The company announced Tuesday that Easterly will serve as senior vice president/group operations for Tribune Broadcasting stations and interim general manager of WPIX in New York. Rich Graziano, current general manager of WPIX, has resigned effective immediately.
Until a replacement for Easterly is named at WGN, “Chicago’s Very Own” will be overseen by Larry Wert, Tribune Broadcasting’s president of broadcast media and a lifelong Chicago media veteran.
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.”
Easterly, 54, joined WGN in April 2014 from WJW, Cleveland’s Tribune-owned Fox affiliate, where he’d spent 17 years, first as news director and later as general manager. At WGN he presided over an expansion of local news by 10 hours a week and a move from CW Network affiliate to fully independent status.
“Tribune Broadcasting is on the cutting-edge of local news expansion and production, and there is a lot of additional opportunity for growth,” Easterly said. “As a first step, I’m excited to join PIX and begin working with the talented team at this legendary local station.”
Here is the email to WGN staff from Easterly:
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.