Fresh out of bankruptcy, Tribune has hired former Federal Communications Commission official Edward Lazarus as executive vice president and general counsel.
Up until a year ago, Lazarus was the former chief of staff to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
Like a lot of media companies that have hired former FCC officials (Comcast/NBCUniversal and the National Association of Broadcasters), Tribune has a few things it needs to settle at the FCC, specifically, making sure the company can continue to own a newspaper and broadcast station in four of its markets, such as New York and Los Angeles
"[Lazarus] is the perfect fit as our general counsel and will be a tremendous asset to the company and its media businesses," said Peter Liguori, chief executive officer of Tribune.
As part of the FCC's regulatory review of the Tribune bankruptcy, the agency granted the company a permanent waiver of its cross-ownership ban in Chicago, but only temporary waivers in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida and Hartford, Conn. Depending on what the FCC decides in its current media ownership proceeding, Tribune could end up having to request waivers for those markets or only have to divest in Hartford.
Free Press blasted Tribune's hiring of Lazarus as nothing but a transparent lobbying move. "Maybe this job for one of Julius Genachowski's closest advisers explains why the FCC chairman is so eager to trash the few remaining media ownership limits, going against the positions of President Obama, more than 60 members of Congress, the federal court of appeals, and millions of Americans….Or maybe Lazarus' new job is just another unseemly example of FCC regulators cashing in at the companies they were once supposed to regulate," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press.
Lazarus succeeds David Eldersveld, who joined Tribune in 2005. Eldersveld will remain as a special advisor to the company.