Gurnee backs plan to move radio stations to mall

 
 
Posted2/6/2018 5:13 AM
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  • Gurnee Mills is one step closer to bringing four radio stations to the mall after the village board voted Monday to pay them $93,600 to help offset the renovation costs.

      Gurnee Mills is one step closer to bringing four radio stations to the mall after the village board voted Monday to pay them $93,600 to help offset the renovation costs. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Gurnee Mills is one step closer to bringing four Alpha Media radio stations to the mall after the village of Gurnee voted Monday to pay them $93,600 over three years to help offset the renovation costs.

The proposal includes two Kenosha-based stations -- WIIL 95.1-FM and WLIP 1050-AM -- and two based in Waukegan -- WKRS ESPN Deportes 1220-AM and WXLC 102.3-FM.

Even with the village's commitment, the mall and the radio conglomerate remain in negotiations, according to Karl Wertzler, the general manager of the stations.

"It's a step in the right direction, it's good to know we have the support of the village of Gurnee," Wertzler said.

Mayor Kristina Kovarik said she felt the deal was a win all around.

If Gurnee Mills and Alpha Media come to an agreement, Gurnee's money would help pay for the construction of the new studios, which would be built so mall goers could look in and see their favorite hosts and DJs live.

In exchange for the village's financial contribution, the radio stations would run ads for the village and do a live segment called "Gurnee's Got It" on one of the morning shows. Alpha Media estimates the value of those ads at $60,400 annually.

Kovarik said they hadn't yet determined which of the four stations would run the ads for the village.

Trustee Greg Garner said he was glad they were getting lots of commercials which will help bring the village lots of attention. Garner said he was also pleased that the radio stations would be going on the north end of the mall in spaces that have been vacant for at least ten years.

"We need traffic on that side of the mall," Garner said. "It's like we'll have an entertainment wing of the mall. It's a great fit."

Garner and all of the other trustees voted in favor of the plan.

"We stole something from Scott Walker," Trustee Michael Jacobs said, referring to the governor of Wisconsin, after the unanimous vote was tallied.

Wertzler said he's fielded many questions from listener in the days since the plan was made public last week. The two biggest questions were if the move would lead to a change in their programming or radio signal. Wertzler said they would both stay the same. The signal will still be broadcast over the same towers as before it will just be transmitted from a new location and they do not anticipate any changes to their programming if they move.

Kovarik said the village has had a great relationship with the radio stations in the past and are eager to have them in the mall.

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