Legendary radio programmer Lee Abrams is leaving XM Satellite Radio to join Tribune Company as its first-ever Chief Innovation Officer. “Lee’s going to pump new life into our content, re-energize our brands, and get people thinking and working together like they never have before,” declared Tribune President of Broadcasting and Interactive Randy Michaels. Like Michaels, Abrams is best known in radio, but has expanded his activities into a variety of media. “He invented the modern FM radio format, got satellite radio off the ground when no one gave it a chance, and managed to advise on the redesign of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine and the launch of TNT Cable Network in his spare time,” Michaels noted.
Abrams has a broad mandate for his new job – charged with being responsible for innovation across Tribune’s publishing, broadcasting and interactive divisions. “We have the resources to pioneer a new age of information and entertainment that re-invents and enlightens — and that is exactly what we are going to do!” said Abrams.
RBR/TVBR observation: Sam Zell, Randy Michaels and Lee Abrams – what a team! Some people would find each and every one of them to be overbearing, off-the-wall and just plain nuts. Each of the three would probably take that as a compliment. No status quo thinking here. Will they be able to reshape the American media landscape by changing how 160-year-old Tribune Company approaches its various businesses? Will they turn this boring, old four-door media sedan into a turbo-charged hot rod? One thing is for sure – it will be fun to watch them try.