a media industry resource

Taft and Great American: Chronology


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • Beginnings
  • Into television (1957)
  • Into parks (1969)
  • Great American takeover (1987)
  • Citicasters (1994)
  • Jacor (1996)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1873 Charles Phelps Taft buys Cincinnati newspaper Spirit of the Times, later acquires Chronicle and Evening Star

1879 becomes owner and editor of Cincinnati Times-Star

1905 finances Charles Murphy's purchase of Chicago Cubs for US$125,000

1914 Murphy sells Cubs to Taft

1916 William Wrigley Jr and Charles Weeghman buy the Cubs for US$500,000

1939 CBS sells WKRC to Taft family's Radio Cincinnati and Times-Star Co

1940 Lindner family founds United Dairy Farmers

Into television

1957 Wometco sells WBRC-TV to Taft

1957 Taft buys Hanna-Barbera Productions

1958 Scripps buys Cincinnati Times-Star

1959 Lindner and Charles Keating Jr found American Financial Corp

1963 launch of WGHP

1964 Transcontinent Television Corporation (inc WDAF-TV) acquired by Taft

1969 Taft acquires WIBF-TV (later WTAF)

Into parks

1969 acquires Coney Island park

1970 merger of United Fruit and AMK-John Morrell as United Brands

1972 launch of Kings Island amusement park

1974 Hamlyn group acquires 51% of Hanna Barbera Australia

1975 Taft and Top Value buy Carowinds theme park for US$16m

1979 buys WDCA from Grant Broadcasting

1981 Taft buys Ruby-Spears Productions

1983 swaps WGR-TV (now WGRZ) for Coral Television's WCIX

1983 MBO of Taft theme park division results in Kings Entertainment Company (KECO) - Kings Dominion, Carowinds in Charlotte, Kings Island in Cincinnati and Canada's Wonderland in Toronto

1983 WGR (Buffalo) sold to General Cinema

1984 Taft launches Hanna Barbera Land in Texas

1984 Taft acquires KEX (Portland) for US$8.1m

1984 Lindner gains control of United Brands

1985 Australia's Wonderland launched

1987 sells WTAF-TV and other stations to TVX Broadcasting

1987 buys WGHP, KTSP Phoenix, WGHP Greensboro/High Point, WTSP Tampa, KTXH and KTXA from Gulf Broadcasting

Great American takeover

1987 Lindner's Great American Communications acquires control of Taft Broadcasting

1987 Dudley Taft forms new Taft Broadcasting, acquires WPHL-TV (Philadelphia)

1988 Balnaves leads $11m MBO of Taft-Hardie in Australia, forms Southern Star

1989 TVX stations acquired by Paramount

1989 United Brands becomes Chiquita Brands

1990 Chiquita has est. 33% of global banana market

1992 Tribune acquires WPHL (later WB17) from second Taft Broadcasting, Dudley Taft Jr later becomes Tribune director

1992 Ted Turner buys Great American production arm (inc Hanna-Barbera)

1992 World Vision Distribution acquired by Spelling (later purchased by Viacom)

1992 WGHP Greensboro sold

1992 Australia's Wonderland sold

1992 Paramount buys KECO


1994 Great American Communications emerges from Chapter 11 as Citicasters Inc

1994 Citicasters sells tv stations to New World

1994 Dudley Taft and associates buy US Playing Card from Frontenac for US$140m

1995 Fox acquires New World stations


1996 Jacor pays US$774m for Citicasters ten FM and four AM radio stations

1998 Jacor acquired by Clear Channel

1998 controversy after Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer exposes Chiquita's questionable business practices

1999 Lindner and associates buy control of Cincinnati Reds team

2001 Chiquita declares bankruptcy and files for Chapter 11

2002 Chiquita sells main interests in US Midwest

2004 Jarden Corp buys US Playing Card for US$232m