A vulture’s-eye view of Tribune TV assets


Tribune BroadcastingSpeculation is rampant about the plans of Tribune once it emerges from bankruptcy. Newspapers are likely to go, but what about the company’s broadcast television stations?

RBR-TVBR has previously reported that at least some of the struggling newspapers are likely to be sold – particularly the big dailies in Los Angeles and Chicago, which may have lost value but retain a certain amount of mystique.

Variety notes that the television stations, which are by far more profitable than the newspapers, may be held onto in the near term but may still wind up on the auction block at some point, most likely offered for purchase in pieces rather than as one group.

The company holds 23 stations in 19 DMAs. And although it only owns one radio station these days, the one they have is a doozy – iconic WGN-AM Chicago.

In terms of affiliations, the stations lean heavily to the CW, which is on 13 of them. There are seven Fox affiliates, two MNT affiliates and one ABC station.

The preponderance of CW and MNT affiliates may not get television groups salivating, but it sure has gotten the attention of Hollywood, according to Variety – Tribune is one of the biggest consumers of syndicated programming, making them a prime customer of the big distribution houses.

Here is the list of broadcast properties currently in the Tribune portfolio.

WGN-AM Chicago

WPIX New York CW
KTLA Los Angeles CW
WGN Chicago CW
WPHL Philadelphia MNT
KDAF Dallas CW
WDCW Washington CW
KIAH Houston CW
KCPQ Seattle FOX
KZJO Seattle MNT
WSFL South Florida CW
KWGN Denver CW
KTXL Sacramento FOX
KPLR St. Louis CW
KRCW Portland CW
WXIN Indianapolis FOX
WTTV Indianapolis CW
KSWB San Diego FOX
WTIC Hartford FOX
WCCT Hartford CW
WXMI Grand Rapids FOX
WPMT Harrisburg FOX
WGNO New Orleans ABC
WNOL New Orleans CW

RBR-TVBR observation: What makes these interesting: It is harder to combine two stations into a TV duopoly if they are both Big Four network affiliates. It means that any standalones in one of Trib’s many CW markets has a chance of tucking the station into its portfolio without getting the regulators all worked up.

That said, Variety notes that a lot of the most obvious groups to market these wares to may for one reason or another decline or be unable to participate. Many have already reached national ownership caps or are capped out locally, and others are not enamored of CW and MNT stations.

Perhaps they would make a unique stocking stuffer for the multi-millionaire entrepreneur who has everything – time will tell. Stay tuned.