After 24 years at 190 North State Street, WLS Radio is on the move.
A spokeswoman for Cumulus Media confirmed Friday that news/talk WLS AM 890 and classic hits WLS FM 94.7 will be relocating sales offices to the Merchandise Mart, where they’ll be consolidated with two other stations the company operates in Chicago — classic rock WLUP FM 97.9 and alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1.
The move is expected to be completed by mid-June, the spokeswoman said. While no date has been set for consolidation of WLS studios with the Loop and ’KQX, sources said plans are in the works for all four stations eventually to operate from one location.
WLS AM and WLS FM have been ensconced at 190 North State Street since 1990 when they moved over from 360 North Michigan Avenue (where they’d been since 1960). At the time, the radio stations shared ABC ownership with WLS-Channel 7, which has been an occupant of the historic State-Lake Building since the 1940s.
“It’s like dying and going to heaven,” then-president and general manager Tom Tradup said of the new $4 million digs for radio operations on the eighth and ninth floors.
Since 2007, when Walt Disney Co. sold its ABC Radio stations to Citadel Broadcasting, WLS has been leasing its space in the building as a tenant. WLS recently marked its 90th year on the air in Chicago.
Cumulus Media has been operating the Loop and ’KQX since January under terms of a local marketing agreement with Merlin Media, which still holds the licenses for the two properties. A sale is expected to be completed in the future.