“Lakeshore Report” drowns


Northwest Indiana’s local news show shutters after 25 years

While local stations are adding more news than there is hours of the day, here’s an oddity: a station eliminating its news department.

As first reported by nwi.com, Merrillville, Ind. -based PBS station WYIN has pulled the plug on Lakeshore Report after 25 years on the air.

The last episode aired January 29. Premiering on September 4, 1990, Lakeshore Report (started as Indiana News Now – not real name) was converted from a nightly strip to a weekly program two years ago. On WYIN’s website, the station noted Lakeshore Report is being put “on hiatus”, leaving the door open for a possible return down the road.

Station officials noted the lack of funding and staff departures over the years which led to its closing, according to the nwi.com article. Vice President of TV Operations Matt Franklin noted economic challenges are the reason why fewer than ten public television stations around the country have a news operation.

Unlike their commercial counterparts, public TV stations are not allowed to run ads, unless they are underwriting programming. Public TV stations are also not allowed to accept political advertising – at all. For WYIN, the challenge was even tougher, given its target were the Northwest Indiana towns in the Chicago market.

Public-affairs programming is not affected and there are no layoffs planned. WYIN is going ahead with the launch of Counterpoint, a new public-affairs program hosted by CLTV alum Garrard McClendon on March 4.

The closure of Lakeshore News leaves Northwest Indiana residents to rely on Chicago stations. The outlets have traditionally underserved the region, although WBBM-TV once had a bureau in Northwest Indiana. WPWR-TV also had a Sunday morning program called Dimensions: Northwest Indiana (WPWR’s license of operation is in Gary, Ind.) but was canceled when Fox bought the station.

In 2012, Seven On Ridge, a local late-night talk show hosted Michael Essany shot in Gary (with intentions to move to Chicago) lasted only a few weeks.

(Editor’s Note: The news program premiering on WYIN in 1990 was named “Indiana Nightly Report” – yes, it’s the real name. T Dog Media regrets the error. – T.H.)