Tribune responds: As noted on LA Observed, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons defended the company's ownership of the L.A. Times and reiterated that the paper was not for sale. In its story, the LAT finds a bunch of unidentified grousers in the newsroom and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Tribune's board will be presented with a plan to unwind two complicated partnerships with the Chandlers, which could set in motion a bunch of asset sales and other moves. It's Tribune's financial situation and the patience of its institutional shareholders that will determine what happens. Today's oped page carries the letter that those 20 L.A. civic leaders sent to the Tribune and CEO Dennis FitzSimons's response.
Promoting the NYT: Here's more fuel for the LAT fire - a 24-page advertising supplement in this morning's NYT on the NYT. It's the kickoff of a branding campaign that focuses on the paper's star reporters, columnists editors and photographers. TV spots are planned for prime time and on the morning chat shows. It's a very impressive effort for an industry that's supposed to be on the ropes, although you can bet that the Times-ers who didn't make it into the supplement were none too pleased. Speaking of ad campaigns: Yahoo is launching a multi-million dollar promotion aimed at getting users back on its portal.
Napster for sale: The L.A.-based subscription music company has hired UBS to help negotiate a possible deal resulting from what it describes as "recent third-party interest." No wonder the stock got a boost last week. None of this is a big surprise; the company keeps losing money as it tries to accomplish the impossible - compete with iTunes and to a lesser extent, Yahoo.
Holiday guessing game: Consider the power of the headline writer. In reporting on the outlook for holiday shopping, the NYT had a story on its Business Day cover with this headline: "Retailers See Strong Sales For Holidays." The WSJ had a three-paragraph item on page A19 with this headline: "Holiday Retail Gains Are Likely to Weaken." I'm betting on the Times.
FoxFaith: Rupert Murdoch wasn't about to ignore the numbers pulled down by Mel Gibson in "The Passion of the Christ." So News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment is announcing plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year under the FoxFaith banner. The first theatrical release, called "Love's Abiding Joy," is scheduled for Oct. 6. The LAT, which is ahead of the pack with a story on A1, examines the pros and cons of going after evangelical Christians.
Radio-wave auction: T-Mobile USA is shelling out $4.2 billion so it can upgrade services in Los Angeles, New York and other major cities. The company can now build more cellular towers to carry music, video and other high-speed services already being offered by competitors. T-Mobile's existing L.A. patchwork carries various signal strengths.
Stern coming back?: The NY Post reports of rumors about Howard Stern returning to broadcast radio. "Stern has complained loudly of late about published reports that he's lost his influence and is no longer a 'watercooler topic' since he bolted from CBS for Sirius in a $500 million deal last January," the story notes. Taffic to his Web site is apparently down - a lot.
Terminal deal: As expected, the Board of Airport Commissioners awarded Clark Construction Group and McCarthy Building Companies Inc. the contract to overhaul LAX's international terminal. The contract still needs to be approved by the L.A. City Council. The overhaul is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Disney digital: The Mouse House is entering the portable multimedia market with its Max Mix digital media player that allows playback - and limited storage -- of video, music, and photo files. Kind of interesting considering that Apple's Steve Jobs is Disney's largest shareholder, and the Max Mix sounds a little like an iPod competitor.
Lacter on KPCC: This morning's business chat with Steve Julian covers the potential drawbacks of lower gas prices, the challenge of finding out how that spinach was contaminated with E. coli, and the latest doings at the LAT.