Photo | Mel Showers
Although it came as little surprise, News 5 anchor Mel Showers’ retirement announcement last week was an emotional moment for the audience that has watched him for half a century.
WKRG had announced last week that Showers would have a special announcement during last Thursday’s 10 p.m. broadcast, and most assumed Mel would finally be leaving the anchor’s chair. Showers’ announcement was, in his usual understated style, to the point, yet powerful.
“I’m entering my 50th year here at WKRG. Thanks to you, it has been a very rewarding experience,” Showers told viewers.
He recounted covering harrowing events such as Hurricane Frederic in 1979 and two 100-year floods, but also the joys of welcoming Airbus to build jets in Mobile, as well as other signs of growth for his hometown. Showers, who is known for keeping his private life just that, also recalled the loss of his “precious daughter April” to cancer in January 2011, as well as the loss of his wife exactly a year later.
“Your kind condolences and words of support have helped,” he said.
Showers began his work with WKRG in 1969 as a part-timer, but moved to full-time in 1970 as a booth announcer, providing live station identification and reading live commercials. By 1974 he had become an on-air reporter. Among the major stories he covered were Hurricane Frederic in 1979 and the KKK lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile in 1981.
“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.”
By 1981, Showers was named co-anchor of Morning NewsCenter 5. In 1990, Showers was moved to the evenings, anchoring at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Since 2002, Showers has anchored those shows with Rose Ann Haven, along with meteorologist Alan Sealls and sportscaster Randy Patrick.
Showers is also a member of the Alabama Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2016.
WKRG said Showers will continue to work with the station as Anchor Emeritus, offering occasional special reports and providing his perspective on various events impacting the Gulf Coast.
Longtime WKRG anchor Peter Albrecht will now anchor the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.
We wish Mel a very happy retirement.
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