Sen. Linda Greenstein D-14) of Plainsboro, said she is unconvinced that an out-of-state entity such as WNET can do as good a job serving residents with public TV as the in-state operation of NJN.
She told Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff today that she recognizes that partnerships are the future of public broadcasting, but she remains skeptical the WNET deal is better than the Montclair State University proposal that the state rejected.
She also questioned the clause in the deal that allows WNET’s Public Media NJ entity to terminate the deal if funding falls below certain levels, but Sidamon-Eristoff said the state has a 180-day period to explore solutions if that should happen, including rebidding or renegotiating.
“Public Media is taking on a very considerable risk,’’ he said adding that such a termination clause is not out of the ordinary.
He also told Greenstein and Sen. Loretta Weinberg he felt that they were mischaracterizing the deal, because Montclair State, like WNET, sought the $2.5 million in tower lease rental revenue. He said the two proposals are “an apples to apples comparison,’’ but even if they are not, there were other positives for WNET, including its experience.
But Weinberg questioned him about Montclair State already having in-state facilities whereas WNET does not.
“We’re aware of Montclair’s facilities,’’ Sidamon-Eristoff said, but he said they have never attempted to program on the order of the full-time, day in day out programming that NJN viewers would expect.
Montclair State’s president was scheduled to appear before the committee later today.