Shamonee Baker named ‘News 5 This Morning’ anchor

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — WKRG-TV viewers will soon see a familiar face in the anchor chair during “News 5 This Morning:” Shamonee Baker.

WKRG-TV News Director Gene Kirkconnell announced Baker’s new role Friday afternoon during a News 5 editorial meeting, prompting applause from managers, anchors, reporters and production staff.

Shamonee Baker, sitting behind a news desk in the fourth grade.
Shamonee Baker had known she wanted to become a journalist since the fourth grade when she first sat behind a TV news desk.

‘It’s a full circle, surreal moment’

Baker’s journey at News 5 began on June 13, 2022, when the 2022 Florida A&M University graduate joined the team as a dayside reporter.

Two months later, she joined the morning show as a reporter. And, as often happens in local news with ever-changing shifts, she moved back to dayside after six months.

Baker first anchored at News 5 on Oct. 16, 2022, when she filled in for Chad Petri on the morning show — it was a peak, at that point, for the Fort Walton Beach, Florida, native, whose lifelong dream was to become a journalist.

She became the weekend evening anchor/nightside reporter the first weekend in June 2023 and has served in that role, providing the Gulf Coast coverage you can count on, ever since.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Baker said. “I started my career as the morning reporter, and now I’m joining the News 5 morning team again, but this time, as an anchor.

“It’s a full-circle, surreal moment, and I thank God for the opportunity.”

Shamonee Baker (WKRG)
Shamonee Baker is a natural in front of the camera, coworkers say. (WKRG)

‘We couldn’t ask for a better person’

Baker’s final time to anchor the weekend evening news was the 10 p.m. show on Sunday, Jan. 14. She will join the “News 5 This Morning” team on Jan. 22 in the anchor chair formerly occupied by long-time anchor Jessica Taloney.

“Shamonee has come a long way in a short period of time,” WKRG Vice President and General Manager Jesse Grear said. “She’s a pleasure to be around, and our viewers love her. We couldn’t ask for a better person to join the morning team!”

Kirkconnell called Baker a “tenacious journalist, a wonderful teammate, and just plain fun to be around.” Viewers, he said, “are going to have a blast spending time with her and the rest of our morning team every day.”

Taloney, who retired from the chair to spend more time with her family, enthusiastically gave her seal of approval.

“Our viewers are going to love waking up with Shamonee,” Taloney said. “She is absolutely delightful and the perfect addition to News 5 This Morning.”

Bouquet of flowers, from Rose Ann Haven and Devon Walsh to Shamonee Baker
Long-time News 5 anchors Devon Walsh and Rose Ann Haven gave fresh flowers to Shamonee Baker after learning about her elevation to morning news anchor.

‘She has that perfect spark’

Long-time News 5 anchors Rose Ann Haven and Devon Walsh welcomed Baker to the world of weekday anchoring with a bouquet of fresh flowers.

“I am so happy for Shamonee,” Walsh said. “She has that perfect spark to wake up viewers in the morning. Everyone will fall in love with her charm! She will be the perfect addition to the morning show team!”

Long-time anchor Peter Albrecht agreed.

“Shamonee is so natural on air and has such a pleasant personality,” he said. “She will be a great fit with the morning crew!”

Haven called Baker a “strong communicator and a passionate journalist,” adding, “She’s a delight to work with behind the scenes and on air.

“I’m excited our viewers will have more opportunities to better know her and the chemistry of our WKRG family!”

Reporter Shamonee Baker and Traffic Anchor Akievia McFarland pose for a selfie on set.
Shamonee Baker and Traffic Anchor Akievia McFarland pose for a selfie on set.

‘She cares deeply about her work’

The newsroom’s camaraderie and “family” feel that Haven referenced were palpable Friday as congratulations poured in for Baker.

“Shamonee is talented, smart, and funny,” Meteorologist John Nodar said. “She cares deeply about her work and about our Gulf Coast community. She’ll be a perfect fit with the ‘News 5 This Morning’ team!”

Traffic Anchor Akievia McFarland called Baker “a natural star, an incredible journalist, and my dear friend!

“I am so excited she will be rejoining the morning team in her new role! I know she’ll be great and add even more fun to our great show!”

Meteorologist Caroline Carithers said Baker is “born with tons of raw talent,” adding, “She is an absolute professional and is a joy to work with. We are SO excited to have her back on the morning team!”

But returning to the morning show means saying goodbye to the weekend shows, which is bittersweet for Meteorologist Grant Skinner, her former co-anchor.

Baker “is one of the most hardworking and driven individuals, and it has been an absolute joy to be coanchor with her over the past several months,” Skinner said.

“It will be hard to not have her on the weekends, but I’m so excited to see all the amazing things she will do in this new role! We will find time for more TikTok dances!”

Reporter Shamonee Baker, 4 p.m. Broadcast Producer Brandon Harrison and Digital Producer Summer Poole pose for a picture on set.
Reporter Shamonee Baker, 4 p.m. Broadcast Producer Brandon Harrison and Multimedia Journalist Summer Poole pose for a picture on set.

‘Shamonee is just the perfect fit’

Multimedia Journalist Whitney Leibold said she’s glad to see Baker’s rise at the station.

“I cannot believe two years ago, we both walked into our very first day together, and you are now our morning anchor!” Leibold said. “You deserve this so much, and I’m so excited for you, sister!”

News 5 team members behind the scenes also praised Baker’s talent and achievements.

“Shamonee is just the perfect fit for the morning show!” Producer Liv George said. “I still remember us working on mornings together and just feeling like she ‘fit in’ with the crew so well; it’s so amazing to hear she’s joining them full-time!

George also joined the News 5 team at the same time as Baker and said, “Watching her star rise in our viewing area is nothing short of inspiring … Such an honor to know her as a coworker, an anchor, and a friend.”

Digital Content Producer Pat O’Donnell agreed.

“There is not a more deserving person for this position than Shamonee Baker,” O’Donnell said. “Since starting here, Shamonee is someone who I’ve gotten to know quite well on the nightside shift, and she is someone who puts 110% effort into everything she does. She brings her A-game every single day while also bringing comedic relief to the newsroom.

“Our morning show viewers may not be used to her yet, but they will absolutely love her in due time!”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WKRG News 5.