Gurnee Mills in talks to bring four radio stations to mall

Gurnee Mills is in discussions with radio conglomerate Alpha Media to bring four of their radio stations to the mall and give shoppers the opportunity to see live broadcasts.

The Gurnee village board will vote Monday on whether to help pay for the move, should it happen. According to village documents, Gurnee would kick in $93,600 over three years to help pay to renovate the vacant store space to suit the four radio stations.

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.

Karl Wertzler, general manager of the stations, said such a move would be amazing but stressed nothing has been signed and officials are exploring other options as well.

According to village documents, Gurnee Mills said the cost to renovate the space, including new ceilings, floors, equipment, a radio tower and other features, is expected to exceed $266,500.

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.

Such a move would allow the radio stations to host more live events at the mall. Wertzler said they hosted events there during the holiday season, including a friendly high school choir competition and a toy drive.

The proposal stems from major flooding at the studio at 3250 Belvedere Road in Waukegan in July 2017, Wertzler said.

"There have been many flooding experiences in that building over the years," he said. "Our corporate officers would like to get us out of there."

Discussions between the radio stations and Gurnee Mills have gone on for about six months, he said.

"We'll see where it goes. There's no timeline or anything," Wertzler said. "Hopefully, if things develop as they could, who knows? Maybe, it could get done."

The village board will host a public hearing on the proposed $93,600 contribution at 6:45 p.m. Monday before the 7 p.m. village board meeting at village hall, 325 N. O'Plaine Road in Gurnee.

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