Tommy Williams, Michael Puente earn Best of Indiana Journalism awards

Tommy Williams, host of “Lakeshore Sports” on Lakeshore Public Radio (WLPR 89.1FM), was awarded third place in the Radio Sports Reporting category of the 2021 Best of Indiana Journalism Awards held April 22 by the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

A Gary-native, Williams is also co-host of “Prep Sports Report” and “Prep Football Report,” which air on Lakeshore PBS, as well as the PA announcer for the Gary Southshore RailCats. While his passion for sports is what drives him, Williams said it is a team effort that generates success.

“It just goes to show what happens when Jesus blesses you with great people to work for and great people to work with,” he said.

Lakeshore Public Media’s President and CEO James A. Muhammad said that is the kind of mindset that has made the organization so successful, especially in recent years.

“Lakeshore is comprised of a team of very talented individuals, but our team is also very diverse,” he said. “That diversity doesn’t just reflect our community, but it’s also what makes our local programming as well as the organization as a whole so unique and why we’re flourishing right now.”

Vice President of Radio Operations Tom Maloney commends the commitment and enthusiasm that Williams has brought to Lakeshore Public Media.

“Tommy has been covering prep sports on a near daily basis with us since day one, and you can still hear that passion in his reporting. He deserves this recognition and we were all excited to see him receive it,” he said.

Michael Puente, host of “Off Mic” which aired on Lakeshore Public Radio (WLPR 89.1FM) since 2019, was awarded third place in the Radio Public Affairs category of the Best of Indiana Journalism Awards.

Puente, who has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, covers news and issues primarily in Northwest Indiana and Chicago’s south suburbs for WBEZ. He partnered with Lakeshore Public Radio in 2019 to produce “Off Mic,” which aired weekly until its final episode on April 6.

“I’m very proud of ‘Off Mic’ and the work we put in it, the topics we covered and the people we interviewed. It was all to give Northwest Indiana more information and news they could use,” Puente said. “I want to thank the staff of Lakeshore Public Radio for making the show an award winner.”

Lakeshore Public Media’s President and CEO James A. Muhammad said the partnership with WBEZ benefited the community through its reporting.

“Our team is dedicated to serving Northwest Indiana residents through high-quality local news and public affairs programming, so we always embrace opportunities to further serve that mission by collaborating with distinguished organizations like WBEZ and professionals like Michael,” Muhammad said.

Lakeshore Public Radio, a nonprofit NPR-affiliated station, currently reaches listeners across Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties in Northwest Indiana with its over-the-air broadcast. Equipment upgrades are nearly complete that will increase the station’s population coverage area by 75 percent. The station is also accessible online at LakeshorePublicRadio.org as well as via numerous streaming apps like Spotify, TuneIn Radio and iTunes.

Lakeshore Public Media has been a public broadcasting entity based in Northwest Indiana for nearly 35 years.  Lakeshore Public Media operates both Lakeshore PBS and Lakeshore Public Radio. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to enrich the lives of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana residents through lifelong learning, the celebration of human diversity, and engagement in civic concerns.

More information including Lakeshore Public Radio’s full schedule can be found online at LakeshorePublicRadio.org.