On December 20, 2007 Michaels became EVP & CEO of Interactive and Broadcasting for Chicago based Tribune Company. His Tribune roll includes overseeing most of the Tribune newspapers. Michaels will also oversee Local TV LLC through a management agreement. The Tribune/LocalTV management agreement creates the largest television group in total reach.
Michaels was often referred to as “boy wonder” for Taft Broadcasting in the early 1970’s. Michaels was Taft’s Vice President of Programming in his 20’s, successfully turning stations WGRQ Buffalo, WKRQ and WKRC Cincinnati, and WDAF Kansas City. In 1983 Michaels left Taft with partner Robert Lawrence to form Seven Hills Broadcasting. With partners, he purchased stations in Nashville and Knoxville, along with WSKS and 700WLW Cincinnati. Within three years 700WLW had become the pioneer of modern talkradio rising to the top of the ratings. Seven Hills merged with Jacor in 1986, and Michaels became EVP/Programming and co-COO until assuming the President/COO position during re-structuring under Sam Zell in May of 1993. In 1996 Zell named Michaels CEO.
Early Television Experience
Michaels first experienced television in the mid 90’s when Jacor purchased Citicasters. The deal included 2 television stations WTSP Tampa (swapped to Gannett for 6 radio stations shortly after acquisition) and WKRC Cincinnati which held ratings dominance during the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
In early 2007 Michaels became CEO of Local TV, LLC, a company that acquired television stations formerly owned by The New York Times. On December 22, 2007 LocalTVllc announced it was acquiring 8 large market stations from News Corp.
Local TV Stations
|DMA#||City of License/Market||Station||Owned Since||Current Affiliation|
|1.||New York City||WPIX 11||1948||CW|
|2.||Los Angeles||KTLA 5||1985||CW|
|5.||Dallas - Fort Worth||KDAF 33||1997||CW|
|9.||Washington, D.C.||WDCW 50||1999||CW|
|14.||Tacoma - Seattle||KCPQ 13||1999||Fox|
|16.||Miami - Fort Lauderdale||WSFL-TV 39||1997||CW|
|20.||Sacramento - Stockton - Modesto||KTXL 40||1997||Fox|
|21.||St. Louis||KPLR-TV 11||2003||CW|
|23.||Portland, Oregon||KRCW-TV 32||2003||CW|
|26.||Bloomington, Indiana||WTTV 4||2002||CW|
|Kokomo, Indiana||WTTK 29 |
(satellite of WTTV)
|27.||San Diego||KSWB 69||1996||CW|
|29.||Hartford - New Haven, CT||WTIC-TV 61||1997||Fox|
|Waterbury, Connecticut||WTXX 20||2001||CW|
|39.||Grand Rapids - Battle Creek - |
|41.||York - Harrisburg - |
Lancaster - Lebanon, PA
|53.||New Orleans||WGNO-TV 26||1983||ABC|
When the 1996 Telecom bill passed on Feb12, 1996, allowing, for the first time the ownership of up to 8 stations in a single market, Jacor announced the first two 8 station clusters; one in Denver, one in Cincinnati. Both announcements occurred within days of the bill passing. The Cincinnati cluster included 8 radio stations, and WKRC TV. Jacor and its successor parent led the industry in consolidation, eventually acquiring over 1000 more stations than the Number Two group. Michaels took full advantage of the rules, and in many cases, legally acquired more stations than seemed to be allowed. For instance, a 12 station cluster was created in San Diego. Four of the stations were licensed to Mexico, which is not subject to FCC rules. At Jacor, Michaels built a team that produced not only the most impressive acquisition record but also the industry’s best “same store” growth figures. Most of those on that team remained with him until his departure from Clear Channel in 2002.
While painted as "outrageous" by some, Michaels is known by those who work for him as one who plans rationally and meticulously and executes passionately. Those who work with him see him as a born leader who wins and respect him as an intellect unknown in most business or intellectual circles. Professional relationships with Michaels last decades, because he's known to be as loyal to his people as they are to him. Michaels is a well known strategist and moves quickly.
In May of 1999 Zell and Michaels merged Jacor with Clear Channel Communications. While CEO of Clear Channel Michaels took the merged Jacor/Clear Channel from 425 stations to 1200 in a 3 year period. Michaels remained in the CEO roll until July 2002. A Wall street media analyst referred to Michaels departure from the business as “the end of radio”. In the 90's and early 2000's Michaels and former CBS President Mel Karmazin were perceived as the "last great radio industry tycoon's".
High Powered Programming
Michaels has always been known for his ability to program to the top of the ratings and has always had a loyalty to great talent. In 1992, Michaels hired a young Sean Hannity to join Jacor as a talk show host in Atlanta. In 1997 Michaels cut one of the largest deals in radio history with Rush Limbaugh to acquire the program. In 1998 Michaels made a deal with Dr. Laura Schlessinger, at the time the #2 talk show host in the country.