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Melissa Riopka is an Alabama native with strong ties to the Tennessee Valley. A graduate of Cullman High School, she received her broadcasting degree from the University of Alabama.

From there, she traveled (slightly) north to Tennessee. After a great eight years as a reporter/anchor in Chattanooga, Melissa went to work at a Birmingham television station.

In 2010, it was time for another move following her husband’s job transfer. Now she and her family are happy to call Huntsville home.

Melissa currently anchors WHNT News 19 at 5 with Greg Screws and WHNT News 19 at 6:30 with Jerry Hayes.

When she’s not at work, you can usually find Melissa outside with her family, enjoying the hiking trails around Monte Sano or the waters of Lake Guntersville.

You can reach Melissa on Twitter @MelissaRiopka or at melissa.riopka@whnt.com


Recent Articles
  • “Hairspray” Coming to Lee High School Main Stage Theatre

    Huntsville, Ala. – Lyrique Music Productions is bringing the Broadway musical “Hairspray” to the Lee High School Mainstage Theatre. Set in 1960s Baltimore, “Hairspray” tells the story of a young girl who achieves her dream of performing on a TV dance show and works to integrate the show. This production involves 60 cast members, mostly local high school and college students. It will run July 21-23 and July 26-30. Click here for show times and tickets.

  • Do you recognize this little boy?

    GREECE, NY – Forty-one years have passed since the discovery that rocked the small town of Greece, New York, just west of Rochester. In the basement of an apartment complex, a blue metal storage trunk was found to contain the skeletal remains of a small child. The child was still wearing a long-sleeved, light blue pajama top with the design of a deer over the heart.  Also on the remains – a plastic diaper, fastened with two stainless steel diaper […]

  • Sophie B. Hawkins to headline benefit concert Friday at VBC Playhouse

    Huntsville, Ala. – Looking for something to do this Friday? There are plenty of options around the Tennessee Valley, but only one where you can hear a legendary singer-songwriter and help save the lives of thousands of animals. On Friday, June 16th, Sophie B. Hawkins will perform at a benefit concert for Felines & Canines Rescue Center. Hawkins, a Grammy-nominee, shot to stardom in the early 90’s with “Damn, I Wish I was Your Lover.” Twenty-five years and six albums […]

  • Honoring the 2017 winners of the Morris, King & Hodge driver safety scholarship program

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Friday morning, WHNT News 19 welcomed some very special guests to the station. Michael McMeen, Bethaney Jackson and Tyler Behrens are the 2017 winners of the driver safety scholarship program from Morris, King & Hodge – our partners in the Distracted Driving Project. Michael McMeen is a senior at Grissom High School, planning to study applied mathematics at Auburn University. He used his interest in mathematics to do research for his essay, which he titled Driving Blind. […]

  • Carrying the torch for Alabama’s Special Olympics

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Law enforcement officers from across the Madison County area are among those taking part in the annual torch run for the Alabama Special Olympics. Hosted by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the local effort involves a few dozen officers, many of them giving their own time to the event. They started their run at 7:30 a.m. Thursday around the Madison County Courthouse. From there, the journey took them to the Morgan County Courthouse and then to Jefferson County. […]

  • Creative undercover operation to catch distracted drivers in the act

      FLORENCE, Ala. – It was an unusually cold spring morning when we arrived at the Florence Police Department’s Motor Unit for a unique operation. But the weather worked in police favor, as Officer Alan Hooper bundled up in a bulky coat and cap, getting ready for his undercover role. Officer Hooper would pose as a panhandle at a major intersection on Cox Creek Parkway. When he spotted someone breaking Alabama’s distracted driving law, he would radio ahead to Officer Daniel Haynes. Officer Haynes would then […]

  • Community comes together to honor beloved Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department mascot Squirt

    LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – If every dog has his day, this was Squirt’s. Squirt was “a dog that was more like a friend to many of us.” For 14-years, he served as mascot for the Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department. Until finally, one day this March, his big heart finally gave out. On Saturday, May 6, the town proclaimed “Squirt Day” in honor and appreciation of his service. His years of visiting school children, the elderly and sick. Squirt had a nose for […]

  • Here comes the… Bride’s Cake

    Blue Bell is hoping customers will say, “I do,” to the company’s newest flavor. Bride’s Cake Ice Cream is an almond ice cream with pieces of white cake and a swirl of amaretto cream cheese icing. According to company representatives, they’ve heard from couples who serve ice cream at their receptions in place of the traditional cake. As Jenny Van Dorf, Blue Bell’s public relations manager, puts it, “now you can have both.” Along with the limited-edition Bride’s Cake, Blue […]

  • UNA raising awareness about suicide prevention with “Send Silence Packing” exhibit

    FLORENCE, Ala. – More than a thousand backpacks lay scattered across the lawn in front of the University of North Alabama’s Memorial Amphitheater, Thursday. They were not discarded by students. Rather, each was reverently placed to represent the 1,100 college students who commit suicide annually. “That’s really, really impactful to think of each backpack as a person,” says Dani Lukens. Lukens is the outreach coordinator for the “Send Silence Packing” exhibit, an initiative of the non-profit national organization Active Minds. Active […]

  • A Mother’s Loss: Talking About the Hard Stuff

    No matter how pulled together we may look on the outside. No matter how strong we may be. We all have “stuff.” Painful experiences, memories that rise unbidden, bringing an ache to our hearts. For many women, myself included, that heartache includes pregnancy loss. But because miscarriage is not something often talked about, comfort was hard to find. I felt trapped by grief. Unsure how — or even if — to bring it up. Would it make close friends and […]

  • A Mother’s Loss: Talking About the Hard Stuff

    No matter how pulled together we may look on the outside. No matter how strong we may be. We all have “stuff.” Painful experiences, memories that rise unbidden, bringing an ache to our hearts. I recently read a devotion that referenced the Greek philosopher Plato who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The devotion was about comfort. For many women, myself included, that battle Plato spoke of has included pregnancy loss. But because miscarriage is […]

  • Red Bay teenager killed in crash

    The Mississippi Highway Patrol is still investigating a four-vehicle crash in Tishomingo County that claimed the life of an Alabama teen. Troopers responded to MS Highway 366, near Golden, around 2 p.m. Monday. Authorities say it appears 17-year-old Bradley Wilemon of Red Bay was headed west in his 2002 Ford Mustang when he attempted to pass two vehicles. While he was trying to overtake them, troopers say he collided head-on with an eastbound pick-up truck. The truck was also being driven […]