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Posts Tagged ‘Tribune Co.’

Q2 Earnings: Tribune Broadcasting Revenue Falls 20%

Tribune Co. reported $260 million in broadcast revenues for the second quarter of 2013, down -20% from $327 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline includes $41 million in one-time copyright royalties paid to WGN, Tribune’s CW affiliate in Chicago, in 2012.

Advertising revenue also declined $17 million in the quarter, primarily at WGN and WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York City. Tribune says WPIX continues to be impacted by the Cablevision blackout last year and WGN’s performance has been impacted by lower sports revenue. Retransmission and carriage fees were up 15% for the quarter.

“While our second quarter financial results reflect many of the same challenges faced by the other companies in our sector, we have made substantial progress strategically repositioning Tribune for long term growth,” Tribune president and CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement.

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Tribune Co. Plans Split of Broadcasting, Publishing Divisions

Tribune Co. intends to split its broadcasting and publishing divisions into separate companies, the Chicago Tribune reports. The announcement comes just a week after Tribune announced an expansion of its broadcast division with a $2.7 billion purchase of Local TV’s 19 stations.

In a statement, CEO Peter Ligouri said the separation is “designed to allow each company to maximize its flexibility and competitiveness in a rapidly changing media environment.”

“Moving to separate our publishing and broadcasting assets into two distinct companies will bring single-minded attention to the journalistic standards, advertising partnerships and digital prospects of our iconic newspapers, while also enabling us to take advantage of the operational and strategic opportunities created by the significant scale we are building in broadcasting,” Ligouri said.

The Chicago Tribune, Tribune’s flagship publication, reports a detailed plan for the split will be developed over the next year. Only the newspapers and publishing assets would move to the new company, Tribune Publishing Co. The company’s 42 television stations, as well as its radio properties, would be retained by Tribune Co.

Tribune to Buy Local TV for $2.725 Billion

The Tribune Company, along with Local TV Holdings, LLC, have announced they’ve entered into a definitive agreement for Tribune to buy all of Local TV’s 19 stations for $2.725 Billion in cash.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune—it makes us the #1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content, and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country,” said Peter Ligouri, Tribune’s president and CEO. “We couldn’t be more excited about Tribune’s future as America’s leader in creating and distributing original content and local news programming.”

The buy will give Tribune 42 stations across the US including FOX affiliate KDVR in Denver, CO, and ABC affiliate WNEP in Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA. Local TV had been operating Tribune’s CW affiliates in Denver (KWGN) and St. Louis, MO, (KPLR).

“My management team will dearly miss working with some of the most talented and dedicated people in broadcasting, but we know we leave our employees in good hands,” said Bobby Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of Local TV. “I am grateful to our partners at Oak Hill Capital, who acquired the finest stations in the industry and helped us build this great company.”

The sale is expected to close by the end of 2013 pending FCC approval.

Broadcasting Division CEO Nils Larsen Out at Tribune

Broadcasting division CEO Nils Larsen has left Tribune Co., according to Chicagoland Radio and Media.

Larsen joined the company’s senior leadership team in 2008 and was named chief investment officer in 2009. He was named president and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting Company in 2011.

Tribune exited bankruptcy in December. Earlier this year, Tribune appointed Peter Ligouri as CEO and Larry Wert as president of local broadcasting of the company. [h/t Broadcasting & Cable]

It’s Official: Larry Wert Leaving WMAQ For Tribune

WMAQ general manager Larry Wert is leaving the NBC O&O for a top job at Tribune Co. Wert will be the president of local broadcasting,  overseeing strategy and opreations for 23 television stations and Chicago-based WGN Radio, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Wert will report to Peter Liguori, who stepped into the CEO role after the company emerged from bankruptcy last month.

“Our TV assets are an incredibly important part of the Tribune Co. We wanted to bring someone on board who had the breadth of experience, the depth of relationships and the energy to take innovations and get them across the goal line,” Ligouri said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I just felt that we could take these local broadcast stations and really supercharge them behind Larry’s expertise and stewardship.”

Wert, a Chicago native, has been president and general manager of WMAQ since 1998. In 2008, he was named president of NBC Local Media’s central and western region, overseeing KNTV in San Francisco, KNBC in Los Angeles, KNSD in San Diego and KXAS in Dallas in addition to WMAQ. In 2011, NBC named Wert executive vice president of station initiatives for the NBC-owned stations.

“I grew up here, I spent most of my career here so I respect the great legacy of the Tribune co. I’m familiar with their great assets,” Wert told Broadcasting & Cable. “Their station footprint is significant in 36% of the country. I think there’s an opportunity right now to be part of its future in a very positive way.”

Rumors of Wert’s departure from WMAQ began last week. In his new job, he will remain based in Chicago.

>Update: NBC Owned Television Stations President Valari Staab has released a statement:

This is a rare and exciting opportunity for Larry to run a broadcast group and stay in his hometown of Chicago. I greatly appreciate his dedication and have truly enjoyed working with him over the last 18 months. I wish him the very best in his new role.

Kurt the CyberGuy Sues KTLA for Breach of Contract, Age Discrimination

Kurt Knuttson, better known by his on-air persona “Kurt the CyberGuy,” is suing KTLA and several other Tribune stations for breach of contract and age discrimination, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Knuttson joined KTLA, Tribune’s CW affiliate in Los Angeles, as a technology reporter in 1995. He agreed to provide his reporting to KTLA in exchange for exposure, and within two years, his reports were being syndicated to other Tribune stations.

In 2008, he signed a five-year deal with the station, but two years later, his contract was terminated. Knuttson says he was informed that the deal would be renegotiated, but that he would be paid less. In 2011, he was informed he would no longer appear on the air.

THR has more details on Knuttson’s version of what happened next:

Despite being let go, Knutsson says his name and image continued for some time on the TV station’s websites, but when a viewer clicked on the link, they were shown consumer technology reports by Rich DeMuro instead, that were broadcast from the same studio as CyberGuy, with the same format and style

KTLA and the other stations never announced his departure to viewers. He says they also “manipulated content descriptions (keywords and metatags) in order to produce misleading results from common search engines so persons seeking Knutsson were routed to (DeMuro).” Read more

Is Longtime WMAQ GM Larry Wert Moving to Tribune?

WMAQ president and general manager Larry Wert may be taking a new job at Tribune Co., Chicago Business Journal reports:

Sources Tuesday said Wert, president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, could be on the verge of taking a top-level broadcasting job with Chicago-based Tribune Co., which late last year emerged from a lengthy bankruptcy.

The exact role Wert would assume within Tribune Co. could not be immediately determined.

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Wert declined to respond to a question about his interest in a role at Tribune Co. “I have a contract with NBC, and I’m happy here,” said Wert.

Wert has been the general manager at WMAQ since 1998.

Peter Liguori Named CEO of Tribune Co.

Two weeks after emerging from bankruptcy, Tribune Co. has named Peter Liguori chief executive.

“Peter is the ideal choice to be Tribune’s next Chief Executive Officer,” Bruce Karsh, chairman of the board, said in a statement.  “He has the talent and experience to lead the company forward, and has a track record of success.  The Board has every confidence in him.”

Liguori was most recently COO of Discovery Communications. He is a former chairman of entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company and president and CEO of News Corp.’s FX Networks.

“Tribune is a great company with an incredible collection of media assets, iconic brands in major markets across the country, tremendous journalism, and very talented people,” said Liguori said in a statement. “Collectively, the company’s digital operations, broadcast outlets and newspapers are some of the best in the country.  In many ways, Tribune is like a 165-year old start-up—there is a lot to build upon.”

Tribune is expected to focus on building its television operations going forward. The company currently owns 23 stations.

Watch Tribune-owned WGN’s report on Liguori’s appointment after the jump. Read more

Tribune Emerges From Bankruptcy

Tribune Co. emerged from bankruptcy Monday after spending four years under Chapter 11 protection. Following the reorganization, the company is expected to sell off its newspaper assets and focus on its 23 television stations, Reuters reports:

Tribune is expected to focus on building its TV operations. In its portfolio, it owns WGN America, a national feed of Tribune’s Chicago TV stations that it distributes through cable and satellite to more than 76 million U.S. homes.

Tribune’s TV operations are estimated to account for $2.85 billion of the company’s $7 billion valuation, while its publishing assets are estimated to represent $623 million, according to report by its financial advisor, Lazard. The rest of its value resides in other assets including its 30 percent stake in the Food Network and its cash balance.

In November, Tribune received regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission to transfer its broadcast licenses to the owners who would take it over after emerging from bankruptcy.

WPIX News Director to Step Down

FishbowlNY is reporting Bill Carey, news director at WPIX, will be leaving the station.

A well-placed source tells FishbowlNY that Carey is leaving Channel 11 before the November sweeps period. It is believed that Carey is fielding several offers, including from a startup company. Carey had no comment to FishbowlNY about a change to his job status.

Carey is credited with hiring Jodi Applegate and having a new set built for her as well as revamping the morning news.

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