After seven years, Chicago Public Media's WBEZ closed its office south of the courthouse square in downtown Crown Point and moved its Northwest Indiana Bureau to the Lakeshore Public Media offices in Merrillville.
The National Public Radio and Public Radio International affiliate that broadcasts at 91.5 FM opened the bureau at 11 Hack Court, just south of the downtown square, in 2012.
Award-winning radio reporter Michael Puente, who covers Northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago area for WBEZ, will continue to report on the Region from a new home base at 8625 Indiana St. in Merrillville, where Lakeshore PBS and Lakeshore Public Radio are based.
The longtime Northwest Indiana journalist, who started out in newspapers, serves as vice president of the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has won multiple honors from the Indiana and Illinois Associated Press broadcasters associations, Indiana Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Headline Club and National Headliner Awards.
"First, please be assured that our coverage of news, topics and issues in Northwest Indiana is very important to us at WBEZ," WBEZ Director of Communications Betsy Berger said. "As the lease on our current space in Crown Point is ending, we are exploring other real estate options. We will continue to have a reporter covering Northwest Indiana and, additionally, we will continue to have a Northwest Indiana signal in the area to serve listeners."
WBEZ also once had a satellite bureau in Chesterton and operated the storefront in Crown Point as a place where the public could drop in or to record interviews. It was WBEZ's only location outside Chicago, though the radio station had been interested in expanding to other suburbs.
Based at Navy Pier, the radio station also has community studios on the city's south and west side. It airs Chicago news and has put out programs like "Sounds Opinions," "Filmspotting," "Curiosity City," "Chew the Fat" and "This America Life."
It also broadcasts a number of national shows like "All Things Considered," "Marketplace," "The Moth," "Live from Here," "Live Wire" and "Bullseye."
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