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The Tribune Company is a large, employee-owned, Americanmarker multimedia corporation based in Chicago, Illinoismarker. It is the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, responsible for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and the The Morning Call, among others. Through other subsidiaries, the Tribune Company also owns Tribune Broadcasting, Tribune Entertainment, Tribune Media Services, and 5 percent of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

The Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on December 8, 2008. The company is struggling under a $13 billion debt load, much of it incurred in taking the company private in 2007, and from plummeting advertising income at its newspapers. Actions being contemplated or already initiated to meet the debt obligations include widespread newspaper staff layoffs, selling Newsday, the Cubs and Wrigley Fieldmarker, and the Chicago Tribune Towermarker and Los Angeles Times Building.

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.

In 1869, the Tribune erected its first building, 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 marker 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 500marker and the Kentucky Derby, and introduced microphones in the courtroom during the famous 1925 Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennesseemarker. 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 Lauderdalemarker-based Sun-Sentinel in 1963 and the Orlando Sentinel in 1965. A third television station, Denver’smarker KWGN-TVmarker, was purchased in 1966.


Tribune Broadcasting Company, the company's television group, was formed in 1981. Another key event in 1981 was Tribune’s acquisition of 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 Exchangemarker 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-TVmarker in Los Angelesmarker 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, Virginiamarker) 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 Philadelphiamarker’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. 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 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 Studiosmarker 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.

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 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".)

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.

On October 27, 2009, Thomas S. Ricketts officially took over 95% ownership of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Fieldmarker and 25% ownership of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The Tribune will retain 5% ownership. [45267]


Television stations

DMA# City of license/Market Station Channel
Owned Since Affiliation
1. New York Citymarker WPIXmarker 11 / 33 1948
(built and signed
on by Tribune)

2. Los Angelesmarker KTLAmarker 5 / 31 1985 CW
3. Chicagomarker WGN-TVmarker 9 / 19 1948
(built and signed
on by Tribune)

4. Philadelphiamarker WPHL-TVmarker 17 / 54 1992 MyNetworkTV
This TV (DT2)
5. Dallasmarker - Fort Worthmarker KDAFmarker 33 / 32 1997 CW
9. Washington, D.C.marker WDCWmarker 50 / 51 1999 CW
10. Houstonmarker KIAHmarker 39 / 38 1995 CW
13. Tacomamarker - Seattlemarker KCPQmarker 13 / 18 1999 Fox
KMYQmarker 22 / 25 1998 MyNetworkTV
16. Denvermarker KWGN-TVmarker 2 / 34 1966 CW
17. Miamimarker - Fort Lauderdalemarker WSFL-TVmarker 39 / 19 1997 CW
20. Sacramentomarker - Stocktonmarker - Modestomarker KTXLmarker 40 / 55 1997 Fox
21. St. Louismarker KPLR-TVmarker 11 / 26 2003 CW
22. Salemmarker - Portland, ORmarker KRCW-TVmarker 32 / 33 2003 CW
25. Indianapolismarker WXINmarker -- / 45 1997 Fox
Bloomington, Indianamarker WTTVmarker -- / 48 2002 CW
Kokomo, Indianamarker WTTK
(satellite of WTTV)
-- / 29 2002 CW
28. San Diegomarker KSWB-TVmarker 69 / 19 1996 Fox
30. Hartfordmarker - New Haven, CTmarker WTIC-TVmarker 61 / 31 1997 Fox
Waterbury, Connecticutmarker WTXXmarker 20 / 12 2001 CW
39. Yorkmarker - Harrisburgmarker -
Lancastermarker - Lebanon, PAmarker
WPMTmarker 43 / 47 1997 Fox
41. Grand Rapidsmarker - Battle Creekmarker -
Kalamazoo, MImarker
WXMImarker 17 / 19 1998 Fox
51. New Orleansmarker WGNOmarker 26 / 15 1983 ABC
WNOL-TVmarker 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. Chicagomarker WGNmarker-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. 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 Angelesmarker Los Angeles Times
Chicagomarker Chicago Tribune
Chicagomarker RedEye
Baltimore, Marylandmarker Baltimore Sun
Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker El Sentinel del Sur de la Florida
Orlando, Floridamarker Orlando Sentinel
Orlando, Floridamarker El Sentinel
Hartford, Connecticutmarker Hartford Courant
Allentown, Pennsylvaniamarker The Morning Call
Newport News, Virginiamarker Daily Press
Chicagomarker and Los Angelesmarker Hoy

Other properties

Note: This list is partial

Website Affiliates Wholly Owned
CareerBuilder & Topix McClatchy and Gannett

See also


  2. Tribune Company to Voluntarily Restructure Debt Under Chapter 11, Tribune Company press release
  3. Tribune files for bankruptcy Chicago Breaking News. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  4. KSWB-TV has switched affiliations from the CW to Fox on August 1, 2008. [1]
  5. CBS Kicks Off Radio Station Auction - New York Post (retrieved September 22, 2008)

Further reading

External links

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