Randy Michaels Running All Of Tribune
This should be fun to watch: Randy Michaels, the former Q102/WLW-AM/Jacor/Clear Channel executive has been named chief operating officer of the Tribune Company by Sam Zell, Tribune chairman and CEO.
Michaels will be responsible for all aspects of the company's publishing, broadcasting and internet divisions. He had been executive VP and CEO of the Tribune's interactive and broadcast divisions since Dec. 20, when Zell took over the company. Zell helped Michaels revive Jacor here.
I'm sure some people who remember Randy's infamous pranks question the move. They might worry that the Chicago Tribune will never be the same. But I'm not surprised by the move. This could be very good for all the Tribune divisions. One thing many people don't know about Michaels is his great love for media history, despite his snippy comments at times. (When he took WLW-AM in 1983, he said he was going to teach the grand old lady of Cincinnati broadcasting "how to dance," as I recall. Back then it was ranked like #7, despite its 50,000-watt blowtorch signal.)
His old Jacor office in Covington was lined with framed newspaper pages about WLW-AM history and Powel Crosley. You can name a city, and he'll rattle off the stations call letters, frequencies and probably the antenna height. If he has the same passion for newspaper history, the Trib will do fine. He's also a media visionary (wasn't he the one who registered internet domains for Q102 and other rival stations in the 1990s?), and should be what the company needs at this time. In the Tribune news release Michaels said: "People are saying newspapers are dead.... Despite the problems, we have world-class brands with unlimited potential."
During his years in Cincinnati, he kept all competitors on their toes. The same likely will happen in all the Tribune markets. This should be fun to watch.
Here's the AP story: