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Lake Effect producer Mallory Cheng is leaving WUWM for new opportunity

Lake Effect producer Mallory Cheng in the Lake Effect studio.
Becky Mortensen
Lake Effect producer Mallory Cheng in the Lake Effect studio.

Lake Effect producer Mallory Cheng is leaving WUWM on May 5th to join Wisconsin Public Radio as their Midday Host/News Producer. Mallory joined WUWM as a Lake Effect producer in June 2021. She has consistently produced work that focuses on underrepresented and often overlooked voices in the Milwaukee community. Mallory’s reporting on tuj lub courts coming to Milwaukee was heard on NPR in November 2022. It was also awarded Best Feature by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Mallory shared some highlights from her time at WUWM with Lake Effect’s Executive Producer Becky Mortensen:

BM: What’s been your favorite thing about working on Lake Effect?

MC: There's so many things about working at Lake Effect that has been really amazing, and really it's meeting so many people in the City of Milwaukee who are changing our community for the better and them having so much pride in the place that they call home and every day is just so different. I get to learn. One example that I'm thinking about, I thought of an interview with someone who was really passionate about Colby cheese being the state cheese of Wisconsin. I was just thinking about MCTS, people who fell in love on the bus. And I'm just like, every day is just so special. Every day it's just so different. And I love that about Lake Effect — nothing is the same or nothing is stagnant.

BM: What’s your favorite interview you’ve done and why?

MC: It has to be ... I know my family is so sick of hearing this, but it has to be tuj lub. I loved doing that story. Getting that on our airwaves, to talk about the sport — it was my first time doing sports reporting, my first attempt at it, who knows if I'll keep doing it, but really getting to learn about a sport I had no idea about and also getting to talk to people who are really passionate about it and it's just part of their life. Also getting to have that air on All Things Considered on a national level and being able to say and hear myself on the airwaves that was not expected for this year. But also getting to share the voices and the perspectives of Milwaukee and this city is just so amazing and positive. Besides, like what the narrative is from outside the city so, being able to share a moment of positivity and love on the airwaves in that way. I think about that sport a lot and whenever the tuj luj courts open I definitely will be trying it out.

BM: What will you miss most about the Milwaukee community?

MC: That's a hard question too! Any conversation with Derek Mosley. Derek, if you're hearing this, I really appreciate you. Selfishly, I wish that there was a Stone Creek Coffee outside of Milwaukee and also a Kopp's Frozen Custard. Please, please, please build locations in Madison! But I definitely will miss Lake Michigan most and everyone out there. But I'll miss the people and the places and the foods and the station, of course.

BM: Can you share a memorable guest, interview, or a top moment at WUWM?

MC: This was my first full-time public radio producing gig, like ever, so that in itself was very overwhelming. Coming into the station, everyone was always so kind and really care about the station, really care about Milwaukee and our listeners, and they share that genuinely in their stories. I've been really lucky to share space with all the reporters and producers who work here. So every day is the top moment here at the station. Definitely loved having my first Kringle here for the first time at Chase Tower!

I think about these guests a lot that I did for Valentine's Day, with the love stories on MCTS. Loved chatting with Emmett and Yolanda Nash and Todd and Kristine Wanta about their love story. And thinking about who do I want to spend my time with? Who do I want to spend my life with and just how do we share that time together? I really think that's also relatable to who you work with and people you see every day. It's like, OK, do I want to be with these people all the time? And I'm sure like a romantic partner, is so much different than your coworkers, but just coming to the station all the time and also thinking about what types of relationships do I want to have. And I think everyone here has that same thought. They care, everyone here cares. And also everyone that I got to interview throughout my time on Lake Effect, they care about what they do and they care about the city, and they also care about each other as people.

BM: Speaking for everybody here at WUWM, we are going to miss you a lot. I know you're going to do great stuff. You're awesome. I've loved working with you, and I wish you good luck!

Becky is WUWM's executive producer of Lake Effect.