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What A State: Back Then…The Unofficial History Of NJ101.5

When you look at this great Garden State of ours, you can understand and appreciate a bit better why New Jersey 101.5 has succeeded so well here.

Photo by Eric Johnson

Very early on, back then, we learned a good many things about New Jersey and its people that we have kept in mind over the years.

There are about eight-and-a-half-million people in New Jersey. The State is 170 miles long and 70 miles wide. While we rank 47th in the Nation in terms of land area, we rank 11th in population. A lot of us live in a very small space.

But is it really such a small space?

We learned very early on back then, (mostly from one or the other of our University experts that we call upon so frequently), that there are places in New Jersey’s urban areas where the population density is a thick as New Delhi, India, as many as 30-thousand people per square mile. And yet those same experts tell us that from a place like Hoboken or Bayonne, you can hop in your car and drive for an hour, and you will be in forests or the Pine Barrens with a population density of only a few people per square mile.

My old friend at Rutgers, Angus Gillespie, once referred to the Pine Barrens as, “The Arlington National Cemetary of the mob,” because Tony Soprano and one of his crews could easily and repeatedly bury their misdeeds deep in those woods where no one would find them.

In terms of wealth, New Jersey is third in the nation. James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, has defined eight counties in North and Central Jersey as the so-called, “wealth belt,” where incomes and property values soared during the 90’s.

To be sure, the belt has taken a hit during the great recession. But it is still there. And as Doctor Hughes has reminded us, it has helped New Jersey’s economy, but it has also helped to contribute to the State’s congestion.

Diversity? We sure have plenty of that! We also learned early on, back then, that we are in a State where more than 130 different languages are spoken every day. New Jersey is home to the second-largest Cuban-American population, second only to Florida.

And there is plenty of political diversity in our State, something that has kept us churning the mill from early on, back then. In a State that is considered solidly Democratic, three times during the history of New Jersey 101.5, we have elected a Republican as Governor.

New Jersey is considered, “The Garden State” because of our many farms and our longstanding agricultural heritage. But farmers and those who work the land here, coexist side-by-side with business men and women and stock brokers in suburban areas who daily travel to Wall Street or downtown Philadelphia to earn a living.

And Jersey is home to some of the biggest Pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Even our weather is diverse. We have all heard the old saying about New Jersey weather, “if you don’t like the weather in New Jersey, wait ten minutes.” And those weather changes, “from the cities to the shore,” have kept our Meteorologist and my good friend, Alan Kasper, very busy from way back then right up to now.

So, New Jersey, you are many, many things to many people. Many good, some not so good. But when you add it all up, this is a great State for such a great radio station!

Check out past editions of “Back Then…” anytime online.

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