Zell Turns to Radio Talent to Shake Up Newspapers

Tribune chief hiring radio veterans to help company
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2008 8:20 AM CDT
Randy Michaels, center, a radio veteran, is the newly appointed CEO of Tribune's Interactive and Broadcasting divisions.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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(Newser) – New publishing mogul Sam Zell is recruiting colorful veterans from the radio industry in a bid to help save his struggling Tribune Company, the Wall Street Journal reports. Zell is hoping the imports will spark innovation at the company, whose debt has swelled to $12.8 billion amid declining newspaper ad revenue. Most of the new recruits come from Clear Channel Communications; they're expected to shake up Zell's newspapers as they did the radio scene.

Under the direction of Zell and sometimes wacky radio veteran Randy Michaels, his second-in-command, the Tribune’s rather staid Chicago headquarters now sports pinball machines and a jukebox. Another new exec plans to razz colleagues with a “cliché buzzer” when they offer stale ideas. “We know how to have a good time,” he said. “But we also know how to reinvent things—or at least motivate people to do that."