Michaels, Abrams Out At Tribune
Randy Michaels just can’t get any respect.
The onetime Clear Channel Radio exec and former shock jock who was once sued for sexual harassment, including allegations he wore a sex toy at the office like a necktie, resigned Oct. 19 as CEO of the Tribune.
Scathing reports recently surfaced suggesting that his management style hadn’t changed much at the now-bankrupt media company.
The Tribune Co. owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, and television stations including superstations WGN and KTLA.
The resignation came h ot on the heels of that of chief innovation officer Lee Abrams, under fire for sending a company-wide e-mail replete with links to lewd material. The e-mail was sent one week after the New York Times published a blistering exposé of Tribune Co.’s “corporate culture” that described more accurately a fraternity house than a staid media corporation.
The NYT piece was just one of many examples of how the executive level of the Tribune Co. – in the second year of bankruptcy under controversial chairman Sam Zell – had practically turned into a “morning zoo.”
Michaels’ former radio pals brought into the Tribune Co. allegedly “tarnished the company with boorish, sexist behavior and a general atmosphere of juvenile unprofessionalism in the corporate suite,” according to the company’s own Tribune newspaper.
Before joining the Tribune Co., Michaels was widely credited with engineering Clear Channel’s consolidation of radio in the late 1990s and into the 2000s before his radio downfall. Zell hired him not long after his non-compete expired.
In an e-mail to employees at the time, Zell wrote that Michaels “is exactly what Tribune needs to keep moving forward – smart, decisive, relentless, irreverent, fun and cutting-edge,” the Times reported.
Zell had been chairman of the Jacor radio chain, which in 1995 merged with Clear Channel Radio, adding some 240 radio stations to an empire that once peaked at more than 1,200 stations.
The deal was reportedly brokered by Michaels, who is now being replaced at Tribune Co. in the interim by a four-member executive committee.