The long-developing plan to move four radio stations to the Gurnee Mills mall will become reality next month.
The radio stations on the move are two Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin-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, the general manager of the stations, said there is still work to be done but the move should happen around mid-February.
The plan to relocate the radio stations was first before the Gurnee village board in February of 2018.
"It's been a long time coming," Wertzler said. "But there are some things worth waiting for."
Alpha Media's space will be on the north side of the mall, which tends to be less busy. When the renovations are done, mall patrons will be able to watch the hosts and DJs through glass while they are live on the air.
Wertzler said one of the prominent tasks workers have yet to complete is wiring the stations for live broadcast.
In May, the Gurnee village board approved a plan to pay Alpha Media $200,000 over three years to offset renovation costs.
As part of the agreement, Alpha Media will host at least 32 events at the mall each year, which officials hope will boost foot traffic there and ultimately increase the village's sales tax revenues. The stations will provide the village with radio ads valued at $129,000 per year for three years.
Ellen Dean, Gurnee's economic development director, gave a presentation on the new village ads at the Gurnee village board meeting last Monday. Dean said every week there will be a special segment on WXLC's morning show called "Gurnee's Got It."
The segment will feature things to do, businesses to visit and people to know in the village, Dean said. In addition, Alpha Media will provide Gurnee an 11-week ad run promoting the village in 24 stations throughout the Midwest including St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Aurora and Joliet. The ad run is valued at $107,250.
Several board members expressed their excitement over the move.
"It's going to be a great addition to that end of the mall," said village trustee Greg Garner. "It's been long-awaited."
Wertzler said he expects Alpha Media to announce a date for a grand-opening celebration in the coming weeks.