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Posts Tagged ‘Tribune’

Pew Report: Total Value of Station Acquisitions Hits 7-Year High

In the annual State of the News Media report, Pew Research Center finds local television station sales in 2013 were up 205% compared to 2012. Nearly 300 stations were sold last year for a total of $8.8 billion, a 367% increase in total value compared to the previous year.

pew report local tv acquisitions

Sinclair led the way among station groups, purchasing 63 stations in 2013. Gannett purchased Belo, adding 20 stations, and Tribune Co. acquired Local TV, expanding its portfolio by 19 stations. The total value of local television acquisitions in 2013 was the highest it has been since 2006.

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Q3 Earnings: Tribune Broadcasting Revenue Dips 6%

Tribune_buildingTribune Company reported $248 million in broadcasting revenues for the third quarter of 2013, a -6% drop compared to the year-ago quarter.

The company attributed the decline to a $9 million decrease in advertising revenue, mostly at WGN in Chicago and WPIX in New York. The declines were partially offset by higher retransmission revenues, Tribune says.

“While we are pleased with the progress we have made on key strategic initiatives in the  third quarter, our financial results in the period did not meet our expectations,” Tribune president and CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement. “We are taking targeted actions to position our broadcasting stations for profitable growth and look forward to consummating the pending acquisition of Local TV.”

Hubbard Interested in Buying Tribune Stations

Hubbard Broadcasting, which last year acquired 17 radio stations from Bonneville International, is interested in purchasing some of Tribune’s radio and TV holdings.

Stanley Hubbard (right), the company’s CEO, recently told Crain’s Chicago that he would consider buying stations from Tribune if the price and location are right.  Though he added that he hasn’t had any discussions with the company, which is reportedly looking to streamline its corporate structure as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Based in St. Paul, MN, Hubbard currently owns a dozen TV stations in New Mexico, New York, and Minnesota, including flagship KSTP in the Twin Cities.  As a result of the Bonneville deal, Hubbard now owns a handful of radio stations in Tribune’s hometown of Chicago.

Judge Rejects Tribune Bankruptcy Exit Plans

The Tribune bankruptcy saga continues.

The judge in Tribune Co’s Chapter 11 case rejected two competing plans for reorganizing the company on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times, extending the company’s three-year stay in bankruptcy.

There were two plans on the table for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey’s consideration.  One was proposed by Tribune and a group of senior creditors, including JPMorgan Chase, and the other was proposed by hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management and a group of junior bondholders, who argue that Tribune’s proposed $500 million settlement payment is too cheap. Read more

Tribune Co. Names Eddy Hartenstein CEO

Tribune Co., which owns 24 stations across the country including WPIX in New York and WGN in Chicago, announced today that its board of directors has appointed Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, as president and CEO.

“The board feels strongly that it is in Tribune’s best interests to have one person providing strategic vision and day-to-day direction for the company and its employees as we prepare to emerge from the Chapter 11 process,” said Sam Zell, Tribune’s chairman, in announcing the move.  “Eddy is a gifted executive—he knows our operations, understands how technology is changing the media industry, and can help the company capitalize on those changes to continue achieving meaningful financial results.”

Hartenstein will continue to serve as publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times.  Before joining Tribune, Hartenstein served as chairman and CEO of DirecTV.

“Tribune’s unique mix of broadcasting, publishing and digital assets, along with its forward-looking technology group, positions the company well for success,” said Hartenstein.

As Lone Sports Anchor Departs, Dallas’s KDAF Lines Up MMJs to Cover Sports

Veteran sports anchor-reporter Dave Crome (right) is leaving Dallas’s KDAF this week after 10+ years with the Tribune-owned station.

As Dallas media blogger Ed Bark points out, Crome’s departure leaves KDAF without any current sports staffers, as Crome’s onetime colleagues Desmond Purnell and Candice Crawford left the station earlier this year.

KDAF’s empty sports department has led some to speculate that the CW-affiliate will take a page from the playbook of WPIX, Tribune’s New York station, and cut the department altogether.  News director David Duitch assures TVSpy that is not the case.

In a phone conversation yesterday, Duitch said that he has lined up two MMJs with Texas roots to cover sports for KDAF. Duitch expects the MMJs to start after the May book. Read more

Larry Delia Named VP-GM of WXIN-WTTV

Tribune announced this week that Larry Delia has been named vice president and general manager of WXIN-WTTV, the company’s Indianapolis duopoly.

Delia has been part of Tribune Broadcasting since 2002. He worked as VP-GM of the company’s New Orleans duopoly, WGNO-WNOL, from 2002-08, and has held the same position at Harrisburg’s WPMT since ’08.

“Larry is a talented, innovative executive who has great experience managing television duopolies,” said Jerry Kersting, Tribune Broadcasting’s president, in announcing the promotion.

Delia, who said that he’s “really proud of the success we’ve enjoyed in Harrisburg,” began his career as an account executive and gradually climbed the ranks of the sales team at Hartford’s WTIC. He served as general manager of WVNY in Burlington, VT for four years before becoming a station boss with Tribune.

Preparing to Expand Morning Newscast, WGN Signs Reporter Erin Mendez

Erin Mendez has been upped to full-time status at Chicago’s WGN.

Mendez had been working as a freelance reporter for the Tribune-owned CW-affiliate and now, according to Chicago media reporter Robert Feder, she has signed on to be an early morning anchor and daytime traffic reporter.

The move comes as WGN prepares to bump up its morning start-time to 4:00 a.m.

Before joining on with WGN, where she helped launch the station’s online traffic reporting show “CommuterCast” in 2007, Mendez worked at Tribune’s Chicago cable channel CLTV and Milwaukee’s WDJT.

Feder predicts that Mendez will be the first of a handful of hirings at WGN as the station prepares to expand its morning newscast.

Tribune’s WPIX Skips Over Breaking News in Assembly Line Newscast

New York’s WPIX was constrained by its newscast’s slick format on Monday night when breaking news hit.

Just after 8 p.m. on Monday, two planes collided while taxiing at JFK airport. And while WPIX’s rival WNYW began its 10 p.m. newscast with prolonged coverage of the accident, the Tribune-owned CW-affiliate launched into its regular “11 in 11″ segment, giving just a few seconds to the breaking news before darting to another story in the fast-paced rundown of news that begins every WPIX nighttime newscast.

As FishbowlNY points out, anchor Jodi Applegate (above, right) mentioned the JFK accident as the #1 story of “11 in 11″ as the station showed still photos from a website. Meanwhile, WNYW, which has lately been expanding its 10 p.m. ratings lead, devoted several minutes of “Breaking News” coverage to the story with live video and reporting from its chopper.

For its part, WPIX eventually returned to the JFK story later in the newscast (around 10:20) with Marvin Scott reporting live from the airport. Read more at FishbowlNY

As Larry Mendte Returned from Libya Empty-Handed, Some Question Wisdom of Trip

WPIX reporter Larry Mendte returned from Libya last week after a hectic trip to the country’s capital with U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon, and now some are questioning the wisdom of the mission as Weldon’s planned meeting with Muammar Qaddafi never materialized.

“This is a station that fires people left and right, and they’ll pay for a Libya trip,” a WPIX insider complained to the New York Post recently.

This morning the Post published a takedown of WPIX, which is currently trailing far behind its rival WNYW in the ratings, and wondered if Mendte’s trip to Libya was less about bolstering the station’s hard news identity and more about repairing the image of the troubled reporter, who is in the midst of a messy legal battle with his former KYW co-anchor Alycia Lane: Read more

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