiliate and WNTI will be all student run and all online. WNTI as we knew and loved it is no longer.”
Bob Bernotas: “WNTI is no more, but I want to thank all these great musicians and friends who had co-hosted my ‘Just Jazz’ show with me over the years: Su Terry, David Gibson, Dena DeRose (twice & also ‘The Sinatra Hour’), Roberta Piket, Jane Bunnett, Larry Cramer, Claudio Roditi, Sheryl Bailey, Michael Dease (three times!), Dave Post, Bobby Sanabria, Jamie Baum. You guys were great, and I wish I could have you, and even more of my talented friends, on with me again. But it’s all over now.”
(Oct. 6 update: A Facebook page has been started here titled “Protest Centenary’s WNTI Takeover.”)
(Oct. 6 update: The following message has been posted on the station’s Facebook page: “Centenary College has been exploring new directions for WNTI. The College will release more information once it becomes available in the near future.”)
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