Chicago Public Media is home to WBEZ 91.5 FM, Vocalo 89.5 FM and a range of acclaimed local and national productions including: Sound Opinions, Worldview, Morning Shift and Radio M.
As a public media institution we are deeply invested in the civic life and health of the community we serve. Our programs and services are dedicated to sparking meaningful connections between people; whether it is linking Chicagoans to the wider world or connecting neighbors that might not otherwise meet.
Originally established as an extension service of the Chicago Board of Education, Chicago Public Media first signed on as WBEZ in 1943. For most of these early years, the station only broadcast educational instruction, operating during the school year on weekdays while Chicago Public Schools were in session. In 1970, the station became one of the first charter member stations of National Public Radio (NPR). In 1990, Chicago Public Media acquired the WBEZ license from the Board of Education as an independent commuinty licensee and not-for-profit: WBEZ Alliance, Inc.
Today, Chicago Public Media broadcasts its primary service on three FM radio stations: WBEZ 91.5 FM in Chicago, WBEQ 90.7 FM in Morris, and 91.3 FM (W217BM) in Elgin, Illinois. In addition to local programming, Chicago Public Media produces This American Life, Sound Opinions, and Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! (a co-production with NPR) for national distribution. In 2005, Chicago Public Media launched a new public media service, Vocalo, which is broadcast on WBEW 91.1 FM in Chesterton, Indiana.
In April 2010, Chicago Public Media's Board of Directors adopted the name "Chicago Public Media" in order to become a better recognized and stronger leader among public media creators and distributors, while aiming to continue the creation of challenging, informative and emotional media experiences that enhance civic life and improve community health by further deepening and growing our existing portfolio of public media brands.
Chicago Public Media serves the public interest by creating and delivering diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires, enriches and entertains. Through a broad range of media platforms, we connect diverse audiences in our service area and beyond to one another. We help them make a difference in our communities, our region, and our world.
- Approved by the Chicago Public Media Board of Directors, April 2010
We also support and have adopted the Public Media Code of Integrity developed by the Affinity Group Coalition and the Station Resource Group.
Board of Directors
A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, Chicago Public Media is governed by a Board of Directors that meets regularly throughout the year, with all meetings open to the public.
Steve Baird | Chair
Matt Moog | Vice Chair
Anne W. Kritzmire | Secretary
James N. Perry, Jr. | Treasurer
Stephen W. Beard
Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D.
Elissa Hamid Efroymson
William A. Gee, IV
Grace B. Hou
Jay L. Kloosterboer
Lerry J. Knox
James W. Mabie
Kay W. McCurdy
Constantine S. Mihas
Ralph R. Mueller
Honorary Past Chairs:
Scott P. Marks, Jr.
David J. Rudis
Alexander D. Stuart
The Chicago Public Media Complex is located at 848 E. Grand Avenue on Chicago's Navy Pier overlooking Lake Michigan and houses the WBEZ and Vocalo production studios and offices, including The Jim & Kay Mabie Performance Studio available for rental use. We produce our award-winning local programs Morning Shift and Worldview here, as well as our national program Sound Opinions, and have a wide range of Audio Services available for rental use. This facility also houses the Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! and Third Coast International Audio Festival production teams.
The award-winning WBEZ Newsroom staff is based here, but we also have reporters permanently staffing four Community Bureaus. They are located in Northwest Indiana and three Chicago neighborhoods: Little Village, Park Manor, and Rogers Park.
All four levels of our 45,000 square foot facility are accessible by elevators/lifts and accessible parking is available in both the East and West garages located adjacent to entry doors.
Normal business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are based on staff availability and must be booked in advance. If you are interested in touring the station, feel free to request a tour by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.