Lakeshore PBS Receives Knight Foundation Grant to Support Youth Voices Initiative in Northwest Indiana

MERRILLVILLE— Lakeshore Public Media announced today it had been awarded a grant that will allow the public broadcaster the opportunity to share the region’s youth perspective on issues they  are facing and what engaged young people are doing about it.

Lakeshore PBS will develop a series of video segments called ‘Youth Voices’ with support from the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Legacy Foundation.   The goal is to empower people between the ages of 15 and 23 (Generation Z) to share their issues and concerns, offering a multi-generational audience the opportunity to hear the perspectives of the younger generation firsthand through multiple broadcast platforms.

“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 James A. Muhammad, President and CEO of Lakeshore Public Media. “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.”

“Legacy Foundation is excited to support “Youth Voices” through our Knight Donor Advised Fund.  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,” said Kelly Anoe, Vice President of Legacy Foundation .   Anoe believes the 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.”

Lakeshore PBS is currently developing an ongoing series, Friends and Neighbors. The program will explore and identify what it means to live in NW Indiana.  Including the Youth Voices features, the series will include recurring segments which focus on topics from innovations that are advancing the economy of the region to intimate stories of everyday folks doing extraordinary things to advance their community.

The Youth Voices effort will include a minimum of four segments produced by students, with segment production beginning in February 2019. Lakeshore Public Media will assist students as necessary to meet the project timeline and deliverables of television and radio production.

“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 underserved group, sharing a perspective which most audiences often don’t hear.”

Lakeshore production staff will collaborate with various educational institutions and community youth groups who have an existing capacity to create video content. The team is actively working with a variety of region educational institutions and organization to outline their collaborative efforts.

Matt Franklin, VP of TV Operations for Lakeshore, believes the television program and Youth Voices will provide a unique forum for the region.  “As the area’s only community-based television station, we know that there are many stories worth telling,” Franklin said.  “Friends and Neighbors will be built around the core idea that NW Indiana is a strong, vibrant place to live and work, and we should all be proud to call it home.”

Legacy Foundation is the community foundation of Lake County, working to build a culture of philanthropy across generations that will positively transform Lake County.  Lakeshore PBS is a community-licensed public television station based out of its Merrillville studios. Lakeshore Public Media’s mission is to build a strong sense of community for the residents of Northwest Indiana by being the leading force in connecting people, ideas and information through multiple, ongoing media and outreach activities.

The public television station continues to work to repair its broadcast transmitter which was damaged in a July electrical storm.  The organization has invested over $300,000 in installing a new transmitter, but the lack of an available tower climbing crew to repair the damage on its 950’ Cedar Lake tower has limited the station to Comcast customers only.

The majority of certified tower climbers are booked due to the FCC’s broadcast spectrum repack.  While Lakeshore PBS was initially unaffected by the repack, their emergency repair is delayed by the national repack which requires hundreds of stations across the country to modify their existing transmission systems to transmit on a different frequency.


Lakeshore Public Media provides quality local and original programming that educates, enlightens, and informs. Lakeshore Public Media chooses the best of NPR and PBS and other public media providers, broadcasting to millions of homes throughout Northwest Indiana, Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.  Lakeshore Public Radio can be heard on 89.1fm.   Lakeshore PBS broadcasts its main channel over the air on 56, on Comcast on 17 or 21 (HD Channel 239), on RCN Cable on 44, on Dish Network (HD Channel 6320), AT&T U-verse (HD Channel 1056) and DirecTV on 56.