For the Tribune Company? It looks like the company is going to implode. The television Stations, WGN radio, The Cubs, and the Chicago Tribune may all be sold.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Tribune may be exiting the television ownership business because their stations in New York (WPIX) and Los Angeles (KTLA) licences are expiring soon. And with Tribune owning papers in both markets (including the Los Angeles Times), they might have to divest the stations because of the cross-ownership rules, which since 1975 prohibited companies from owning a television station and a newspaper in the same media market. Here in Chicago, Tribune owns WGN-TV and WGN-AM, plus the Chicago Tribune, but that was grandfather in, since Tribune owned them all since ’75.
Crain’s Chicago Business website also reported on the story. A financial analyst stated that Tribune’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago (The nation’s biggest) could fetch up to $2.5 billion dollars.
On the radio side of things, Inside Radio wonders in all the infighting at the Times and the Tribune, how come the fate of top-rated WGN-AM isn’t be discussed? That’s a good question. If WGN-AM is sold, who will step up to buy it? Clear Channel? CBS? Entercom? Citadel? Are the former two going to sell off weaker assets (because of market cap concerns) to acquire WGN-AM?
Plus, what’s going to happen to the Cubs? CareerBuilder? WGN SuperStation? Soul Train? U.S. Farm Report? (You can’t live without the U.S. Farm Report, you know.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is going to be one interesting ride for the next couple of months. We could see a unprecedented amount of wheeling and dealing — one that could shake up the largest markets for years to come. As we say in television land (and well as in radio land) — Stay Tuned.