BROADCASTING & CABLE has named Dennis FitzSimons its Broadcaster of the Year for 2003. The award will be presented to the president and CEO of the Tribune Co. on April 15 during the Television Bureau of Advertising's Annual Marketing Conference at the Javits Center in New York.
This is the second year for the award, which goes to the individual who best exemplifies what it is to be a broadcaster: someone who combines business acumen with a strong commitment to news and community service.
Last year, the recipient was Dennis Swanson, then general manager of WNBC(TV) New York. He has now embarked on a new chapter in his career, working to rejuvenate the Viacom station group.
Although FitzSimons has had responsibility for the newspaper-publishing and broadcasting businesses since January 2000, he came up through the Tribune ranks on the broadcasting side.
After stints in advertising buying and selling, he joined WVIT-TV Hartford, Conn., as director of sales and marketing. He made the move to Tribune in 1982 as sales director of flagship station WGN-TV Chicago. He went to New Orleans in 1984 to run WGNO-TV but returned to Chicago a year later for a series of posts that led to his taking command of all Tribune TV stations in 1992. He added radio when he was named president of Tribune Broadcasting Co. in 1994.
His responsibilities expanded to the company's other media when he became executive vice president of Tribune Co. in 2000. He was named president and COO in July 2001, president and CEO in January 2003.
Throughout his career, the 52-year-old New York native has been deeply involved in industry and community affairs. Most recently, he was named chairman of the Media Security and Reliability Council of the FCC.