In the mid-1980′s, a group of concerned citizens began looking for a way to give Northwest Indiana a televised broadcast voice. When the Lake Central School District could no longer support local station WCAE, the license was assigned to Gary, Indiana and secured by the founding directors of Lakeshore Public Television. Lakeshore Public Television signed on the air November 1987 as WYIN Channel 56. Today, nearly 31 years later, we remain the sole televised source for local news, sports, and weather, as well as information on cultural events and community issues.
Throughout the 1990′s, Lakeshore Public Television put into practice the vision of a locally active television station. The first newscast aired with a commitment to cover stories of interest to residents in Northwest Indiana. Our staff was small–at times it was a one-man show–and the anchor sat in front of a curtain to read the day’s news, but viewers tuned-in, eager to see a newscast with local flavor and focus. In addition, Indiana Now, the front-runner to our current public affairs programs, debuted with hosts Larry Evans, an area attorney, and former Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez. The show featured interviews with community leaders and state lawmakers like then governor Evan Bayh, and then lietuenant governor Frank O’Bannon. With the station’s reputation as a community resource well established, the staff and Board of Directors planned to greet the new millennium with a focused effort to strengthen the quality and power of the broadcast signal.
The 21st century and the dawning of the digital age brought many exciting changes to Lakeshore Public Television. In November 2003, a 950-foot tower with a 54-foot analog antenna was erected at our Crown Point, Indiana transmitter site. The new transmitter allows Lakeshore Public Television to harness our full power of 1.35 million watts, sending a strong, clear signal to viewers in a 65-mile radius. In February 2004, with a $2 million state grant, Lakeshore Public Television installed a digital antenna and digital tuner, adding four digital channels (17.1, 17.2, 17.3, 17.4). 17.1 and 17.4 are currently operating.
Today we continue to upgrade the quality of station production and our broadcast equipment. Some of the revenue is generated through donations from local businesses, and state and federal grants. However, our primary resources come from viewer support, the kind of grassroots funding that truly makes us public television.
Lakeshore Public Radio 89.1FM, initially known as The Lakeshore 89.1FM, first hit the airwaves across Northwest Indiana on January 19, 2009. The station was created after the board of directors for Lakeshore Public Media, which also operates our sister station Lakeshore PBS, saw the need for regional access to a public radio station in order to provide localized up-to-the-minute news and information for NW Indiana residents.
The fledgling station began with locally-produced programs like Lakeshore This Morning airing during the morning drive hours and Lakeshore Drive targeting residents making their trip home from work. These unique programs provided much-needed news, weather, traffic, and sports reports focused on the Northwest Indiana region. Another staple program from the station's early years, The Dan Dakich Show, featured the Andrean High School graduate and local sports star of the same name and was produced primarily out of ESPN Indianapolis studios.
In the first years of Lakeshore Public Radio, we broadcasted 300+ hours of sporting events annually, including Lakeshore Gamenight, which continues to air every high school football season. Keeping NW Indiana residents up-to-date on the latest in local politics was another early goal of the station and resulted in numerous conversations with local politicians. We continue to spotlight NW Indiana politics today, especially during primary and general election periods.
In May of 2014, Lakeshore Public Radio made a dynamic shift by bringing in NPR’s Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio show nationwide, and later expanding our NPR programming with All Things Considered in the afternoons. These programs bring stories and report to listeners from NPR reporters and correspondents based throughout the U.S. and the world while also providing localized breaks that allow us to break up programming with local news, weather, traffic, and sports.
In June of 2015, Tom Maloney was promoted to VP of Radio Operations heralding a new era of collaborations with the League of Women Voters, Valparaiso University and The Welcome Project, South Shore Clean Cities, and many others. Maloney has also strengthened the station’s relationship with the Indiana Public Broadcasting Service (IPBS), which benefits the region through greater access to the statewide news coverage that region residents so often miss due to our connection with the Chicagoland market.
The future of Lakeshore Public Radio includes expanding on valuable local topics that resonate with region residents while also providing a platform for region storytellers and content creators to get their voices out to NW Indiana and beyond.