Centenary College in Hackettstown has issued its first major statement on the fate of radio station WNTI (91.9 FM), confirming that it is in the process of transferring the station’s license to another public radio station (whose identity can’t be revealed yet) and that the campus’ radio studio will continue to operate, though it will broadcast online only (at WNTI.org) and be staffed by both students and community volunteers.
Meanwhile an informal tribute event is being planned for Friday. A message on the event’s Facebook page reads:
Bring flowers and a card of mourning to the Lackland Center on the campus of Centenary College to show our support for the amazing people at WNTI. Even if we can’t do anything to stop this horrific travesty of justice, at least we can show those who made this decision how much it is going to hurt our community.
The station, which has played a vital part in the Northwestern New Jersey music scene for many years, closed without warning on Monday, forcing many of its longtime DJs to say goodbye to their fans and followers online. It is unknown at this point if any of these DJs will be able to work at the new online station.
Here is the college’s statement in full:
Centenary College’s mission is to provide a quality liberal arts education with a strong career focus. To deliver on this promise, we constantly evaluate Centenary’s operations and assets to ensure we are delivering on our top priority — providing our students with a rewarding educational experience that prepares them for the future.
As part of this ongoing review, we have decided to transfer Centenary’s broadcasting license to another public radio station. We are in the process of finalizing the sales agreement with the new operator, who shares WNTI’s commitment to great music and has the resources to serve the needs of local listeners for many years to come. The proceeds from the sale of the license will be re-invested in Centenary’s academic programs, to benefit current and future students. Centenary will retain its on-campus studio and will continue to operate an internet radio station at WNTI.org, and we will develop new opportunities for students to participate in its operation, along with WNTI’s community volunteers.
WNTI was established over 50 years ago as a college radio station to serve the Centenary campus and to help our students gain first-hand experience in broadcasting. Over time, WNTI evolved from a student-run station into a National Public Radio station serving a regional audience, with a dedicated team of community volunteers and many loyal listeners. Now WNTI is going in a new direction. The change we are undertaking is difficult, but we firmly believe is in the best long-term interests of Centenary College and the greater community served by WNTI.
We cannot disclose the identity of the new station operator until the details of the transaction are finalized. We intend to share more information as soon as we can make it available, which will probably be near the end of October.