The Tribune Company is expected to fire CEO Randy Michaels today (Tuesday), days after Michaels himself dismissed another top executive, Lee Abrams, as its chief innovation officer, published reports said today. Both men rose to top positions in The Company from backgrounds in rock-and-roll radio and both were criticized for their alleged efforts to remake the conservative Tribune into a kind of WKRP, the fictional Cincinnati radio station that was the setting for a hit TV sitcom in the 1980s. (Coincidentally Michaels was a Cincinnati disk jockey at the time.) The New York Times , which was the first to report the anticipated firing, citing a person directly involved in the matter, observed in its report "Mr. Michaels, who came to the company with a broad mandate for change, alienated many of the company's employees and some of its advertisers with a nontraditional approach, including many tactics borrowed from radio." Michaels has had a long association with Sam Zell, the Chicago real-estate investor who orchestrated an $8.2-billion leveraged buyout of Tribune that saddled the company with such heavy debt that some say that it was inevitably forced to file for bankruptcy, which it did in 2008. Among Tribune's holdings are the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times , and a raft of TV stations including WGN-TV in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles, and WPIX in New York.
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