NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, publicly unveiled its new studio space in Newark with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday. The 10,645 square-foot Agnes Varis NJTV Studio, located on the second-floor concourse space of 2 Gateway Center, now serves as the network’s television anchor studio and broadcast home to its weeknight news program, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams. The state-of-the-art digital studio will also soon produce Michael Aron’s perennial public affairs series On the Record and Reporters Roundtable. NJTV’s new location also houses staff office space as well as a community room.
The ceremony welcomed representatives from the network, state dignitaries and public television supporters from across the Garden State. Speaking at the event were WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro, NJTV General Manager John Servidio, NJTV Board Chairman Josh Weston, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney, Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr., Asm. Jon Bramnick, and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo.
A landmark $2 million gift from the Agnes Varis Charitable Trust supported the construction of NJTV’s Newark studio. The late Agnes Varis was a self-made business leader who started her first New Jersey-based company, Agvar Chemicals, in 1975. In her lifetime, she co-founded two generic pharmaceutical companies, Marsam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Aegis Pharmaceuticals. She also spearheaded several philanthropic endeavors.
NJTV has received two other substantial gifts in support of the new space. A gift of $300,000 was given by Josh and Judy Weston. Mr. Weston is the honorary chairman of ADP and serves as NJTV’s board chairman. NJM Insurance Company’s $250,000 naming gift will support the community room, which will become the focal point for NJTV’s community engagement efforts and will be used for hosting public events and program productions.
“We are extremely grateful to the Agnes Varis Trust, Josh and Judy Weston, and NJM Insurance Company for their generous support of New Jersey public television,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET, operator of NJTV. “They contribute not just to our facility, but to the mission of public television to provide local media with impact.”
“We take pride in providing our viewers with unique, quality, Jersey-centric programming,” added NJTV General Manager John Servidio. “This new studio, integrated into the heart of New Jersey’s largest city, affords us tremendous opportunities to connect with the public and our neighbors as we enter our fourth year of broadcasting.”
NJTV, which launched in July 2011, delivers news, commentary, and documentaries to communities throughout New Jersey and the tri-state area both on-air and online.
The network, with broadcast reach that extends to all 21 counties in the Garden State and parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, will utilize the Newark broadcast hub in conjunction with its Trenton Statehouse studio and remote cameras at university content bureaus across the state to provide its weeknight newscast and other live specials.
NJTV, the non-profit affiliate of WNET, parent company of the award-winning THIRTEEN and WLIW21 stations and itself a non-profit, selected 2 Gateway Center for its anchor studio for its location and infrastructure.
Part of Newark’s 2.6 million-square-foot Gateway Complex, 2 Gateway Center is centrally located in the city’s downtown business district along Market Street between McCarter Highway and Mulberry Street. Among its many benefits, 2 Gateway Center is connected to an enclosed pedestrian walkway leading to Newark Penn Station, where commuters can access NJ TRANSIT, PATH, Newark Subway, Light Rail, and AMTRAK lines. It is along this walkway that NJTV has its studio, where 15,000 people pass every day.
NJTV has a growing relationship with the city of Newark, having partnered with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on special programming like American Songbook at NJPAC and The Midtown Men Live in Concert! Other independently-produced programs that air on the network like Conversations at NJPAC with Steve Adubato and Due Process are also taped in Newark.Related Articles: