Tribune is making a big change at their New York station.
WPIX General Manager Rich Graziano has "resigned" effective immediately (so in other words he did not resign).
Tribune has already named an interim replacement for Graziano. The company has bumped up WGN (Chicago) GM Greg Easterly (pictured) to senior vice president/group operations for Tribune Broadcasting stations and interim general manager of WPIX.
Robert Feder writes that until a replacement for Easterly is named at WGN, the station will be overseen by Larry Wert, Tribune Broadcasting’s president of broadcast media.
In a statement announcing the move, Wert called Easterly “an experienced leader who understands local audiences and what they will respond to, and he knows news, sports and local broadcasting backwards and forwards. He is the perfect choice to lead the team at PIX as his first assignment in his new role.”
“As a first step, I’m excited to join PIX and begin working with the talented team at this legendary local station,” Easterly said.
Here's the internal email from Larry Wert:
From: Wert, Larry
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2016 10:30 AM
As you may know by now, after 17 years with Tribune Broadcasting, Rich Graziano has decided to move his career in a new direction—he will be leaving WPIX and the company. Rich joined TBC in 1999, as national sales manager at WLVI-TV, then a TBC-owned television station in Boston. Over the years, he served in a variety of positions with increasing responsibility, becoming President and General Manager at WPIX-TV in New York City the fall of 2013.
As GM, Rich accomplished a lot in a short period of time; expanding news, helping to bring the Yankees home to WPIX, establishing a news bureau in Brooklyn, and facilitating partnerships with the New York City public school system, the Veteran’s Education Challenge and Barclays Center among others. During Rich’s tenure, WPIX’s newscasts and journalists earned a number of honors, including several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. Please join me in wishing Rich well.
As Rich moves on, we are announcing the promotion of Greg Easterly to SVP/Group Operations. Greg will begin his duties by immediately assuming responsibility for overseeing WPIX as interim-general manager. Since early 2014, Greg has served as President and GM of WGN-TV in Chicago, where he expanded news and oversaw more local news, live sports, and entertainment production than any TV station in the country. He is an innovative and strategic leader and is respected by his colleagues across the industry. Greg will be a tremendous asset to WPIX and to the TBC group leadership team.
Greg and I plan to be at WPIX in person next week. Thanks in advance for giving him your full support.
And the internal email from:
From: "Easterly, Greg"
Date: June 7, 2016 at 9:31:17 AM CDT
I wanted you all to know a press release will come out shortly announcing that I will be moving to a corporate position with Tribune Broadcasting as Senior Vice-President/Group Operations.
While I’m excited about the new opportunity, it is also bittersweet as it means I will eventually be transitioning away from my current role at WGN-TV.
The coming weeks will be busy.
Besides remaining directly involved with WGN, I will also be assuming day-to-day and strategic operations as interim general manager of WPIX-TV. This means we will rely more on our local managers at WGN and we are fortunate to have strong, experienced leaders in all departments, as well as the added benefit of having Larry Wert here in Chicago.
There will be much to coordinate and Larry will be at the station tomorrow to discuss next steps. Please plan to attend a general staff meeting at 10:30am in studio one.
On a personal note, this opportunity would not have been possible without our collective accomplishments at WGN. I sincerely thank you all for your hard work, dedication and for allowing me to be part of the team at WGN.
We'll talk more in the coming days and I hope to see you at the staff meeting on Wednesday.
And here is the email from Rick Grazino:
To the PIX family and Tribune Media colleagues and friends:
I end my 17-year career with Tribune grateful for the role the company has played in my development as a seasoned media professional and leader. This extraordinary multimarket, multiplatform journey has provided me with a clear view of unlimited opportunity that exists within this fascinating media landscape and revolution.
My Tribune career began in Boston in 1999 at WLVI and moved on from there to include various media platforms and markets including Connecticut, DC, Philadelphia and New York; all with great brands, talented people and fond memories.
Here in NY we have accomplished much at WPIX. I’m very proud of and thankful for the leadership team and all of the staff that is so dedicated and passionate about PIX 11. David Hyman and his team did great work gaining perspective around the power and scope of the PIX brand in New York and also transformed the look and feel of our on and off channel presentation. Amy Waldman, Rolando Pujol and all of the news and digital teams implemented a digital innovation transformation, culminating in explosive increases in audience over 2 years, truly a worst to first case study. John Seminerio and his engineering staff built out a new and improved studio here in Manhattan and a cutting edge broadcast studio in Brooklyn located within the Barclays Center. We negotiated a favorable multi-year NY Mets deal, and brought the Yankees back to WPIX with a multi-year broadcast partnership with YES. WPIX increased share and ratings of news audience in all newscasts for many months in a row, and has been recognized with dozens of team and individual awards for outstanding journalism. Bob Marra and the entire sales team have created some exclusive alliances with powerful advertising partners and brands and should be proud that PIX11 has increased core market share in 13 of the last 20 months in the most competitive media market in the US.
Moving forward, I am fortunate to be in the position where I am able to invest my time and resources in some exciting new initiatives in a variety of roles.
I view this moment as not only an inflection point in my career but also as a critical time in the creation and distribution of content in a brave new media landscape where I am excited and poised to play a pivotal role.
Thank you to all of the partnerships and alliances formed in recent years that added value. It was an honor to work with you.
Onward and upward -