City Chesterton, Indiana
Broadcast area Northwest Indiana
Branding Vocalo "Real Life Radio"
Frequency 89.5 FM(also on HD Radio) NW Indiana
90.7 FM(also on HD Radio) Chicago
91.5 FM(also on HD Radio) HD2 Chicago
First air date 1995 (WAJW)
Format User-generated content
ERP 4000 watts
HAAT 181.9 meters (597 ft)
Class B1 NCE
Facility ID 3248
Transmitter coordinates 41°38′06.1″N 87°02′59.1″W / 41.635028°N 87.049750°W / 41.635028; -87.049750Coordinates: 41°38′06.1″N 87°02′59.1″W / 41.635028°N 87.049750°W / 41.635028; -87.049750 (NAD83)
Former callsigns WAJW (19952002)
Owner Chicago Public Media
(The WBEZ Alliance, Inc.)
Sister stations WBEZ/WBEQ
Website www.vocalo.org

WBEW is a non-commercial educational (NCE), Class B1 public radio station on 89.5 MHz at Chesterton in Northwest Indiana. Since June 2007, the station has been the broadcast element of Vocalo, broadcasting primarily uploaded or e-mailed user-generated content; other Vocalo content is on the web but not broadcast over the FM station.[1] It is owned by Chicago Public Media and is a sister station to WBEZ in Chicago.

Vocalo.org hosts play content that listeners upload to the Vocalo.org website (which includes: personal stories, news items, music, interviews, commentary, fiction, poetry, comedy, etc.), by encouraging submissions through community training programs, providing access to equipment, and by teaching people how to use their telephones to record and submit pieces to the station.[2]

WBEW broadcasts in the HD Radio format.[3]


WBEW came on the air in 1995 holding the call letters WAJW,[4] and was owned by Auricle Communications. WAJW aired a Freeform radio format, largely simulcasting WFMU 91.1 in East Orange, New Jersey.[5] In November 2002 WBEW was purchased by Chicago Public Media and its call letters were changed to WBEW. Chicago Public Media simulcast 91.5 WBEZ on the station from November 2002 until June 2007.[6]


Originally titled The Secret Radio Project, the website was created by Chicago Public Media in an attempt to create "radically public radio" that reached a more racially diverse and younger audience than NPR.[7] The station adopted its current format on June 4, 2007. While created by Chicago Public Media, Vocalo.org is not marketed as a public radio station, does not broadcast nationally produced public radio programs and also does not openly use on-air pledge drives as a funding source.[8]

In January 2013, Vocalo began simulcasting on 90.7 FM WRTE in Chicago's west side.[9] The WRTE signal was previously the youth driven bilingual (Spanish-English) community radio project called "Radio Arte" The signal was purchased from the National Museum of Mexican Art and subsequently moved to the 90.7 FM frequency and expanded.

Daily hosts

Jesse Menendez, Brian Babylon, Molly Adams, Luis Antonio Perez, Jill Hopkins

Specialty programming hosts

Ayana Contreras, Audra Wilson, Catalina Maria-Johnson, Richard Steele


  1. Careless, James (2007-12-05). "Vocalo.org: From Web to Broadcast". Radio World. New York City: NewBay Media. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  2. Chicago Public Radio Outreach Program
  3. http://www.hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  4. Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed August 26, 2012
  5. North East RadioWatch BostonRadio.com. July 15, 2002. Accessed August 26, 2012
  6. Feder, Robert. "WLS Radio hanging up on callers who 'sound old'" Chicago Sun Times. November 21, 2002.
  7. Current.org Fresh Startup Keeps Old Ideals
  8. Vocalo.org Official website
  9. ChicagoRadioAndMedia.com Chicago Public Media Moves WRTE-FM To 90.7, Simulcasts Vocalo
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