Questions Linger About Sentinel, WSFL

March Madness has me looking ... fair. Big loss was Kentucky, an upset pick (and my team) that played Marquette strong. I only had UK going to the 16, but Tom Crean's team is better than I thought, which has me wishing I'd played the Big East a little stronger in my brackets. I have Pitt getting to the Final Four (what can I say, I like the upsets) but G-Town falling to Kansas, who I have winning it all (against UCLA). Louisville I got falling to UT who in turns falls to UNC, the only team from the ACC I expect to do much (Duke's lucky to still be around after Belmont last night).

Like you care about my brackets. There's serious things to write about that I couldn't get around to yesterday, which was a helluva time to be on deadline, as the Tribune was making news all over the place. First, there was news of the Tribune money drain. From TRB's press release:

CHICAGO, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Tribune Company today reported a loss from continuing operations of $78 million for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with income from continuing operations of $233 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. For the full year 2007, Tribune reported income from continuing operations of $55 million compared with $661 million in 2006.

"Despite the continued difficult operating environment and weakness in print revenue, we see significant opportunity within Tribune Company," said Sam Zell, Chairman and CEO. "In our first 75 days, we've made a series of key leadership changes, have launched a number of programs and projects to drive new revenue, and have initiated a fundamental shift in culture. In addition, we have begun a strategic review of certain Tribune assets to determine whether capital can be more effectively redeployed into our core operations or toward reducing our outstanding leverage."

Oh lord things are tough all over. (Read this excellent piece by the Miami Herald's Scott Andron to see the way this recession thing is hitting consumers the hardest, especially the working class. This while the Fed is holding toxic debt and printing money for the investment banks, the same crooks who helped put us in this position). I suppose the economic struggle has something to do with what the Tribune is doing with its properties in Broward, the Sun-Sentinel and WSFL, the CW affiliate TV station. They are bringing them together under one roof. In Marcia Heroux Pounds' Sentinel story, which is little more than a glorified press release, she writes that "about 40 CW workers" will be moving from their current digs on Lee Street in Hollywood into the Sentinel's building on Las Olas. I'm wondering if there will be any layoffs. If Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel publisher Howard Greenberg is taking over as the station's general manager (he's got so many top jobs now that he's proving these glass-office folk never did much of anything to begin with) does that mean that the current general manager has gotten the ax? The article (in which publisher Greenberg refers to an "array of mediums," indicating that the newspaper is reaching out to psychics for help) doesn't answer these questions and also fails to mention the steeps Tribune losses.

Sun-Sentinel -- cover thyself!

After the jump is the memo from Tribune exec Ed Wilson, courtesy LA Observed.

Today marks the beginning of a bold new era for Tribune Broadcasting—we’re taking the unprecedented step of joining the print and broadcast operations of WSFL in South Florida with those of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. For the first time ever, we’ll have all our media properties in this region under one roof in Ft. Lauderdale. And that is great news for consumers and advertisers. It will give us the chance to develop new content, programming and sales opportunities in such areas as fashion, food, travel, entertainment and lifestyle. It will give advertisers a single point of contact and a way of buying media efficiently across all our properties in South Florida.

Since we didn’t think he had enough to do while running two newspapers, Sun-Sentinel publisher Howard Greenberg, who is also serving as interim publisher of the Orlando Sentinel, will assume the additional responsibilities of general manager at WSFL. Also joining the new leadership team at WSFL is Allyson Meyers, who will serve as station manager.

Howard knows the region better than anyone; Ally knows TV sales and operations. Together they’ll make a great team....

Ed


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