MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — When you’ve been someplace for 50 years, you’ve no doubt worked with a lot of people. And all of Mel Showers’ co-workers, past and present, have nothing but good things to say about him as he approaches retirement his week.
Mel is especially fond of the morning news team he worked with from 1981 to 1990, with co-anchor Drexel Gilbert, and Scott Hunter with sports.
“Oh my goodness, Scott. You wouldn’t believe what a fun time we had with Scott,” Mel recalled. “You name it, he would joke about it. He would let me have it.”
Hunter, who left WKRG-TV in 1999, was new to the business when he began working with Mel in 1981.
“Of course they were professionals and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Hunter said. “I looked forward to showing up every day because it was just fun to do that show.”
Mel says while he and Drexel were an “anchor team,” she was actually in Pensacola and he was in Mobile.
“We had split boxes,” he said. “And we were acting like we were right next to each other.”
WKRG’s Morning Newscenter 5 was the first morning news in the Mobile-Pensacola market and was a huge success. Mel says he knows why.
“We had so much fun,” Mel said. “The viewers let us know they didn’t want that serious approach to news in the morning. We started with that and got zero ratings. We’d come on and say ‘here’s the news and it’s not good.’ They didn’t want that. They wanted to see some smiles on their faces while they are getting ready for work.they wanted to have some fun. That worked. That skyrocketed our morning effort and was unbelievable.”
The morning show success led management to move Mel to evenings in 1990 where he teamed with Kellie Jones.
“Kellie was my first nightside co-anchor and very, very talented – an extreme talent,” Mel said
“It was always a joy because Mel is the most friendly and easiest person to talk to,” said Jones, now a behind the scenes news producer at WALA-TV. “He just radiates well being and goodness. And people watching him on the air, they feel that too.
Chris Hall (briefly) followed Kellie Jones, and then Kathy King. Devon Walsh teamed with Mel beginning in 2000. When she moved to Birmingham in 2002, Rose Ann Haven was selected, following a nationwide search, to join Mel.
“They brought in about 10 people,” Mel recalled. “Rose Ann was the last one. She stood out. And I said ‘that’s the one right there.’ But it wasn’t my decision to make. But management and the consultants had already decided she was the one. And I agreed with them – she was the one!”
Since 2002, Mel, Rose Ann, Meteorologist Alan Sealls, and sportscaster Randy Patrick have formed the evening news team.
“They are wonderful people,” said Mel. “They are so easy to work with and work for. They are so supportive. I’ve been with Randy now for 35 years. Rose Ann for 17. Alan for more than that. And it is such a good group.”
Mel’s last regularly scheduled newscasts will be Wednesday, May 22.