WNTI-FM is sold; DJs say goodbye online

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

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

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.

wattersonMike 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!”

danDan 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…….”


altGary Alt: “It’s been suggested by one of our DJs that if you’d like to voice your opinion about the demise of WNTI to someone that matters, you can write to:

“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.”


ruschJeff 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.”


kennyKenny 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.”


bernotasBob 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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Karl Latham October 6, 2015 - 7:19 am

What a pity! WNTI was a bastion of new music in Northwest New Jersey. They often played and spinned local artists in all genres! So sorry to see this station go. Huge thanks to Mel, Bob, Stew, Jeff, Dan and everyone else over there that brought so much new music to my ears. Thanks too for the spins!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry to see it go!

Lisa October 6, 2015 - 7:48 am

This station helped open my eyes to so many talented bands and musicians I would have never known about. I feel privileged to have grown up with it and am so sad for those who will only have mainstream media to guide them. I’m glad it’s NPR and not something vapid.

George Dassinger October 6, 2015 - 9:40 am

I was just informed by a friend of mine Dennis D’Amico, musician/producer/playwright (his play “Marilee And Baby Lamb” – debuts 10/13-18 in Las Cruces, NM) who lives in Andover, a last ggodbye inclusive memorial service is taking place at the Centenary College this Friday. The all-volunteer DJs, area residents and sponsor businesses in Warren County are surprised that the selling of WNTI was “unannounced” by the college’s administration until yesterday. No one was given any notice whatsoever. The memorial service will take place this Friday, the 9th at 7 AM.
Please note that there are efforts to move the station to an online configuration -wnti.org
Join the WNTI memorial service and let everyone know how much WNTI meant to the community. The college has every right to sell the station but not letting anyone know is just plain not fair – it’s a shock.

Rich Weber October 6, 2015 - 11:39 am

I can’t believe it RIP wnti there will never be another like you
BIG CORP has won again
Sad day

Jen Dillman October 6, 2015 - 12:50 pm

I am in shock, upset and gobsmacked. What the hell? I will deeply miss all those I made friends with at WNTI, all the amazing music & concerts. I just want to yell at someone & tell me it’s NOT TRUE.

Aldo October 6, 2015 - 3:52 pm

Watterson says “Centenary College has sold their broadcasting license to NPR,” but this must be incorrect. NPR does not own broadcast licenses or stations.

Loretta Benish October 6, 2015 - 3:01 pm

So unfair for everyone who were listeners and the dj’s. My husband and I looked forward to the weekends listening to wnti and when we drove anywhere in the car. We were always disappointed when we drove out of range of the station. The radio will never be the same unless you all get together and start another station somewhere else if that’s possible. I’ll be listening for that to happen hopefully! We will really miss your station. So sad!!?

Donna October 6, 2015 - 5:08 pm

The way Centenary College handled this is appalling. What a kick in the A$$ to all the dedicated DJs, listeners, donors and sponsors. An almost impossible to find breath of fresh air on the radio has been polluted and killed. The music will never die but finding a platform like WNTI will be very hard to find again.

Wimbo wang November 30, 2015 - 8:25 pm

Check out wprb Princeton 103.3 fm

Adam nelson October 6, 2015 - 5:18 pm

Damn!! That was the best station on the radio, they played so many great types of music. So sad
RIP. Wnti

Terry October 6, 2015 - 5:51 pm

I’m heartbroken. This can’t be true. While we were living in NJ; we couldn’t wait for Mike Watterson’s Dogbites show on Saturday morning. This was my son, Steve’s first experience at great variations of the best rock in roll. Good luck, Mike !

Callum October 6, 2015 - 7:23 pm

Dear God, please give us back 91.9 wnti, you can have 99.9 the Hawk.

Larry Schumacher October 6, 2015 - 8:00 pm

This was more than a radio station to this area of NJ. It obvious that some people in Centenary’s administration do not know how many positive vibes came the schools way because of this station and its on air personalities. Saying this, I did always wonder why more college students were not incorporated into on air slots.

Andy Loiacono tsm October 6, 2015 - 10:08 pm


Daryl Forster October 6, 2015 - 10:30 pm

Are you kidding me???? What a shame to end a great station.

Paula October 7, 2015 - 5:27 am

What a shame that WNTI is no longer the great radio station I’ve been listening to for over 20 years. I turned it on yesterday for about 15 minutes and the music was terrible. Went to another station and tried again to hear something good on WNTI and then learned the station was sold and our great DJ’s and music are gone. I will not listen to this radio station again.

Ed Circzak & family October 7, 2015 - 9:17 pm

ALL the years of great listening along with intelligent caring staff gone? Just like that? Say it ain’t so Centenary?

Andy October 9, 2015 - 8:16 am

Hearing about John Lennon’s Murder is about the closest emotion that I can think of after learning of WNTI. Another void in life….I will miss them greatly.

Ricky October 9, 2015 - 11:43 am

I haven’t listened to another radio station in the car in over 10 years. Why treat a group of dedicated employees like disposable POS?

Bob Dodge October 9, 2015 - 3:34 pm

Where do I tune mow?I will miss all of you very much I hope you all continue to working in the field for music and make other locations/ people like me happy. again I’ll miss you all and I will aways keep you all in my mind. God bless you all. 91.9 FUCKEN ROCKED!

Virginia Butler October 12, 2015 - 9:18 am

I have had many emotional blows over the last several months including the simultaneous death of my beloved German Shepherd and my radio station in the same week. My radios have been tuned to this station for about 18 years now. My old fashioned under-counter kitchen radio is known to friends and family alike as perpetually being in broadcast mode. I don’t care what is playing, I listen. I am barely over the departure of dear Al Monroe. This is just too much. I too have been unable to tolerate the station since the change. Terrible. Just terrible.

Dee Billia October 12, 2015 - 11:03 am

This is truly a sad day for NJ music lovers. Those in the western part of our state will be left without place to listen to their favorite music, learn about new music and enjoy a musical “home.” Not only does the public lose a curated music experience by knowledgeable taste-makers, but artists lose outlets for music that is considered out of the mainstream by the “moneymakers”. We all lose by having less diversity, less choices and less listening to artists who are emerging as new and vital voices in the world of “adult alternative” music. Less is not more. It is less.

jim October 12, 2015 - 3:35 pm

After my distain for those responsible and their cowardly methods , I thought of all the dedicated personnel (mel, et al.), then selfishly of myself. What the hell is to become of one of the last best festivals left in the northeast ?
Wxpn is a great station, but there is only one WNTI.

Phil October 13, 2015 - 7:51 pm

First off, XPN is a good station that plays similar music to that which has brought so much joy to WNTI listeners over the years. Consider trying it after you get over the outrage of this mess.
That said, WNTI was (can’t believe I’m saying “was”) a wonderfully unique oasis of a radio station that will be missed.
I am forever grateful to Melanie in particular who welcomed me with open arms on my three co-host stints with her, especially the first one that was a little rough on my end to say the least.
Remember folks, WNTI was where great music lived, but the station as we knew it lives in our great memories of it.

John Lagola October 20, 2015 - 8:08 pm

I would like to thank centinary college for being so short sided. I always thought you were a horrible institution to begin with, but to sell you music station. That is an all time low. It’s great to tune in now and here Philadelphia news and traffic reports. Not sure who I dispise more Philadelphia or centinary college.

George smith October 25, 2015 - 12:52 pm

Thats B.S. for years I’ve listened, contributed,and attended many events and functions that benefitted local businesses, sponsors, charities, and centenary college themselves. I wonder when then town of hackettstown will weigh in on all this. This is such a disservice to the people, the town, businesses, sponsors, and all supporters of this great station. How long will it take before the asses that made this move feel the repercussions of this? Do they realize that all of their advertising for the school is gone? I can’t say for sure but, you can bet the person behind this is a lazy, self-centered S.O.B. . To not show the respect to the DJ’s , supporters, sponsors, and businesses of this and supporting towns is reprehensible ! I hope who ever was involved eventually gets fired from that college. Another thing, I hate Philadelphia! I don’t what to know what’s going on down there or where the hot spots are. I will undoubtedly miss Mel, my dawn bird, Mike W, from dog bites, cable man Dan, the ten o’clock hour with Trevor, and or course Spider with my daily dose of dead and Zappa ! And I don’t like David Dye cause he’s probably has something to do with it. I’m. Taking 91.9 off my presets and I’m writing a nasty letter to Centanary’s president. I suggest that if you read this you shoul too! F.U. Centenary!

Susan Prutzman November 11, 2015 - 10:12 am

Came back from a 2-week absence and couldn’t find the radio station I have listened to every day for years! I figured I must be doing something wrong because I couldn’t even imagine it was gone.

The new station is okay, but Centenary College’s radio station served Northwest NJ and Northeast PA. I don’t need to know about the weather or traffic in Philadelphia. Also, who will promote and advise of the wonderful artists and music events in our area. Seems to me the new station is all about Philly.


Jeff Tischler November 15, 2015 - 9:45 am

WNTI was the only station I could listen to on FM that could compete with satellite radio. Thanks alot. I found out it was gone when I switched on the channel on a Sunday morning, the best radio anywhere on a Sunday.

G . Carlbon February 15, 2016 - 4:00 pm

best radio on planet. gone !

D. Funk February 26, 2016 - 8:34 am

Every morning I wake up to WNTI, and since last Fall, I almost always become irritated with it. Quite simply, I miss Mel, and the “old NTI”. I was so happy when I first found WNTI a few years ago when I moved to Riegelsville, PA. Particularly Melody in Morning. Her program was crafted, personal, different, varied…just plain cool. It reminded me a bit of WSAN (AM) from Allentown and WMMR from many years ago (certainly not today). Mel talked WITH you in the mornings. She played an eclectic mix of always interesting music, and if she played something you didn’t like, you could call and tell her, and she would play something you did. It felt local, friendly, and inclusive. A great way to wake up.
Now, the WNTI morning program feels corporate, contrived, and something that is broadcast AT me rather than FOR me. Obviously it is simply a mirror of WXPN which I stopped listening to a long time ago for the same reason. The music now is occasionally alright, but it mostly seems to be a prescribed collection of what a bunch of corporate people in some boardroom believe I want to listen to as dictated by the label “Adult Album Alternative” or some other contrived category. It is more harsh, disjointed, over-played, predictable, uninteresting, boring – I don’t know, it is hard to pinpoint, but it is different, and not in a good way. I notice it, and I don’t like it. The two “hosts” of the current morning program (I couldn’t even tell you their names yet after how many months – what does that tell you?) talk to EACH OTHER, and AT me. I find their canned “jokey” bantering irritating. It is nothing against them personally at all. I am sure that they are simply following what they are prescribed to do according to the corporate issued handbook. I feel completely disconnected from them. Mel felt like a neighbor and a friend. I miss her and her wonderful program. One morning she was just GONE. How corporate again! Out with the old, and in with the new. Bam!
So now, I, and I suspect many, many others, are left with another canned station that is indistinguishable from any other “Adult Album Alternative” morning station in any other town/city across the Nation. Sort of like how you always know what you are going to get when you go into a McDonalds anywhere, no matter where. Well, obviously, money talks. WNIT, Where Good Music Lived. I wish I HAD an alternative.

Jey March 18, 2016 - 9:29 pm

I knew when that david die guy from wxpn started yip yapping on 91.9 the end was near. It’s a sad day for college radio. Get used to them begging for money 4x a year because that’s really all they are about. Just don’t pledge ONE RED CENT! Look into where the money goes.

Rich November 7, 2019 - 5:06 pm

4 years out and I still miss you


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