The Short Report

Los Angeles-based Key3Media Group, famous for shows like Comdex and JavaOne, and arguably the industry's leading technology trade show firm, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early February.

The company cited shrunken revenues and a massive debt of $390 million as key factors that forced it to begin reorganization with the backing of Thomas Weisel Partners, a private equity fund based in San Francisco. If things go according to plan, the $1.3 billion fund will own 99 percent of Key3Media when it emerges from bankruptcy.

While operating under bankruptcy protection, Key3Media hopes to reduce its debt by lowering costs. The 24-year-old organization has already laid off almost half its staff and it has canceled regional events including the Comdex show in Chicago.

The company says its largest shows will continue uninterrupted.



Double Trouble in Dallas and Chicago: Busted CEOs

Scandal over inappropriate and possibly criminal activity in the top ranks of the convention business in Dallas and Chicago has joined the two cities in an embarrassing marriage of ousted CEOs.

In Dallas, Dave Whitney, president and CEO of the convention and visitors bureau, resigned his position over controversy that he and his staff misspent their budget on expensive town cars, liquor, and outings to exclusive golf courses and even strip clubs.

Chris Luna, former chairman of the Dallas bureau's board and Whitney's boss, resigned as well. At presstime, replacements for the two had not been announced.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), which owns and operates Chicago's famed McCormick Place convention center, is missing a CEO since its besmirched leader Scott R. Fawell was removed this month amid criminal charges that he coerced state employees into doing campaign work for then-Governor George Ryan.

For the time being, Chief Operating Officer Jon Clay is filling in for the ousted CEO, and as of this writing a permanent CEO had not been named.



Delta's Song Hums Like Jetblue, and United Makes It A Duet

In an attempt to win back critical East Coast market share from thriving budget carriers like JetBlue and AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines has created a low-cost subsidiary airline call-ed Song, set to begin operating in April.

Song's fares do sound sweet, with one-way prices starting at $79 for service from all three New York airports to airports in Boston, Florida, and other East Coast destinations. Tickets will be available at Song's Web site, www.flysong.com

Meanwhile, Delta's financially troubled rival United Airlines has stated its intention to create a similar subsidiary airline primarily serving markets in the West.