CHICAGO (CBS) — Reports Tuesday say former Chicago Tribune chief executive officer Randy Michaels is set to buy two high-profile local FM radio stations, on the heels of a new book that exposes some raunchy tales about Michaels’ reign in the Tribune Tower.
Multiple published reports said Michaels is part of a group set to buy rock alternative station WKQX-101.1 FM, Q101, and classic rock station WLUP-97.9 FM, The Loop, both of which are being sold by Emmis Communications.
All Access Music Group reported that the stations, along with New York alternative station WRXP, will be taken over by Merlin Media – a controlling interest of which will be controlled by Michaels and Chicago-based equity firm GTCR. Emmis will keep a minority stake, All Access reported.
The news comes on the heels of the release of a new book by Chicago Tribune managing editor James O’Shea, which describes some of the most shocking and graphic activities in Tribune Tower under his reign.
Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the book, The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers, includes a graphic anecdote about Michaels involvng sex acts on a Tribune Tower terrace.
But raunchy tales about the culture of the Tribune Company under Michaels were well-known before O’Shea’s book.
Back in October of last year, the New York Times carried a front page story detailing a “frat house” culture in the Tribune executive suite.
The New York Times article by David Carr cited several current former Tribune executives and staffers, who claimed Michaels and his executives had “shocked and offended people throughout the company” with their “use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective.”
Among the more shocking claims in the article were a quote by one executive that Michaels had offered a waitress $100 to bear her breasts at a formal business dinner, and a report previously disseminated by Feder about a party for senior management with cigars and poker tables in the former office of Tribune baron Col. Robert R. McCormick.
Meanwhile, the Tribune Company continues its efforts to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.