Professor Rich Hanley calls Tribune’s successful request for cross-ownership waivers a ‘strategy for survival’

Professor Rich Hanley

The FCC has approved Tribune Company’s request for the assignment of its broadcast licenses. It granted the company a permanent waiver of cross-ownership in Chicago, and granted temporary waivers in Hartford, New York, Los Angeles and South Florida. Tribune also plans to name television executive Peter Liguori as the company’s chief executive when it emerges from bankruptcy

Rich Hanley, who directs the graduate journalism program in the School of Communications, is available to comment on both developments.

“The FCC decision is not surprising, as it has been headed this way for some time,” Hanley said. “Cross-ownership roles in the 21st century are archaic given the multiple platforms and distribution points for information and advertising. The act of bolting two traditional media platforms together in the market is more a strategy for survival rather than a move toward monopoly in the age of the Internet. The FCC clearly understood that.”

In regards to its potential next CEO, Hanley explains, “The choice of Liguori underscores a profound shift in media companies from traditional print to television-flavored. The New York Times’ CEO Mark Thompson was plucked from the BBC to shape the company as it departs from a print-based past. Television executives have one piece of experience in an area that traditional newspaper publishers did not: competition. Most newspapers occupied monopoly positions for decades, while television networks and producers have been slugging it out from the start. This competitive drive polishes skills, focuses attention and moves quickly to adapt. That’s exactly what traditional print media companies need.”

Among Tribune’s portfolio are the Hartford Courant, America’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication, and FOX Connecticut. They are located approximately 30 minutes north of Quinnipiac.

Hanley is available to speak with members of the media on either topic. He can be reached at

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