Tribune Merging Hartford TV and Paper Operations

Graziano to head joint Connecticut operations, 'Courant' publisher out

Filed at 12:25 p.m. EST on Mar. 30, 2009

Tribune Company is merging operations at Hartford stations WTIC and WTXX with the Hartford Courant newspaper. The merger will see all of the above working under one roof and managed by stations Senior V.P./General Manager Richard Graziano. The shift takes place later this year.

"This is the future of media," said Tribune COO Randy Michaels. "Whether in print, over the air, or online-the delivery mechanism isn't as important as the unique, rich nature of the content provided. Bringing these media properties together will enable us to bring more resources to our news coverage, improving and expanding what we can offer readers, viewers and advertisers in the area."

WTIC and WTXX, a Fox and a CW affiliate, will move to a high definition studio in the Courant newsroom. Construction of the studio is expected to begin later this summer. WTIC also plans to expand its news offerings by adding two half-hour broadcasts, one at noon and another at 6 p.m.

Courant publisher Steve Carver will leave the company after "a short transition period," said Tribune. Graziano will manager what Tribune says will be the largest print/broadcast news-gathering operation in Connecticut.

"We are focused on serving Hartford and Connecticut and Rich is the best person to lead our efforts," said Tribune Broadcasting President Ed Wilson. "He's talented, experienced, and has great leadership skills. But most importantly, Rich knows the market better than anyone."

Laboring under a massive debt load, Tribune has been bullish on merging its media operations in various markets. In December, it announced it will "integrate the operations" of Chicago cousins WGN and CLTV. It also merged operations of WSFL and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Florida.

Media General announced a similar move group-wide last week, reorganizing its entire company by market, instead of by division.