Why KTLA fired Mark Mester after behind-the-scenes drama

KTLA-TV Channel 5, whose broadcasts of native information for many years have been a necessary a part of each day life for many Los Angeles viewers, turned the information this previous week, after the departure of one among its high-profile information anchors, Lynette Romero, and the firing of one other, Mark Mester.

The shakeup marks a tumultuous second for KTLA, a station that values longevity and earlier this 12 months celebrated its seventy fifth anniversary. It has thrown the station’s fashionable “Weekend Morning News” present into flux.

The abrupt departures have shocked many inside the station, and the drama has reverberated all through Southern California as a deluge of devoted viewers have criticized KTLA’s dealing with of Romero’s departure and Mester’s termination. Some viewers are saying they’ll no longer tune in.

“I think it obviously affected us in a very negative way, and that trust has to be regained over many years,” stated a station supply who spoke to The Occasions on situation of anonymity. “It’s not gonna be regained in a day, in a week, or in a month.”

Whereas the way forward for KTLA’s “Weekend Morning” present and its standing with the neighborhood is unsure, here’s a transient timeline of the occasions of the previous week.

Sept. 14 — KTLA broadcasts Lynette Romero’s exit

In a information broadcast on the finish of its 10 a.m. present, the newsroom’s director Pete Saiers handed leisure reporter Sam Rubin a script asserting the departure of Lynette Romero.

“After nearly 24 years, Lynette Romero, our friend Lynette, has decided to move on from anchoring our weekend morning news,” Rubin stated on air after a photograph of Romero flashed onto the display.

“KTLA management had hoped she would stay here her entire career, and KTLA worked hard to make that happen,” Rubin added. “But Lynette has decided to move to another opportunity elsewhere. Lynette, we wish you luck, we miss you and we thank you for everything you’ve done for KTLA. … On behalf of everyone here, we wish you and your family nothing but the best.”

Station administration had been in negotiations with Romero over the previous a number of weeks. Romero now not wished to work weekends and had requested administration to permit her to work a weekday anchor shift so she might spend extra time together with her household, however she was informed there have been no openings, based on station sources who requested to stay nameless. Sources say she reportedly has been employed at KNBC-TV, L.A.’s NBC affiliate, as one among its weekday morning present anchors.

Reward and backlash from viewers

With KTLA’s “Weekend Morning” present among the many hottest native weekend packages on TV, Romero’s departure despatched shockwaves among the many present’s loyal viewers. An outpouring of reward for Romero unfold on-line, celebrating her storied profession at KTLA that included profitable six native Emmy Awards, with one among them recognizing her reporting on Latinos in L.A.

However her departure additionally drew intense criticism of the station.

Many questioned the station’s resolution to not permit Romero to say her own goodbye on air. KTLA had already misplaced favor with some viewers when information anchor Dayna Devon left the “Morning” program for a unique present. Romero’s departure was the tipping level for some viewers.

“Dayna AND Lynette gone now?” commented one user on Twitter. “No need for me to watch anymore.”

Administration provides a recorded goodbye

Someday after the Sept. 14 announcement, newsroom and station managers at KTLA provided to ship a digicam to Romero’s home to report her goodbye, which might have been aired on a later day. Romero rejected the proposal. A number of station sources stated her future employer KNBC had discouraged her from doing so.

Romero saved a low profile on social media since her KTLA exit, however she addressed followers Sept. 14.

“I will always be grateful for the love and affection LA viewers have given me,” she tweeted. “Stay tuned my friends I’ll be right back.”

Sept. 17 — Mark Mester goes off script

Producers had spent the final a number of days gathering a montage of Romero’s work and a script for fellow “Weekend Morning Show” anchor Mark Mester to learn throughout a farewell section.

Mester, who had alerted his followers on social media that he was planning to deal with Romero’s departure on that morning’s present, had different plans.

He employed a airplane with a banner to fly over the station with the message “We love you Lynette!” Mester had pitched producers to incorporate footage of the airplane within the section however was rejected.

On the prime of the 8 a.m. present, Mester ignored the script and launched into an emotional speech, criticizing the station’s dealing with of Romero’s exit and apologizing to viewers on behalf of the station. “What viewers experienced was rude, it was cruel, it was inappropriate, and we are so sorry,” Mester stated of the Sept. 14 announcement.

Mester additionally flashed a photograph of the station’s normal supervisor, Janene Drafs and talked about her position in Romero’s departure. Neither motion was permitted by producers.

He then apologized to Romero, whom he referred to as his “best friend.”

“You did not deserve this, we are sorry, it was a mistake, and we just hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us,” Mester stated, his voice cracking at instances. With three colleagues alongside him, Mester’s monologue lasted greater than 4 minutes.

Sept. 17 — Outburst within the newsroom

Instantly after the present as Mester stepped off set, station administration referred to as him into their workplace for a gathering, which he refused. An assistant information director was compelled to interrupt the information of his suspension over voicemail. At one level, a number of staffers recalled Mester telling one of many information administrators to “shut up” and refusing to depart the constructing after being requested to take action.

In the course of the change with administration, Mester allegedly yelled obscenities that could possibly be heard by different staffers within the newsroom.

A number of sources on the station stated it was frequent data that staffers have been involved about Mester’s mood and what was described as his “disrespectful” conduct to ladies and had complained to administration.

Sept. 19 — Information breaks of Mester’s suspension

Trade commerce publication Deadline reported Mester’s suspension. Though KTLA and its Nexstar Media Group possession refused to touch upon the suspension, media retailers and the KTLA viewers instantly started to attract the road between Romero’s abrupt exit, Mester’s impassioned speech and his suspension.

The suspension spurred additional vitriol towards the station and reward for Mester, whom viewers noticed as advocating for Romero.

Nonetheless, within the newsroom, many staffers started to name for Mester’s firing, saying that he had betrayed their belief.

Sept. 22 — KTLA broadcasts Mester’s firing

In the future earlier, on Sept. 21, newsroom staffers noticed Mester assembly with administration. The subsequent day, round 1 p.m., the station’s normal supervisor, Drafs referred to as station workers collectively for a gathering the place she introduced Mester’s firing.

“[Mester] is no longer at KTLA5,” she said. Employees were given instructions to not speak with the media.

Mester has not responded to requests for comment and has remained silent on social media since his termination.