I read a recent post by my colleague Jeff Deminski who got into an email discussion with a listener over the North/South/Central Jersey debate. I've covered this to death over and over. I apologize for yet another explanation of the situation. But hey this time I have graphics. Simple graphics. A simple map. You don't have to understand math or mileage measurements or latitude. You just have to look at it after I explain this simple concept and go, "oh now I get it, that was easy why didn't anybody explain it that way before"?

I have explained it before, but it's like most things people have an emotional attachment to, or bias about. It sometimes takes the same simple explanation told over and over again, this time with an easy to understand picture and you're finally enlightened.

google maps
google maps

There are two parts of the state. One closer to New York. The other is closer to Philadelphia. These two cities are media markets. Where the radio and TV signals reached in the past defined which part of the state you live in. The media markets and signals are less important now in the digital age, but have come to define us according to where we live.

There is a line that runs from the bottom of Mercer County along the Delaware River on the western side and runs east to the top of Long Beach Island in the middle of Ocean County.

Imagine this line being 10 - 20 miles wide at any point. This is an area where both media markets had penetration and influence. It's a sort of DMZ of the north/south divide.

If you live above this line you're in North Jersey. You say sub and not hoagie. You don't have a weird Philly-type accent, you root for New York teams, the "city" you visit for special occasions is NYC and you drive like the kid in the movie Baby Driver. If you're in the counties just above the line you don't like being associated with Bergen County, the rural far northwest counties or any of the urbanized counties near NY so you distinguish yourself from them by calling yourself that unique, wonderful unicorn of a person and say you're from "Central Jersey". Nice! But it's a part of North Jersey.

If you're from below this line you're from South Jersey. You say hoagie and not sub. You don't drive the parkway or Turnpike much at all. You root for Philly teams. You pronounce your O's "OW"s and A's like they do in Philly and you think New York is a scary far away place you went to on a class trip. You know what pork roll is, but it's not a religious item to you and you're not aware of a debate over what it's called.

All of this was determined by two separate media markets a long time ago. What radio and TV signals reached your house in the part of New Jersey you live in. Simple. Done. Thank you!

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