Tribune Interactive

Tribune Company

Tribune Company
Type Private
Industry News, entertainment
Founded 1847
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Key people Sam Zell, Chairman
Tony Hunter & Eddy Hartenstein, Co-CEO Publishers
, Chairman, Tribune Broadcasting
, SVP/Corporate Relations
Sean Compton, President Programming & Entertainment, Tribune Broadcasting
, President Broadcasting
Products television, newspapers, radio
Revenue increase US$3.18 billion (FY 2010)
Employees 14,000
Website Tribune.com

Tribune history


Tribune 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.

The Tribune erected its first building in 1869 with a four-story structure at Dearborn and Madison Streets. In October 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the building, along with 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 ran 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 slogan, "World's Greatest Newspaper." It was first to broadcast the World Series, the Indianapolis 500 and the Kentucky Derby, and introduced microphones in the courtroom during the 1925 Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee. Also in 1925, the company completed a new headquarters and one of Chicago's first "skyscrapers", the Tribune Tower.

The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate was formed in 1918, to be succeeded by Tribune Media Services.


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 Broadcasting, today one of the country's largest independent TV groups.

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.


Tribune Broadcasting Company, the company's television group, was formed in 1981. Also in 1981, Tribune acquired 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 began calling itself 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 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, Virginia) 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.

Tribune acquired an equity interest in The WB Television Network upon its launch in 1995.

Chicagoland Television (CLTV), the Chicago area's first and only 24-hour cable news television channel, took to the air in 1993, as the sister station of the Chicago Tribune. Today, Tribune newspapers partner with the news operations of Tribune television stations in their markets or with non-Tribune broadcasters, including local radio stations.

Tribune's television stations and newspapers are complemented by several news and information websites. The sites are operated by Tribune Interactive, established in 1999. The group manages all aspects of the company's TV and newspaper sites, plus special-interest sites like ChicagoSports.com and many sites featuring local dining and entertainment information. Affiliated national-brand classified advertising sites, in which Tribune owns an equity interest, include CareerBuilder, cars.com and apartments.com.

Tribune's total operating revenues had grown to $2.2 billion in 1995.

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.


A merger with The Times Mirror Company, completed in June 2000, effectively doubled the size of Tribune by adding more newspapers to the company's holdings. The $8.3 billion transaction was the largest acquisition in newspaper industry history.

The Times Mirror merger added seven daily newspapers to the Tribune group, including 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. By 2002, revenues had grown to $5 billion.

Tribune also launched daily newspapers targeting urban commuters, including its RedEye edition in 2002, followed by an investment in amNewYork one year later. 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. Privatization of the Tribune Company occurred on December 20, 2007 with termination of trading in Tribune stock at the close of the market.

On December 21, 2007, Tribune and Local TV announced plans to collaborate in the formation of an as yet unnamed "broadcast management company".

On January 31, 2008, Tribune Company announced it will purchase real estate 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 , for $125 million. The parties also agreed to a five-year lease allowing KTLA-TV to continue operating at the location through 2012.

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.

On April 28, 2008, Tribune completed an acquisition of real estate from TMCT Partnership.

On July 29, 2008, Cablevision completed a purchase of Newsday from Tribune.

On September 8, 2008, United Airlines lost (and later the same day almost regained) USD 1 billion in market value when an archived Chicago Tribune article from 2002 about United filing for bankruptcy 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 which owns both papers noted that one click on a story in non-peak hours could flag an article as "most viewed".)

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)

On December 8, 2008, faced with high debts related to the company going private, Tribune filed for bankruptcy. Company plans call for it to emerge from bankruptcy on May 31, 2010. It was the largest bankruptcy in the history of the American media industry.

On October 27, 2009, Thomas S. Ricketts officially took over 95% ownership of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25% ownership of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, as part of a deal designed to help Tribune restructure. The Tribune will retain 5% ownership.

In October 2010, Randy Michaels, who was made CEO after Zell's purchase of the company: was removed, and replaced by an executive council. The New York Times had reported earlier in the month about his "outlandish, often sexual behavior" that he also exercised in his previous job at Clear Channel Communications.


Television stations

** indicates a station built and signed-on by Tribune.

Radio station

Tribune papers

Other properties

Note: This list is partial

See also


Further reading

External links

Retrieved from : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tribune_Company&oldid=458596580

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