BY ROB HOLBERT AND TOMMY HICKS
Even though he retired in 2019, former WKRG-TV anchor Mel Showers has still been getting recognition for his half-century in the news business.
Last month, Showers received the Gold Circle award from the Board of Governors of the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. They unanimously voted to bestow the award upon him. It recognizes broadcasters who have served in the field with distinction for more than five decades.
Showers is just the ninth broadcaster to win the award.
He received the Gold Circle during a Dec. 12 virtual presentation.
“I am extremely honored. I never imagined an honor such as this being bestowed on me. I thank God, but I am also disappointed that my wife, my mother and father, my daughter, April, and other relatives who have gone on are not here to share this moment with me,” Showers told WKRG.
— Rob Holbert
Thomas, Byars honored by NSMA
Mobile-area journalists Ben Thomas of AL.com and J.D. Byars of the University of South Alabama have been selected the Alabama Sportswriter of the Year and Alabama Sportscaster of the Year, respectively, by the National Sports Media Association (NSMA).
Each year NSMA honors the top sportswriter and sportscaster from each state, as well as selecting national winners in both categories and NSMA Hall of Fame winners in both categories.
Thomas has been a sportswriter for 31 years and currently handles prep sports coverage for AL.com statewide. He has been with AL.com/Mobile Press-Register for 12 years, the past seven covering prep sports. He spent three years as sports editor at the Montgomery Advertiser before joining the Press-Register. He has also worked in Marietta, Ga., and Gadsden. He was named the 2017 Bill Shelton Award winner by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, which honors a member of the organization who best upholds the standards of the profession as well as supporting other sports writers, their newspaper and the communities they serve.
Byars, who is in his 26th year of broadcasting and has been the play-by-play Voice of the South Alabama Jaguars for the past seven years, is a winner of the state NSMA award for the second time. He was also honored this year with an ABBY, symbolic of the Large Market Sportscaster of the Year by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. He was formerly the Voice of the University of North Alabama Lions and early in his career was a prep football play-by-play announcer in North Alabama. He played football at North Alabama in the early ’90s, serving as a placekicker.
All winners will be honored during the 61st NSMA Awards banquet June 26-28 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
— Tommy Hicks
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