Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Media: Drag me to Zell
It’s my retort to those who would rather be lucky than good.
The problem with luck is that it eventually runs out.
Just ask Sam Zell.
This is your life, Sam.
You will be forever known as the culprit that bankrupted the Tribune Corp.
You incurred $13 billion in debt – most of it from taking the company private.
That’s almost as remarkable as the Bain Capital/Thomas H. Lee deal for Clear Channel.
They’re in hock for what? $19 billion?
We’re talking billions and billions. Where’s Carl Sagan when you really need him?
Sam, you’ve splintered the former Tribune empire – the L.A. Times, Newsday, the Cubs and the Wrigley Field they play in – and the real estate – the Trib tower, the L.A. Times building. Now they’re all for the taking.
Too bad commercial real estate’s in the commode, Sam.
If your lenders and investors end up owning the Trib, do you think they’ll want to keep the guy who expedited their financial problems to run the joint?
Sam, you’re being figured out. When you sneeze, everyone else dies from your flu.
How about your one and only radio property? Is it true that at least one of your hires has yet to unpack his belongings and make Chicago home?
Sure, the wind may change direction and you could find a way to cling to your folly for a while longer – but will anyone take you seriously?
That’s the difference between brilliance and luck. A brilliant sales person knows his or her close. You, O lucky man, do not.
Not having a greater fool in the wings to pawn the Trib Corp. to? Imagine that.
How about Randy Michaels and his Gang of Bore? All that kink’s horses and all the kink’s men couldn’t put you back together again. At least he’s consistent. He did the same thing for a newspaper chain as he did for radio.
Sam, had you forgotten that his resurrection of Jacor was of smoke and mirror? Mediocrity usurping talent.
Consider it a blessing that Zell and Michaels didn’t get into the art museum business. They’d take a highly crafted Impressionist painting and slap a coat of Sherwin-Williams on it.
Sam, I see that you’ve already dropped Lee Abrams’ Total Recall 2070 “eyes logo” from WGN America. That’s the one that reminded him of Duran Duran. How and why? It was his mind excursion, not mine. What does Duran Duran have to with television? Now, that’s asking too many questions.
And what regional fifties fast food restaurant you rip the new WGN logo from?
You know that Zell must hate not having a greater fool to pawn the Trib to. That’s what happens when luck runs out. Of course, your bad luck is shared by your employee stock ownership plan. They're the ones that got the full measure of your royal scam. And how about that? Your e.s.o.p. is now being audited by the IRS. If you have any more bad luck you'll be humming Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes.
We shall not shed not a tear for you, Samuel Zell. You and the Gang of Bore have golden parachutes in place. You always do.
The real losers are your own Tribune employees – those on the front lines that write, produce, print, and distribute the papers. They did not deserve to be forced to live in the bubble of your ego.
We know you’ll have another extravaganza next year for you and 800 of your closest friends. Your last one was integrated a private performance by the Eagles. According to the rate card I have their performance alone cost you between $6 million and $8 million. Maybe your next one’ll have Fleetwood Mac. Austerity, you know. Christine McVie quit the band awhile back. Maybe you can get a discount.