Tribune Company

Tribune Company

company_name = Tribune Company

company_type = Private
company_slogan = various
foundation = 1847
industry = News, entertainment
location = Chicago, Illinois
key_people = Sam Zell, Chairman and CEO
Randy Michaels, COO
Ed Wilson, President, Tribune Broadcasting,
Marc Chase, President, Tribune Interactive,
Lee Abrams, Chief Innovation Officer,
Sean Compton, Senior Vice President, Programming & Entertainment
num_employees = 21,500
products = television, newspapers, radio
revenue = , FY 2005)
homepage = []

The Tribune Company is a large American multimedia corporation based in Chicago, Illinois. It is the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, responsible for the "Chicago Tribune", "Los Angeles Times", "Newsday", "Hartford Courant", "Orlando Sentinel", and the "Baltimore Sun", among others. Through other subsidiaries, the Tribune Company also owns Tribune Broadcasting, Tribune Entertainment, Tribune Media Services, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

In 2008, Tribune is struggling under a $13 billion debt load, much of it incurred in taking the company private in 2007, and from plummeting advertising income at its newspapers. Actions being contemplated or already initiated to meet the debt obligations include widespread newspaper staff layoffs, selling Newsday, selling the Chicago Cubs and their stadium (Wrigley Field) and, perhaps most starkly, selling the iconic Chicago Tribune Tower and Los Angeles Times Building. [cite web|url=
title=Newspapers, reeling from slumping ads, slash jobs |last=Sutel |first=Seth |date=2008-06-29| accessdate=2008-06-29|work= |publisher=Associated Press

Tribune History

Tribune is a media industry leader reaching more than 80 percent of U.S. households through newspaper publishing, television and radio broadcasting and the Internet. Operations are concentrated in the nation’s major markets, including the top three, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The company was founded in 1847. That year, on June 10, the Chicago Tribune published its first edition in a one-room plant located at LaSalle and Lake Streets. The original press run consisted of 400 copies printed on a hand press.

In 1869, the Tribune erected its first building, a four-story structure at Dearborn and Madison Streets. In October 1871, when the Great Chicago Fire raged through the city, the wooden building was destroyed, as was most of the city. The Tribune reappeared two days later with an editorial declaring "Chicago Shall Rise Again." The newspaper’s editor and part-owner, Joseph Medill, was elected mayor and led the city’s reconstruction. A native Ohioan who first acquired an interest in the Tribune in 1855, Medill gained full control of the newspaper in 1874 and guided it until his death in 1899.

Medill’s two grandsons, Robert R. McCormick and Joseph Medill Patterson, assumed leadership of the company in 1911. That same year, the Chicago Tribune’s first newsprint mill opened in Thorold, Ontario. The mill marked the beginnings of the Canadian newsprint producer later known as QUNO, in which Tribune held an investment interest until 1995.

Chicago’s WGN Radio (720 AM) went on the air in 1924, its call letters reflecting the Chicago Tribune’s renowned slogan, "World’s Greatest Newspaper." The station was an innovator from the start. It was first to broadcast the World Series, the Indianapolis 500 and the Kentucky Derby, and broke new ground by introducing microphones in the courtroom during the famous 1925 Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee. Today, Tribune’s original broadcast property is a 50,000-watt Midwest powerhouse.

Also in 1925, the company completed a new headquarters and one of Chicago’s first "skyscrapers." Tribune Tower’s neo-Gothic design was chosen from 263 entries in a $100,000 international competition. The 36-story building is a Chicago landmark and perhaps best known for the many historic stones and artifacts embedded in its limestone exterior.

The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate was formed in 1918. Its successor, Tribune Media Services, is one of the largest and most diverse content syndication operations in the world, managing and delivering content to a broad range of media and business customers. TMS customers can choose from hundreds of different content products, including classic to cutting-edge comic strips, columns from top commentators and other specialty features products. In addition, the TMS Entertainment Products Group collects and distributes television programming data and movie listings.

Tribune entered the infant television industry in 1948, when it established WGN-TV in Chicago, followed by WPIX-TV in New York. These stations, now affiliates of The CW Television Network, became the foundation for Tribune Television, today one of the country’s largest independent TV groups.

A century of family leadership, starting with Joseph Medill in 1855, ended with the passing of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, in 1955. The McCormick Tribune Foundation was established as a charitable trust upon McCormick’s death and now claims assets of more than $2 billion and annual giving of $100 million.

In the 1960s, the company entered the fast-growing Florida market, acquiring the Fort Lauderdale-based Sun-Sentinel in 1963 and the Orlando Sentinel in 1965. A third television station, Denver’s KWGN-TV, was purchased in 1966.

The formation of Tribune Broadcasting Company in 1981 signaled the growing importance of television in the company’s business mix. Another key event in 1981 was Tribune’s acquisition of the Chicago Cubs baseball team from the Wrigley family for $20.5 million. WGN Radio and WGN-TV had been broadcasting Cubs games since those stations first went on the air. Since 1978, when WGN-TV became a "superstation," the Cubs have been aired to a national audience via cable. Today, WGN America (formerly Superstation WGN) reaches about 60 million U.S. homes outside Chicago through cable and direct broadcast satellite.

Tribune Entertainment Company was created in 1982 and today develops, produces and distributes television programming for Tribune stations and non-Tribune stations nationwide. Based in Hollywood, the business distributes and co-produces some of the TV industry’s most successful syndicated weekly one-hour action dramas, including "Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda." Tribune Entertainment’s beginnings trace back to 1975 when it began syndicating "U.S. Farm Report."

In 1983, after 136 years of private ownership, Tribune became a public company with an initial offering of 7.7 million shares valued at $206 million. The opening price per share was $26.75. At the time, it was one of the largest IPOs ever made. The company’s New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol was TRB before going private.

Several acquisitions served to accelerate Tribune’s growth in the mid-1980s. Most significant was the 1985 purchase of KTLA-TV in Los Angeles for $510 million. This made Tribune the only non-network company to own VHF stations in the country’s top three markets. Television stations in Atlanta and New Orleans were acquired shortly before KTLA, and the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) joined Tribune’s newspaper group in 1986.

Tribune grew dramatically during the 1990s, spurred by a loosening of federal regulations restricting television and radio ownership. This resulted in rapid consolidation within the broadcasting industry and Tribune played the role of consolidator by expanding its holdings in the top 40 markets. Through a series of acquisitions and investments, the company emerged as one of the largest owners and operators of television stations in the nation. Key additions included Philadelphia’s WPHL-TV in 1991 and Boston’s WLVI-TV in 1994.

In what would prove a wise investment, Tribune acquired an equity interest in The WB Television Network upon its launch in 1995. The move ensured that Tribune stations would have access to original and high-quality prime-time programming at affordable prices. Soon, The WB would prove to be a magnet for teenage and young-adult viewers -- an audience of paramount importance to most advertisers.

CLTV, the Chicago area’s first and only 24-hour all-news cable channel, took to the air in 1993. As the sister station of the Chicago Tribune, CLTV quickly became a model for multimedia content sharing and cross promotion throughout Tribune. Today, Tribune newspapers actively partner with the news operations of Tribune television stations in their markets or with non-Tribune broadcasters, including local radio stations. The strategy expands the audience for their newspaper content and the on-air promotion helps increase readership.

Tribune’s television stations and newspapers are complemented by high-traffic news and information websites that are unrivaled among their peers for content and functionality. The sites are operated by Tribune Interactive -- established in 1999 and now among the leading online networks in the country. The group manages all aspects of the company’s TV and newspaper sites, plus special-interest sites like and many sites featuring local dining and entertainment information. Affiliated national-brand classified advertising sites, in which Tribune owns an equity interest, include CareerBuilder, and

Tribune’s total operating revenues had grown to an impressive $2.2 billion in 1995. But several major acquisitions were ahead -- transactions that would push revenues to more than $5 billion by the end of 2002.

Television stations in Houston and San Diego were acquired in 1996, followed in 1997 by Tribune’s largest television acquisition ever -- Renaissance Communications for $1.1 billion. Six stations joined the Tribune group, including KDAF-TV in Dallas and WBZL-TV in Miami.

But the most significant Tribune acquisition was yet to come, and this time the assets gained would be newspapers. The merger with The Times Mirror Company, completed in June 2000, effectively doubled the size of Tribune and secured its position among the top tier of major media companies. The $8.3 billion transaction was the largest acquisition in newspaper industry history.

The Times Mirror merger added seven daily newspapers to the Tribune fold, headlined by the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. Tribune was now the only media company with newspapers and television stations in the top three markets. Among other advantages from the merger, including various economies of scale, Tribune newspapers could now effectively compete for national advertising. Tribune Media Net, the national advertising sales organization of Tribune Publishing, was established in 2000 to take advantage of the company’s expanded scale and scope.

Daily newspapers targeting urban commuters represent yet another growth initiative. The Chicago Tribune launched its RedEye edition in 2002, and one year later Tribune invested in amNewYork. Both tabloids are distributed free of charge and geared to young adults who want their news in a fast-paced, entertaining format. In 2006, Tribune acquired the minority equity interest in amNewYork and now holds full ownership in the newspaper, which is printed by Newsday.

On April 2, 2007, Chicago-based investor Sam Zell announced plans to buy out the media company for $34.00 a share, totalling $8.2 billion. Zell's intentions were to turn the company private. The deal was approved by 97% of the Company's shareholders on August 21, 2007. [cite news
author = Desiree J. Hanford | title = Tribune Shareholders Back Zell’s Takeover
url =,%20Sam
work = Media & Advertising | publisher = The New York Times | location = Chicago
date = 2007-08-21 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
quote = At a special shareholder meeting held in the building that The Chicago Tribune calls home, the deal won support from 97 percent of votes cast...
] Privatization of the Tribune Company occurred on December 20, 2007 with termination of trading in Tribune stock at the close of the market. [cite news
author = Dave Carpenter (Associated Press)
title = Tribune buyout, at $8.2 billion, closes in Chicago
url =
work = Business | publisher = The News Journal | location = Chicago
date = 2007-12-21 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
quote = Tribune Co.'s $8.2 billion buyout closed Thursday December 20, 2007 after an 8 1/2-month wait to secure final approval and financing, taking the ailing newspaper and TV company private under the control of real estate billionaire Sam Zell. At closing, former Clear Channel CEO Randy Michaels was named CEO of Interactive and Broadcasting. Michaels also oversees most of the Tribune papers.

On 21 December 2007, Tribune and Local TV announced plans to collaborate in the formation of an as yet unnamed "broadcast management company". [cite press release
title = Tribune and Local TV to Form Broadcast Management Company
publisher = Tribune Company | date = 2007-12-20 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Company and Local TV have entered into a letter of intent to create a third-party broadcast management company which will provide shared services to all of the stations Local TV and Tribune Company own, respectively.

On January 31,2008, Tribune Company announced it will purchase real estate currently leased from TMCT, LLC, which includes properties used by the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant. The company received an option to purchase the real estate for $175 million through the 2006 restructuring of TMCT, LLC.

In addition, Tribune announced the sale of Tribune Studios and related real estate in Los Angeles to Hudson Capital, LLC, for $125 million. The parties also agreed to a five-year lease allowing KTLA-TV to continue operating at the location through 2012. [cite press release
title = Tribune to Acquire Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.
publisher = Tribune Company | date = 2008-01-31 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Company today announced it will purchase real estate currently leased from TMCT, LLC, which includes properties used by the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant. The company received an option to purchase the real estate for $175 million through the 2006 restructuring of TMCT, LLC.

On February 4,2008, Tribune Company today named broadcast veteran Ed Wilson as president of Tribune Broadcasting, overseeing the company’s 23 television stations, Superstation WGN, Tribune Entertainment, and WGN Radio. His appointment is effective February 11. [cite press release
title = Ed Wilson Named President of Tribune Broadcasting.
publisher = Tribune Company | date = 2008-02-04 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Company today named broadcast veteran Ed Wilson as president of Tribune Broadcasting, overseeing the company’s 23 television stations, Superstation WGN, Tribune Entertainment, and WGN Radio. His appointment is effective February 11.

On April 14,2008, Tribune Gang Sets Out to Reinvent TV. [cite press release
title = Radio Daze: Tribune Gang Sets Out to Reinvent TV.
publisher = Broadcasting and Cable | date = 2008-04-14 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Gang Sets Out to Reinvent TV.

On April 17,2008, Tribune: A Leaner, More Open Company. [cite press release
title = Tribune: A Leaner, More Open Company.
publisher = Broadcasting and Cable | date = 2008-04-17 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune: A Leaner, More Open Company.

On April 28,2008, Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership. [cite press release
title = Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.
publisher = Broadcasting and Cable | date = 2008-04-28 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.

On July 29,2008, Cablevision Completes Newsday Buy from Tribune [cite press release
title = Cablevision Completes Newsday Buy from Tribune.
publisher = Broadcasting and Cable | date = 2008-04-28 | accessdate = 2007-12-21
url =
quote = Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.

On September 8, 2008, United Airlines lost (and later the same day almost regained) USD $1 billion in market value when an archived 2002 "Chicago Tribune" article appeared in the "most viewed" category on the website of the "Sun-Sentinel". Google News index's next pass found the link as new news. Income Security Advisors found the Google result to be new news, which was passed along to Bloomberg News where it became a headline. (Tribune Company who owns both papers noted that one click on a story in non-peak hours could flag an article as "most viewed".)cite news|author=Helft, Miguel|title=How a Series of Mistakes Hurt Shares of United|url=|work=The New York Times|publisher=The New York Times Company|accessdate=2008-09-15]

On September 22, 2008; Tribune Company, along with Cumulus Media, Entercom Communications, Bonneville International, Connoisseur Communications, former radio industry executive Bobby Lawrence and former CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander are making first round bids on 50 CBS Radio Stations. (see "radio station" section for more info)


Television stations

WGN-AM is the only radio station in Tribune's portfolio, however as of September 22, 2008; Tribune is among the seven candidates/companies to make first-round bids of the 50 radio stations in 12 small and mid-size markets being sold by CBS Radio. [ [ CBS Kicks Off Radio Station Auction] - "New York Post" (retrieved September 22, 2008)] If picked as a buyer and approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it will be the biggest radio station purchase in company history since its purchase of Renaissance Communications in 1997.

Tribune Papers

Other properties

Note: This list is partial


ee also

* List of assets owned by Tribune Company
* List of professional sports team owners
* Lists of corporate assets
* DRTV Research
* Tribune Interactive

External links

* [ Tribune Company's official website]
* [ Media properties owned by the Tribune Company] according to the Center for Public Integrity
* [ Tribune media profile]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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