Longtime WKRG-TV News Anchor Mel Showers Announces Retirement from Regular Nightly Newscasts
MOBILE, Alabama- Mel Showers, WKRG’s veteran 6p and 10p newscast anchor, has announced he will be retiring from anchoring regular nightly newscasts after 50 years at the station. Showers made the announcement to viewers during WKRG News 5 at 10 Thursday night.
"It has been an honor and privilege to be invited into so many lives over the years,” Showers said.
"I feel it is time to take a step back from the anchor desk and enjoy being able to get to bed a little earlier now,” Showers joked.
Showers’ last regular nightly newscast is scheduled to be WKRG News 5 at 10 on Wednesday, May 22.
"Mel Showers is beloved by people all along the Gulf Coast,” said Jesse Grear, Vice President and General Manager of WKRG. "Millions of viewers have watched Mel over the years. From reporting on cross burnings by the KKK, to the devastation brought by some of the country’s most powerful tropical storms and hurricanes, Mel has been the voice of calm during some of the most dramatic times in Alabama history,” Grear said.
Showers will contribute to WKRG News 5 as an "Anchor Emeritus” with occasional special reports and providing his unique perspective on events impacting the Gulf Coast "I’ll find a way of being back on the air for special events and maybe even fill-in anchor from time to time, "Showers said. "I love broadcasting and my hometown too much to disappear completely.”
Showers joined the station in 1969 after a stint in U.S. Air Force military intelligence. He earned a place in broadcasting history as the first African American to be named the full-time anchor of a nightly newscast in Mobile. Showers says the appointment brought him a lot of hate mail and ugly comments at first because of the color of his skin.
"They [the owners of the station] knew that I was going to take some heat when I first got on the air. They came to me and said, ‘don’t you worry about any negative feedback you may or may not get’,” Showers recalled.
"You keep smiling. That is the key to my success. The smile trumps hate,” Showers said.
"Mel fought bigotry with grace and quiet dignity,” said Chris Best, WKRG News 5 News Director.
"Even with his prominent place in Alabama broadcasting history secured; Mel remains a quiet, humble gentleman who prefers to put the spotlight on those around him. "
A Mobile native, Showers started his 50th year at WKRG-TV last month. During his career, he has received numerous awards for his volunteer work with local civic groups, voted "Best Anchor” numerous times by local newspapers and magazines, earned multiple awards from the Associated Press, and was recipient of the Mobile Press Club "John Harris Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 2015, Showers was inducted into the Alabama Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
WKRG is running tributes to Mel’s accomplishments and stories from his career on air, on the station’s social media, and online at www.wkrg.com.
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