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Lakeshore PBS adding more local programming, to start airing Generation Z voices

Lakeshore Public Media's Connor Burge works on Prep Sports Report at the television station's studio in Merrillville. Lakeshore PBS is adding more local content.

Lakeshore PBS will add to its locally produced programming by developing new "Youth Voices" video segments to give a platform to members of Generation Z, young people between the ages of 15 and 23.

“We believe that young people can make significant, positive change, and we want to celebrate our Region’s youth who are actively working to improve their communities,” said Lakeshore Public Media President and CEO James Muhammad. “'Youth Voices' looks to tell a story of civic engagement and how it can improve the lives of people and lay the seeds to improve the world.”

The videos about young people's issues and concerns will be aired as part of the series "Friends and Neighbors," a program Lakeshore PBS is developing to explore life in Northwest Indiana. Segments of the ongoing series will show snippets of everyday life in Northwest Indiana, show people doing extraordinary things to improve the community and document innovations that advance the local economy, according to Lakeshore.

"As the area’s only community-based television station, we know that there are many stories worth telling,” Vice President of Television Operations Matt Franklin said. “'Friends and Neighbors' will be built around the core idea that Northwest Indiana is a strong, vibrant place to live and work, and we should all be proud to call it home.”

The Merrillville-based public broadcaster is developing the new local programming with the help of a Knight Foundation Grant from the Legacy Foundation.

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"One of the primary pillars of the Knight Foundation’s efforts are to build community engagement by breaking down barriers between residents and decision-makers, and engaging underrepresented communities in civic life and leadership roles,” Legacy Foundation Vice President Kelly Anoe said. "This Lakeshore Public Media initiative will help to move those efforts forward by providing a voice to youth to help them understand what civic leadership is and how to become agents of change in their community.”

Segment production with local students started this month.

“We welcome the opportunity to provide an avenue for our young people to say what’s on their mind about the issues they face today,” said Tony Santucci, Lakeshore PBS production manager, and show producer. “We see 'Youth Voices' as an integral part of the new show and are excited to work with this undeserved group, sharing a perspective which most audiences often don’t hear.”

Lakeshore PBS can currently only be viewed by Comcast subscribers as the station works to get back on air after an electrical storm in July.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.