WYIN, virtual channel 56 (UHF digital channel 17), is a PBS member television station located in Gary, Indiana, United States. The station is owned by Northwest Indiana Public Broadcasting, Inc., and is a sister station to NPR radio outlet WLPR-FM (89.1 FM). The two stations share studio facilities located on Indiana Place (Mississippi Street) in Merrillville; WYIN maintains transmitter facilities located near Lake Dalecarlia (due south of Cedar Lake). WYIN is one of three PBS member stations serving the Chicago television market, alongside Chicago-licensed WTTW (channel 11) and WYCC (channel 20).
WYIN evolved from WCAE, a non-commercial educational station that was originally licensed to the Lake Central School Corporation in St. John, which broadcast on UHF channel 50. The school system was unable to maintain broadcast operations and the station went dark in 1984.
Metrowest Corporation (owned by Fred Eychaner) purchased the station's license for $1.5 million, in exchange for the construction permit for WGMI, a proposed commercial independent station licensed to Gary on channel 56 that had been held by a group of Indiana businessmen since 1976, but was never built. Metrowest eventually took the channel 50 license to air as commercial station WPWR-TV (now a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station). The non-commercial license that was now reassigned to channel 56 was secured by the founding group of WYIN, who signed the station on the air on November 15, 1987.
For many years, WYIN fought to try to replace its aging transmitter and build a new tower atop either the Sears Tower or the John Hancock Center in downtown Chicago. These plans were opposed by the parents of WTTW (Window to the World Communications) and WYCC (City Colleges of Chicago), both of which were very critical of the move as it would make WYIN the third PBS station to fully serve the Chicago market. Currently, WYIN pays a lower license fee for its carriage of PBS programs. WTTW station management claimed that if WYIN was allowed to move its transmitter to Chicago, it would pay far less money for the rights to PBS programs while covering much of the same area, leaving WTTW at a disadvantage as well as taking valuable pledge donations from the station.
In the face of objections from WTTW, WYIN opted instead to build a new transmitter tower in Cedar Lake, Indiana. In November 2003, the station erected a 950 feet (290 m) transmission tower at its existing transmitter site, near Crown Point, which increased the station's power to 1.35 million.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|56.1||1080i||16:9||WYIN-D1||Main WYIN programming / PBS and APT programs in HD|
|56.3||480i||WYIN-D3||PBS Kids "Lakeshore Kids"|
In September 2010, digital subchannel 56.2 began simulcasting WYIN's main channel (digital subchannel 56.4 also simulcast digital channel 56.1 anamorphic widescreen standard definition, before that subchannel was deleted in 2012). On March 30, 2015, Lakeshore Public Media signed an affiliation agreement with NHK to broadcast its English language network NHK World on digital subchannel 56.2; the subchannel relaunched as an NHK World affiliate on April 1, and was also initially made available on Comcast digital channel 377.
WYIN carries "Lakeshore Kids" on digital subchannel 56.3, featuring children's programs primarily supplied by PBS Kids (some of them are distributed by American Public Television); the subchannel, which launched in 2010, is broadcast in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen standard definition.
WYIN began transmitting a digital signal on UHF channel 17 in February 2004, following the securement of a $2 million grant from the Indiana General Assembly; the digital transmission antenna was placed on its then-recently completed transmitter facility near Crown Point.
WYIN shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 56, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 17. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 56, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
The station began producing a weeknight prime time newscast focusing on local issues in northwest Indiana on September 4, 1990 as the Indiana Nightly Report. This newscast (which was also rebroadcast at midnight each weeknight) originally competed with the hour-long 9:00 p.m. newscasts that air on WGN-TV (channel 9) and Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD (channel 32).
Production of the program (later renamed 56 Nightly News) was suspended in December 1999, due to the lack of equipment to present a program at a viable technical quality and the issue of production costs for the newscast taking assets away from WYIN's other programming. The station entered into a news share agreement with AT&T Broadband to simulcast the local news program it produced for the provider's local origination channel; on February 5, 2001, WYIN resumed production of the program, now retitled 56 News (later to be renamed Lakeshore News Tonight in 2006). On May 6, 2013, the station expanded its newscasts into two separate broadcasts, with an early evening edition added at 6:00 p.m. while the late evening broadcast was moved to 10:00 p.m.
On January 29, 2014, WYIN announced that it would discontinue Lakeshore News Tonight as a daily news program after the January 31 broadcast due to a reduction in the station's funding; WYIN management announced plans to possibly bring back the program in the spring in a retooled format as a weekly program. Lakeshore Public Media will reassign members of WYIN's news staff to WLPR-FM, Lakeshore Public Media's website, and to work on other projects for WYIN as well as for the revamped newscast. In the interim, news programming on WYIN will be reduced to daily live weather updates that will debut on February 3. The program was relaunched as the half-hour week-in-review format Lakeshore Report in May of that year, airing weekly on Friday evenings. In addition, the station also produces the weekly news and public affairs program Lakeshore Focus also on Friday evenings.
Current on-air staff
- Local program hosts
- Kristyn Estes - host of Lakeshore Report
- Hilary Powell - assignment editor; host of Lakeshore Report
- Whitney Reynolds - host of The Whitney Reynolds Show (Mondays at 6:30 p.m.)