Sony Corp. of America CEO Howard Stringer said Larry Tisch made one big mistake: selling CBS without realizing how much largesse broadcasters can count on in Washington, D.C.
Stringer, speaking at a breakfast in New York hosted by the Newhouse School of Communications, said former CBS chairman Tisch wanted out in large part because of the erosion of broadcast viewership to cable. But the broadcasting business, he added, continues to be fueled by regular treats from the Federal Communications Commission and Congress.
"He couldn't have known that Washington was going to step in and rescue the networks in alternate years, which is really what's happened," said Stringer, who was president of CBS until Tisch sold it in 1995. "Every time there's a problem, they're rescued. I would have said, 'Larry, don't leave now, let's go down to Washington and see what we could repeal this week.' He would have agreed with me. We just didn't see that coming."