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Pritzker names Melody Spann Cooper commissioner for state liquor commission

The liquor commission’s chairman and commissioners — six in total — are appointed to six-year terms by the governor, and require confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

Melody Spann Cooper
Melody Spann Cooper, the president of WVON-Radio, the city’s only black-owned station.
Provided photo

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday named Melody Spann Cooper — the owner of Chicago’s only African American owned radio station, WVON-AM — a commissioner to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

Spann Cooper is the chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corp., parent owner of WVON-AM 1690, which she bought in 1999. She has also served as commissioner of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Obama Library Foundation. Spann Cooper is an executive board member of The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters; a board member for Chicago’s tourism board, Choose Chicago and a trustee of the Museum of Science & Industry, according to her biography.

In a statement, Pritzker’s office said the appointment builds “on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields.”

The liquor commission’s chairman and commissioners — six in total — are appointed to six-year terms by the governor, and require confirmation by the Illinois Senate. The commission holds formal hearings on violations from state liquor inspectors and hears appeals challenging local liquor commissioner orders, according to the commission.

Commissioners are paid $34,053 per year, while the chairman is paid $38,917.

As of Tuesday, there were three vacancies on the commission. The term of Constance Beard, who chairs the commission, ends on Feb. 10, 2020. Beard led the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce Tax Institute, and also served as director of the Illinois Department of Revenue under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.