A familiar face on local television screens for more than 20 years, most recently news director at KTUU Channel 2, Steve MacDonald was suddenly out of a job Monday.
KTUU General Manager Susan Lucas would confirm only that MacDonald no longer worked for the station but would not elaborate on what led to the breakup.
"What I would say, like in any relationship, there are two sides to every story and it doesn't show respect to the employees who are still here or the one who is not here to go into any detail," she said.
A call to MacDonald's home was not returned, so an authoritative account of the split was not available, but that didn't stop the news -- and theories -- from spreading across the state via e-mail, blogs and radio.
Lucas said by afternoon her phone was ringing with a steady stream of calls from talk radio listeners, responding to on-air and online reports that MacDonald was fired. She said callers' complaints were full of "inaccuracies" but wouldn't say more.
According to his bio on the KTUU Web site, MacDonald started in local television news at KTVA-Channel 11 in 1982. He jumped to Channel 2 in 1996 as a reporter and anchor, and then replaced long-time news director John Tracy last summer when Tracy retired from the news business.
A fan page for MacDonald was started by his supporters on Facebook Monday afternoon and by evening had collected over 150 members.
KTUU, which went on the air in the 1950s, was sold in early 2008 to Indiana-based Schurz Communications. Lucas arrived earlier this year, replacing long-time general manager Al Bramstedt, who retired at the end of 2008.
Find Julia O'Malley online at adn.com/contact/jomalley or call 257-4591.
By JULIA O'MALLEY