New Spirit at Trib, Zell tells analysts

New Tribune Chairman and CEO Sam Zell will look to sell some assets, and definitely sell the Chicago Cubs, he told analysts in his first extensive public remarks since his team took over the company at the end of last year.

Zell, interactive and broadcasting chief Randy Michaels and CFO Chandler Bigelow shared their strategy on a conference call last week during which Zell vowed to make Tribune a "faster and leaner…24/7 content/entertainment provider."

Zell says he received some 3,000 employee e-mails since the takeover and heard the phrase, "breath of fresh air" time and again. "We believe we are changing the culture," he says.

Michaels told analysts the shift of KSWB San Diego from a CW outlet to Fox boosted the station's intrinsic value by $150 million, and he was generally optimistic about Tribune's broadcast holdings. "[Tribune] broadcasting has paced well above the industry," Michaels said.

A former Clear Channel Communications executive, Michaels said there would be a relaunch of superstation WGN Chicago in May.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.