State of New Jersey takes all but $10M of spectrum auction proceeds

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The New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority will get $10 million of the $332 million the state received from the FCC spectrum auction.

The remaining $322 million is going to the state’s general fund, according to New Jersey Treasury spokesperson Willem Rijksen.

NJTV, the public TV network in the state, declined comment through spokesperson Deb Falk.

Proceeds for the spectrum used by two of its stations, WNJN in Montclair and WNJT in Trenton, added up to the largest payout to any public broadcaster in the FCC’s spectrum auction. The New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority holds the broadcast licenses for NJTV, which is run by a nonprofit subsidiary of WNET in New York City.

In April, NJTV released a statement asking the state “to dedicate at least some of those funds to New Jersey’s public television network.”

Free Press, a media-reform nonprofit, advocated using part of the proceeds to create a Civic Information Consortium to provide grants for news projects in the state. The consortium would have been a partnership among Montclair State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University to strengthen public-interest journalism, advance media research, develop civic technology and promote civic engagement.

Two members of the New Jersey legislature introduced a bill in June that proposed allocating $100 million of the spectrum proceeds over five years for the project.