Mike Puente WBEZ Chicago Public Media reporter is now stationed in an office in Crown Point. He will continue to cover major events that concern the entire greater Chicago area. Having an office here in the city gives him easy access to things throughout
Updated: February 5, 2013 12:24PM
Michael Puente, a reporter for WBEZ-91.5 FM, is now stationed in an office in Crown Point. He will continue to cover major events that concern the entire greater Chicago area, but having an office here in the city gives him easy access to people and events throughout Northwest Indiana.
Puente was part of the duo of reporters that broke the East Chicago sidewalk corruption story years ago, working with Steve Patterson for the Post-Tribune.
“I’ve covered Northwest Indiana most of my working life,” Puente said.
They cover many things in Northwest Indiana from the Pierogi Festival in Whiting to new Gov. Mike Pence’s recent visit to Porter County.
Puente has been with WBEZ for the past seven years, running the Northwest Indiana bureau.
“Our stories are for the entire Chicagoland area,” Puente said. “We cover trends.”
WBEZ uses the Crown Point office, located on Hack Court, for covering state of Indiana news as well as regional news. Indiana, unlike financially-struggling Illinois, not only has a balanced budget but a budget surplus.
“That is important for our market in Illinois to hear about,” Puente said. “WBEZ wants to be that source of news.”
“We are not solely a radio station,” Puente noted of Chicago Public Media. “We are a website with a traditional media attached.”
All his stories go on the web with a short newscast about one minute long. The on-air is a brief story, and not long enough to fill a traditional newspaper story. To go onto the website he ends up writing this story both ways, for people to listen to and also for people to read.
“Even the feature stories are for the ear, not the eyes,” he said. “When online you have to re-write in newspaper format. A radio script is so different.”
The main office of WBEZ is on Navy Pier, and Puente still has to drive to Chicago occasionally, but since this new office on Hack Court in Crown Point has been opened, he does not need to go as often. There is a recording studio in the Hack Court office calls a “whisper room.” It has a connection of a quality that makes it sound like he is sitting in the newsroom on Navy Pier.
That way he can be part of a news broadcast and he also has the ability to record and produce podcasts from the soundproof booth.
In 1970, WBEZ became a charter member station of National Public Radio. In 1990, Chicago Public Media was created and acquired the WBEZ license from the Chicago school board, which had started the station.