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Tribune Company
Type Private
Founded 1847
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Key people Sam Zell, Chairman
Randy Michaels, CEO
Gerry Spector, COO
Marc Chase, President, Tribune Interactive
Lee Abrams, Chief Innovation Officer
Gary Weitman, SVP/Corporate Relations
Sean Compton, SVP/Programming & Entertainment, Tribune Broadcasting
Industry News, entertainment
Products television, newspapers, radio
Revenue Green Arrow Up.svg2% ($5.73 billion USD, FY 2005)
Employees 14,000
The Tribune Tower, which has the headquarters of the company

The Tribune Company is a large, employee-owned,[1] American multimedia corporation based in Chicago, Illinois. It is the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, with ten daily newspapers and commuter tabloids including Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and the The Morning Call, among others.

Through Tribune Broadcasting, the company operates 23 television stations, WGN America on national cable and Chicago's WGN-AM. The group’s combined reach is more than 80 percent of U.S. television households. Investment interests include the TV Food Network (31%).

Tribune Interactive, another subsidiary, manages the interactive operations of major daily newspapers such as Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and their associated websites. Its national network sites owned with partners include,, and With more than 50 websites overall, Tribune Interactive ranks among the nation’s leading news and information networks. The sites attract more than 20 million unique visitors per month.

Tribune Media Services provides syndicated content to print and electronic media.

Key company investment interests include CareerBuilder (30.8% owned), Classified Ventures (28%) and (34%).


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 famous 1925 Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee. Also in 1925, the company completed a new headquarters and one of Chicago’s first "skyscrapers."

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 Television, 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.

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. 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 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 $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.[2] Privatization of the Tribune Company occurred on December 20, 2007 with termination of trading in Tribune stock at the close of the market.[3]

On December 21, 2007, Tribune and Local TV announced plans to collaborate in the formation of an as yet unnamed "broadcast management company".[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

On April 28, 2008, Tribune completed an acquisition of real estate from TMCT Partnership.[7]

On July 29, 2008, Cablevision completed a purchase of Newsday from Tribune.[8]

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".)[9]

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.[10] Company plans call for it to emerge from bankruptcy on May 31, 2010. [11]

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. [2]


Television stations

DMA# City of license/Market Station Channel
Owned Since Affiliation
1. New York City WPIX 11 / 33 1948
(built and signed
on by Tribune)
2. Los Angeles KTLA 5 / 31 1985 CW
3. Chicago WGN-TV 9 / 19 1948
(built and signed
on by Tribune)
4. Philadelphia WPHL-TV 17 / 54 1992 MyNetworkTV
This TV (DT2)
5. Dallas - Fort Worth KDAF 33 / 32 1997 CW
9. Washington, D.C. WDCW 50 / 51 1999 CW
10. Houston KIAH 39 / 38 1995 CW
13. Tacoma - Seattle KCPQ 13 / 18 1999 Fox
KMYQ 22 / 25 1998 MyNetworkTV
16. Denver KWGN-TV 2 / 34 1966 CW
17. Miami - Fort Lauderdale WSFL-TV 39 / 19 1997 CW
20. Sacramento - Stockton - Modesto KTXL 40 / 55 1997 Fox
21. St. Louis KPLR-TV 11 / 26 2003 CW
22. Salem - Portland, OR KRCW-TV 32 / 33 2003 CW
25. Indianapolis WXIN -- / 45 1997 Fox
Bloomington, Indiana WTTV -- / 48 2002 CW
Kokomo, Indiana WTTK
(satellite of WTTV)
-- / 29 2002 CW
28. San Diego KSWB-TV [12] 69 / 19 1996 Fox
30. Hartford - New Haven, CT WTIC-TV 61 / 31 1997 Fox
Waterbury, Connecticut WTXX 20 / 12 2001 CW
39. York - Harrisburg -
Lancaster - Lebanon, PA
WPMT 43 / 47 1997 Fox
41. Grand Rapids - Battle Creek -
Kalamazoo, MI
WXMI 17 / 19 1998 Fox
51. New Orleans WGNO 26 / 15 1983 ABC
WNOL-TV 38 / 40 1999 CW

WGNO is the only Big Three affiliate (ABC, CBS, NBC) station in Tribune's portfolio.

Radio station

AM Station
DMA# Market Station Owned Since Current Format
3. Chicago WGN-720 1924 Talk

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.[13] 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

Market Paper
Los Angeles Los Angeles Times
Chicago Chicago Tribune
Chicago RedEye
Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Sun
Fort Lauderdale, Florida South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Florida El Sentinel del Sur de la Florida
Orlando, Florida Orlando Sentinel
Orlando, Florida El Sentinel
Hartford, Connecticut Hartford Courant
Allentown, Pennsylvania The Morning Call
Newport News, Virginia Daily Press
Chicago and Los Angeles Hoy

Other properties

Note: This list is partial

Website Link Affiliates Wholly Owned
CareerBuilder McClatchy and Gannett McClatchy and Gannett Wholly Owned[14]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Desiree J. Hanford (2007-08-21). "Tribune Shareholders Back Zell’s Takeover". Media & Advertising (Chicago: The New York Times).,%20Sam. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "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..." 
  3. ^ Dave Carpenter (Associated Press) (2007-12-21). "Tribune buyout, at $8.2 billion, closes in Chicago". Business (Chicago: The News Journal). Retrieved 2007-12-21. "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." 
  4. ^ Tribune Company (2007-12-20). "Tribune and Local TV to Form Broadcast Management Company". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "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." 
  5. ^ Tribune Company (2008-01-31). "Tribune to Acquire Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "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." 
  6. ^ Tribune Company (2008-02-04). "Ed Wilson Named President of Tribune Broadcasting.". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "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." 
  7. ^ Broadcasting and Cable (2008-04-28). "Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership.". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership." 
  8. ^ Broadcasting and Cable (2008-04-28). "Cablevision Completes Newsday Buy from Tribune.". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-21. "Tribune Completes Acquisition of Real Estate from TMCT Partnership." 
  9. ^ Helft, Miguel. "How a Series of Mistakes Hurt Shares of United". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  10. ^ Tribune files for bankruptcy Chicago Breaking News. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  11. ^ LA Times article, 09-11-14
  12. ^ KSWB-TV has switched affiliations from the CW to Fox on August 1, 2008. [1]
  13. ^ CBS Kicks Off Radio Station Auction - New York Post (retrieved September 22, 2008)
  14. ^ Announcement of

Further reading

External links


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