WBEZ | Tribune http://www.wbez.org/tags/tribune Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tribune plans to split into 2 companies http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/tribune-plans-split-2-companies-108012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_tribune_bernt Rostad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tribune Co. said Wednesday that it wants to split its broadcasting and publishing businesses into two companies.</p><p>Tribune said the move will let one company take advantage of growth in broadcasting and allow the other to focus on newspapers, an industry where revenue has been declining for years.</p><p>Chicago-based Tribune owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America. Earlier this month, it announced plans to buy Local TV Holdings and its 19 television stations for $2.73 billion. It also owns eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun.</p><p>Fellow media company News Corp. completed a split into separate publishing and entertainment companies late last month.</p><p>Since the split became final on June 28, shares of News Corp., now a standalone publishing company, have edged up about 1 percent, closing Tuesday at $15.71. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., the entertainment company, have risen about 4 percent to close Tuesday at $30.09.</p><p>Tribune, which emerged from bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012, said that over the past several months its board and management have been looking at ways to boost value for its stakeholders and long-term growth.</p><p>Tribune said in February that it hired a pair of investment banks to help it sell its newspapers. The move was largely at the behest of the group of lenders that took over the company as part of its reorganization.</p><p>Under the proposal announced Wednesday, the newspapers would be spun off into an independent company to be called Tribune Publishing Co.</p><p>The newspapers have been hurt by a shift that has driven more readers and advertisers to the Internet and mobile devices. The downturn in print advertising was one of the factors that caused Tribune to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008.</p><p>The remaining company would include Tribune&#39;s local television stations; WGN radio and cable networks; its television production, digital and media services ventures; and its interests in Classified Ventures, CareerBuilder, and The TV Food Network and real estate.</p><p>Tribune said its board will develop a detailed plan for the split over the next nine to 12 months. After the split is complete, both companies will have separate boards and management.</p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/tribune-plans-split-2-companies-108012 Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Noel_Shush -courtesy of ashleymadison.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cheating can be a devastating blow to not just your relationship, but your ego as well. How do you pick up the pieces and move on? Also, with the digital age upon us, how do news organizations keep up with the times?&nbsp;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving A Portrait of Colonel Robert McCormick http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/portrait-colonel-robert-mccormick <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/Col McCormick.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="ctl00_content1_lblTranscript">Back in 2000, Steve Edwards talked with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.towersproductions.com/index.php/whoweare/staff/jonathan_towers">Jonathan Towers</a>. Towers is the executive producer of an A&amp;E documentary about Colonel Robert McCormick, the first owner of the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>. The Colonel was a larger than life character. He was 6 foot&nbsp;4 inches&nbsp;and weighed in at more than 200 pounds, cutting an imposing figure in the newsroom. According to Towers, McCormick&rsquo;s reserved and distinguished manner might have caused some fights in the modern Tribune Tower.<span style="font-style: italic;"><br /></span></span></p></p> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 20:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/portrait-colonel-robert-mccormick It's criminal: WGN expands 'Sports Central' into oblivion http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg"><img height="225" width="400" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Laski.jpg" alt="" class="size-full wp-image-19072" /></a></p><p><code> </code> <code> </code> Robservations on the media beat:</p><ul> <li>Only in the bizarre up-is-down, black-is-white alternate universe of WGN-AM (720) would the cancellation of Chicago's longest running sports talk show be called an <em>expansion</em> of sports. &quot;WGN RADIO EXPANDS SPORTS COVERAGE AND ADDS NEW GENERAL TALK SHOW&quot; read the headline of a press release issued late Thursday by the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station. As of April 12, &quot;Sports Central&quot; will be replaced from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday by a &quot;current events talk show&quot; fronted by <a href="/feder/2010/02/they-did-the-crimes-so-why-is-wgn-punishing-us/15707">convicted felon</a> (and manifestly unqualified radio rookie)&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/jimlaski/">Jim Laski.</a> <span style="font-weight: normal;">What a disgrace.&sbquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/sportscentral/wgnam-sportscentral-information,0,1106767.story"><strong>David Kaplan,</strong></a> who's hosted the weeknight sports franchise since 1997, will shift to Cubs post-game shows and other sports features. It's all the handiwork of obstinate program director <a href="/feder/2009/11/a-rude-pig-virus-infects-wgn-radio/8321"><strong>Kevin &quot;Pig Virus&quot; Metheny,</strong></a> who took on Laski, the former city clerk of Chicago who served 11 months in prison for accepting bribes, as a weekend host -- and his personal reclamation project. Said Metheny:</span></strong></li> </ul> <blockquote>&quot;In the past few months, Laski has built a strong track record on WGN.&sbquo;&nbsp; He's a fascinating character who was called to public service and eventually behaved criminally. He paid for his crime, is sincerely contrite and is moving on. He has a unique insider's perspective on life in and around Chicago.&quot;</blockquote> <ul> <li>WGN bosses cried foul last month when I <a href="/feder/2010/02/surprise-don-roma-chicagos-new-morning-faves/16088">reported here</a> that the station had lost in the morning-drive ratings for the first time ever to Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890). They said I'd been misled. They said it was a mistake. They said I'd misread the numbers. Well, guess what? It happened again: WLS' <strong>Don</strong> and <strong>Roma Wade</strong> beat WGN's <a href="/feder/2010/03/whos-on-first-in-radio-it-depends-on-who-keeps-score/16486"><strong>Greg Jarrett</strong></a> among all listeners age 12 and older in just-released Arbitron figures for February.&sbquo;&nbsp;Any way you slice it&sbquo;&nbsp; -- &nbsp;from 6 to 10 a.m. (as Arbitron defines morning drive) or from 5 to 9 a.m. (the actual hours when Jarrett competes with the Wades) -- &nbsp;WLS comes out on top of WGN.</li> <li>After a year that saw <strong>Jerry Springer</strong> and <strong>Steve Wilkos</strong> move to Connecticut, and <strong>Oprah Winfrey</strong> announce the end of her Chicago-based talk show, the impending <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/disneyabc-to-cancel-at-the-movies-siskel-and-eberts-old-show.html">demise of &quot;At the Movies&quot;</a>&nbsp;marks another setback for Chicago productions on the national stage. For ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, which has been the show's home base since 2001, it also means a loss of income from Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions. &quot;We were both honored and thrilled to produce the show for nine years -- &nbsp;an achievement of which we can be very proud,&quot; said <strong>Emily Barr,</strong> president and general manager of Channel 7. Although the syndicated movie-review show never recovered from the departure of hosts <strong>Roger Ebert </strong>and <strong>Richard Roeper,</strong> at least it will die with dignity under <strong>Michael Phillips</strong> and <strong>Tony Scott.</strong> No word on what will replace it on Channel 7's lineup this fall, but a likely source of programming could be the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/01/even-in-tough-times-abc-7-succeeds-with-live-well-hd/11355">Live Well HD</a> digital channel.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">J</a></strong><strong><a href="http://www.j2sc.com/joane.htm">oan Esposito,</a></strong>the former Chicago television news anchor, has agreed to speak publicly for the first time about her battle with cancer. In a story expected to air in May on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, Esposito will tell medical reporter <a href="http://www.wgntv.com/about/station/newsteam/dinabair/"><strong>Dina Bair</strong></a><strong> </strong>that she was diagnosed with lymphoma three years ago. It's now in remission. Bair, who worked with Esposito as an intern at Channel 7 and as a producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, also survived her own cancer battle with melanoma.</li> <li>At long last <strong>Roe Conn</strong> is expected to announce today that traffic reporter <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=152536&amp;spid=6789"><strong>Christina Filiaggi</strong></a><strong> </strong>will be returning to his afternoon show on WLS-AM. She could be back on as early as Monday. Filiaggi, who first joined Conn's show in 2001, was dropped in a budget cut in February 2008, brought back in June 2008, and dropped a second time in May 2009. Third time's the charm?</li> <li>Wedding bells are ringing this weekend for <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/about_us/personalities/Tera_Bio"><strong>Tera Williams, </strong></a>who may be <strong>Mayor Richard Daley's</strong> <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/mayor-daley-tera-williams-video#transcript">least favorite</a> general assignment reporter at WFLD-Channel 32, and <a href="/feder/2009/11/ex-fox-anchor-fighting-back-after-firing/8157"><strong>Mike Barz,</strong></a> former anchor of the Fox-owned station's &quot;Good Day Chicago.&quot; Williams posted a note on <a href="http://www.travelersjoy.com/members/teraandmike/">TravelersJoy.com</a> that they're hoping to &quot;go sailing in the British Virgin Islands for one week&quot; on their honeymoon.</li> <li>One editor and one reporter will be hired by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) as part of an Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to <a href="http://cpb.org/pressroom/release.php?prn=814">an announcement</a> Thursday. The center, one of seven across the country, will operate in partnership with Michigan Radio and Cleveland's Ideastream.</li> <li><strong>George Castle</strong> kicks off the 17th&sbquo;&nbsp;season of his &quot;Diamond Gems&quot; baseball talk show this weekend with the addition of on an online outlet at the Times of Northwest Indiana's <a href="http://nwitimes.com/">NWI.com.</a> It continues to air on WLBK-AM (1360) in DeKalb at 1 p.m. Saturdays, WIMS-AM (1420) in Michigan City at 6 p.m. Saturdays, WJOL-AM (1340) in Joliet at 4 p.m. Sundays, and on <a href="http://SLRNRadioSports.com/">SLRNRadioSports.com</a> at 11 a.m. Fridays. Castle's 11th baseball book, <em>When The Game Changed: An Oral History of Baseball's True Golden Age 1969-79,</em> will be published in September by Lyons Press.</li> <li><strong>Ruth L Ratny,</strong> publisher of <a href="http://reelchicago.com/">ReelChicago.com,</a> will receive the Chicago Legend Award April 15 at the Chicago International Film Festival's Hugo Television Awards. Ratny has been an outspoken supporter of Chicago's film and television production industry for decades.&sbquo;&nbsp;<strong>Dean Richards,</strong> entertainment reporter and critic for Channel 9, will host the event at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.</li> </ul></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/its-criminal-wgn-expands-sports-central-oblivion They did the crimes. So why is WGN punishing us? http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/they-did-crimes-so-why-wgn-punishing-us <p><p>Friday was a good day for convicted felons at Tribune Co: One turned up as a commentator on its television stations, and another landed a midday fill-in gig on its flagship radio station. Both acts showed the depths to which a once-great company has sunk under its current regime of cynicism and contempt for the audience.</p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img width="186" height="187" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//330_Mendte1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 1px 5px;" class="size-full wp-image-15750" /><p><em><sup><strong>Larry Mendte</strong></sup></em></p></div><p>On the TV side, the infamous Larry Mendte made his <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/84762697.html?cmpid=15585797">surprise debut</a> on WGN-Channel 9's 5 p.m. newscast with a commentary about Tiger Woods. Not since Jerry Springer stepped into a similar role 13 years ago has there been such horrendous miscasting on the local news. (The Springer fiasco, you'll recall, cost WMAQ-Channel 5 the services of its two esteemed principal news anchors, Ron Magers and Carol Marin, and nearly wrecked the NBC-owned station.)</p><p>Mendte, 53, will always be remembered here as <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/scarry-larry/Content?oid=889807">&quot;Scary Larry,&quot;</a> the showboater who anchored and reported for WBBM-Channel 2 from 1991 to 1996. Suffice it to say that he represented the worst of the tabloid news era at the CBS-owned station, inspiring Chicago Tribune media critic James Warren to keep tabs on him in a weekly feature called &quot;Mendte Watch.&quot; &quot;I apologize for not being boring,&quot; Mendte told me years later. &quot;I know you like that.&quot;<!--break--></p><p>Mendte showed his true colors as a journalist when he left Channel 2 to become the first co-host of &quot;Access Hollywood&quot; (alongside the equally qualified Giselle Fernandez). But all that was just a prelude to his performance of a lifetime as a criminal defendant in Philadelphia.</p><p>In 2008, Mendte pleaded guilty to illegally accessing the email of Alycia Lane while the two were anchors at Philadelphia's KYW-TV. It was the culmination of a scandal that involved his breaking into her email more than 500 times and leaking embarrassing information about her to gossip columnists. Mendte acknowledged that he'd carried on &quot;a flirtatious, unprofessional and improper relationship&quot; with Lane while he was married to anchorwoman (and Channel 2 alum) Dawn Stensland. Lane <a href="http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local-beat/Larry-Mendte-Alycia-Lane-Kiss-and-Tell.html">reportedly told the FBI</a> that Mendte bought her a platinum necklace from Tiffany's, and that the two &quot;had kissed approximately four to five times with a regularity of approximately once every three weeks; the relationship never got to the point of touching bodies.&quot; After the relationship ended, Mendte apparently channeled his jealously and vindictiveness into illegal computer hacking. Although he could have been sentenced to five years in prison on the felony charge, he received six months of house arrest, three years probation and a fine.</p><p>Despite that baggage, Mendte was able to parlay his friendship with Bill Carey, a former co-worker at Channel 2 here, into a gig as a commentator at Tribune-owned WPIX-TV in New York (where Carey landed as news director after <a href="http://blogs.tampabay.com/media/2008/03/bill-careys-far.html">his own scandal</a> at a station he headed in Tampa, Fla.). The deal calls for Mendte to do five pieces a week &sbquo;&nbsp; --&nbsp; &quot;based on Larry's unique take on topics that Larry chooses&quot; -- that are intended to air on Tribune stations nationwide.</p><p>What we witnessed on Friday was Mendte, dressed in a black leather coat, sauntering into a bar and expounding on the Tiger Woods scandal, which he observed was &quot;like something out of a farcical comedy.&quot;Not once did Mendte refer to his own brush with public disgrace or marital indiscretion. Instead, he smugly talked about how for men everywhere &quot;the 'what do you think of Tiger?' question became the biggest trick question since 'do I look fat in this dress?' or 'do you think my girlfriend is pretty?' &quot; He then proposed that guys use code names to rate the attractiveness of Tiger's mistresses when other women are around. (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjoS2d-yXnI">Here is the link to his commentary.</a>)</p><p>How could &quot;Chicago's Very Own&quot; justify airing such a horribly inappropriate spectacle from such a <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/larry-mendte-allowed-back-on-philly-tv-to-make-insane-tiger-woods-videos/">stunningly inappropriate source? </a>Despite <em>three</em> inquiries Friday, Channel 9 officials refused to answer my questions or provide any comment whatsoever. Which leads me to surmise that they find it as indefensible as I do. It has all the earmarks of a corporate cram-down from Tribune Tower. (Channel 9 news director Greg Caputo did tell the Tribune's <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/02/larry-mendte-is-back-wgnch-9-airing-commentaries.html">Phil Rosenthal</a> that he believed &quot;viewers would appreciate the pieces.&quot;)</p><p>But that's not all.</p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img width="187" height="105" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//52090222-07151720.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 1px 5px;" class="size-full wp-image-15751" /><p><sup><strong><em>James Laski</em></strong></sup></p></div><p>Friday also saw news/talk WGN-AM (720) pass over countless more qualified professionals so that another convicted felon, James Laski, could begin a fill-in stint for midday host John Williams. Laski, 56, who's been <a href="http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/jimlaski/wgnam-jim-laski-bio,0,543018.story">free-lancing on weekends</a> under program director Kevin &quot;Pig Virus&quot; Metheny, is the former city clerk of Chicago who served 11 months in a federal penitentiary for accepting bribes in exchange for steering business to personal and political friends. Unless you count his being picked up on wiretaps soliciting bribes, Laski's prior radio experience was nil.</p><p>Setting aside his obvious deficiencies as a talk show host, what's even more jaw-dropping is to hear Laski rail against public corruption and dishonest politicians, as he did during a monologue Friday about Mayor Daley's plans to fill aldermanic vacancies.</p><p>Showcasing scoundrels like Mendte and Laski is emblematic of today's Tribune Co. under the stewardship of CEO Randy Michaels, a <a href=";cd=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=us&amp;client=firefox-a">radio reprobate</a> and old crony of Sam Zell, who seems to show no regard for the legacy he was handed -- or respect for Chicago viewers and listeners who expect and deserve a lot better.</p></p> Mon, 22 Feb 2010 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/they-did-crimes-so-why-wgn-punishing-us