Lakeshore PBS Bounce Back Campaign: Our Goal

Lakeshore PBS is asking the community we serve to help us Bounce Back!  Our goal is to raise $125,000 through this campaign to replenish funds used for transmitter and equipment repair and replacement and unplanned loss of membership contributions during our extended outage. To show our appreciation for your support, any donation of $75 or more will receive a 12-month subscription to our Member Guide, access to Lakeshore PBS Passport, and an exclusive Member Discount Card. Donate $100 or more and you’ll get all of that plus your choice of a Lakeshore PBS Tote Bag or Lakeshore PBS Mug.

The Lakeshore PBS broadcast transmitter suffered an extreme power surge during a lightning storm rendering the transmitter unrepairable.  This resulted in Lakeshore PBS being off the air for all viewers who view this station via antenna and to all television service providers with the exception of Comcast due to their fiber infrastructure.  This outage impacted approximately 40% of the 3.4 million households we serve.

As a result, membership contributions dropped off significantly.  Lakeshore PBS is enormously grateful to those donors who stuck by the station, and all those that have contributed to this station over our 30 year history.  It was through their generous support that Lakeshore was able to have the funds in reserves to cover the initial costs of repair, but the huge outlay of funds has created concerns as we move forward.  The total overall expected loss of revenue is approximately $719,450. This includes cost of repairs, equipment and membership contributions. Insurance will cover some of this total, however at this time we can only anticipate less than half the total amount.

To be fully transparent, the following are the out of pocket costs to the repair and a timeline of the chain of events relating to the loss of service;

The initial loss of service took place on Monday July 16 at approximately 1pm and returned to operation on the lower power loaner transmitter with the completion of the tower work on Monday October 1 at approximately 6pm.  This work allowed us to return to broadcast operations at low power, which allowed us to broadcast our signal over-the-air and to reach the head-ends of Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T, and Metronet.

  • Transmitter replacement / installation – $268,224
  • Engineering services and materials – $6,182
  • Initial tower climb / repair (1 Day)  – $5,040
  • Old transmitter removal –  – $5,280
  • Transmitter tuning and system sweep – $6,250
  • Electrical installation – $15,910
  • Architectural and engineering drawings – $2,485

The station went off the air again on November 27 with ice in the tower cable causing disruption of service.  Additional costs incurred to repair the damage at the top of the transmitter are projected as follows:

  • Second tower climb / inspection repair – $72,000
  • Transmission line materials  – $12,180
  • Engineering services and materials – $6,035

This work allowed us to return to broadcast operations at low power, which allowed us to broadcast our signal over-the-air and to reach the head-ends of Dish Network, AT&T, and Metronet on March 27th.  While we are hitting the DirecTV head-end, they are denying carriage as it is below their acceptable signal strength for carriage.

The total of the above numbers, $356,380, represents out of pocket costs to return to full operation.

The above does not take in to account loss of revenue and loss of viewers from our extended outage which is estimated as follows:

Estimated lost revenue from donations July 16, 2018 through Oct 1, 2018

  • Three year average (same period FY’s 15/16/17) $188,165
  • Actual donations FY18 $70,736

Loss of $117,429

Estimated lost revenue from donations Nov 27, 2018 through March 27, 2019

  • Three year average (same period FY’s 16/16/17) $392,000
  • Actual donations FY19 $146,436

Loss of $245,600

Total estimated donations lost $363,000

Production Costs for Local Programming Produced By and Broadcasting on Lakeshore PBS

Community investment into Lakeshore PBS is critical to its continued service!  Shows such as Prep Football Report, celebrating its 30th year of reporting on the hard hitting action of Northwest Indiana High School football in true ESPN style even before ESPN was a thing!  Prep Football Report is quickly followed by Prep Football Scoreboard, reporting on all the scores from games across the region and Prep Sports Report, highlighting high school spring sports and area high schools top athletes from swimming, wrestling, basketball and more!  Eye on the Arts, the flagship program produced by Lakeshore PBS featuring artists creating their works right here in Northwest Indiana and telling the story of how the arts makes a positive impact on the community.  Now a tradition in the region, Making the Grade just wrapped its ninth season highlighting high school academics featuring the areas brightest students in this high school quiz show.  Plus two brand new shows in keeping with the mission of Lakeshore PBS to educate, enlighten and inform, Money on Call, a live studio based call in show produced with many community partners providing a judgement free environment for all our viewers financial questions.  Last but not least, Friends & Neighbors, this program seeks to tell the story of Northwest Indiana, it’s people and how they work together to create the personality of the region.

The production of local programming takes into consideration the following; man hours of administrative staff, camera operators, directors, hosts and other talent as well as editing, lighting, captioning, encoding, archiving and additional overhead.  The cost to produce does vary year to year based on a number of factors including set needs for new programs as an example. The following is a breakdown based on show types:

Average annual production costs for two seasons each of  Eye on the Arts and Friends & Neighbors (24 episodes)  = $117,000

Average annual production costs for one season of Making the Grade (15 episodes) = $55,700

Average annual production costs for Money on Call (8 episodes) = $62,000

Average annual production cost for Prep Football Report, Prep Football Scoreboard and Prep Sports Report (36 episodes total) = $172,000

Though considered a budgeted cost of operations, annual production costs of local programming totals approximately = $407,000


Lakeshore PBS (then known as Channel 56) began broadcasting in 1988.  Incorporated by six original board members and 104 individuals and businesses as the charter members who recognized the positive impact a local PBS affiliate would have on the Northwest Indiana and neighboring Chicagoland communities and its residents.  Lakeshore PBS began producing programming that the region hungered for; its own newscast and programs that reflected the creative and expressive interests of this community such as the outdoors and local sports. Civic engagement was also high on the communities list of priorities and Lakeshore PBS held many issues based conversations and insights into our political leadership and their representation of the their constituents.  Today, Lakeshore PBS remains works to remain relevant through numerous listening opportunities whether it be by our Community Advisory Board, sponsors, surveys and the many emails and calls we take from members of the communities we serve. In response Lakeshore PBS produces Prep Football Report, Prep Football Scoreboard, Prep Sports Report, Eye on the Arts, Making the Grade, Money on Call and most recently, Friends & Neighbors.