Cumulus Media moving to NBC Tower

NBC Tower

NBC Tower

NBC Tower, home of WMAQ-Channel 5 since 1989, soon will house the consolidated studios and offices of Chicago’s four Cumulus Media radio stations.

The company has leased two floors of the 37-story office building at 455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, according to Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media. The move is expected to be completed by July 1.

In Chicago, Cumulus Media owns news/talk WLS AM 890 and classic hits WLS FM 94.7. It also operates (with an option to buy) classic rock WLUP FM 97.9 and alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1. Sales offices of Westwood One and Radiate Media will share space with the company at the new location, Bowen said.

The move will be a two-step process for programming and promotions at The Loop and WKQX. Along with Westwood One host Jonathon Brandmeier, the two stations first will move out of their current studios in the Merchandise Mart, where their lease expires February 29. Temporary studios are being prepared for them at 190 North State Street.

When permanent studios are completed at NBC Tower, all four stations’ programming operations will move there.

WLS AM and FM have been ensconced at 190 North State Street since 1990 when they relocated from 360 North Michigan Avenue. At the time, the stations shared ABC ownership with WLS-Channel 7, which has occupied the State-Lake Building since the 1940s. Since 2007, when Walt Disney Co. sold its ABC Radio stations, WLS has leased its space.

The move will put WLS just steps away from Tribune Media news/talk rival WGN AM 720, located at Tribune Tower, 435 North Michigan Avenue.