Lakeshore Public Media is discontinuing its Lakeshore News Tonight program as a nightly newscast after tonight's broadcast. Chief Executive Officer James Muhammad says “significant reductions in revenue” over the past few years have led to a decision to produce the show on a weekly basis.
January 15, 2014
Statement from Lakeshore Public Media Chief Executive Officer James Muhammad
Lakeshore Public Media is proud to be our communities' source for quality PBS, NPR and local programming. Enriching lives is our goal and we greatly appreciate the role the entire community plays in helping us serve Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. For this reason, I am writing to inform our audience members and the larger community of some programming enhancements we have planned and why.
Although we have enjoyed loyal support from the public, the past couple of years have been challenging for Lakeshore Public Media, as it has been for numerous public media entities. Financial challenges have forced us to revisit how we operate. Lakeshore has experienced significant reductions in revenue over the past few years. These dollars support expensive local projects like Lakeshore News Tonight.
In light of our financial challenges, we have decided, with the support of our board, to restructure our approach to Lakeshore News Tonight. We will more efficiently utilize the opportunities we have as a multi-platform operation encompassing television, radio and digital.
Although we have been extremely proud of our nightly news on television and recognize the value many community members place on the program, we recognize that our present financial state can no longer absorb a project of this magnitude in its current form. We will discontinue Lakeshore News Tonight as a nightly newscast after Friday, January 31, 2014 and shift to a weekly program in early March 2014.
Our news effort focusing on Northwest Indiana will include a weekly news and public affairs program for television that will go beyond the surface and provide context on issues impacting Northwest Indiana. There will be daily weather updates on television that will be seen throughout our television schedule beginning Monday, February 3, 2014. The restructured television effort will be enhanced by regular news, weather and traffic updates on our news/talk NPR station Lakeshore Public Radio (89.1FM, The Lakeshore). Our radio station also has a one-hour news program known as Regionally Speaking which airs Monday – Thursday at 1:00 p.m.
We have news online at Lakeshorepublicmedia.org as well, including live web streaming of our NPR station on our website and on the popular NPR News app. We will continue to provide important coverage of Indiana’s State of the State and State of the Judiciary on television and radio. Local post analysis of these events will be added as well. We plan in the near future to host community forums pertaining to issues of importance to Northwest Indiana. This special coverage will be available on all of our platforms.
Our staff members working on the weekly television project will also contribute to news on Lakeshore Public Radio. We will use some of our staff from radio to contribute to our weekly project on television as well. An approach based on convergence will allow us to continue our local presence on all platforms while operating more efficiently.
Details about the premiere of our new weekly project and the specific times for our daily weather updates on television will be promoted on Lakeshore Public Television, Lakeshore Public Radio and on our web site.
I do want to say that this restructuring in no way reflects any disregard on the part of Lakeshore Public Media for the hard work and dedication our staff has put forth with our nightly news throughout the years. These individuals have consistently gone beyond the call of duty in service to the community. We salute them and greatly appreciate all of their efforts. This is simply a dawn of a new day that will bring new experiences, new successes and new opportunities to serve the public.
Please understand the difficult decision we have made regarding Lakeshore News Tonight is in fact necessary to ensure that we sustain ourselves as a valued community resource. Our expense reductions will place us in the position to satisfy our short term challenges and allow us to take advantage of long term opportunities that will significantly improve our financial standing.
I invite anyone with comments and questions to personally contact me with any concerns you may have. You can write to me at the address listed below and you can call me directly at 219-756-5656, ext. 303. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James A. Muhammad
President and CEO
Source: Lakeshore Public Media
Editor's Note – Inside INdiana Business Television and Radio airs on Lakeshore Public TV and The Lakeshore radio in Northwest Indiana.