Familiar face is changing channels in return to Columbia’s local TV news landscape

Longtime ABC Columbia news anchor Alicia Barnes will join WIS in May.
Longtime ABC Columbia news anchor Alicia Barnes will join WIS in May. Twitter Screen Grab

A longtime local news anchorwoman is returning to Columbia TV screens after a year away.

On May 20, Alicia Barnes will join WIS, the Midlands NBC affiliate, according to a news release from the station.

In her return, Barnes will be changing channels after spending 10 years at Columbia’s ABC affiliate, WOLO, The State reported.

“We are excited to welcome a journalist of Alicia’s caliber to WIS, and look forward to bringing her award-winning storytelling to our viewers,” WIS-TV Vice President and General Manager Lyle Schulze said in the news release.

Barnes confirmed her return to the airwaves in a Facebook post.

BREAKING NEWS...... I am going back to work and joining the #1 NEWS TEAM in Columbia, South Carolina WIS TV!” Barnes said in the post. “You have no idea how excited I am to join news GREATS at WIS!”

Barnes also has the details about her return in her Twitter profile.

In her new role, Barnes will serve as a “weekend evening anchor and reporter, and substitute weeknight anchor,” WIS spokesman Jim Hays said in the news release.

The Clemson alum joined WOLO in 2008, The State reported. Barnes won an EMMA Award for Excellence from the Southeastern Emmy Awards in 2016, according to the newspaper.

Before she left the ABC station, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin declared her final day — March 8, 2018 — “Alicia Barnes Day,” WOLO reported.

Before coming to Columbia, Barnes worked as a reporter in her hometown of Atlanta for the local NBC and FOX affiliates and for MSNBC and CNN, The State reported. She also worked in San Diego, where she was named the city’s “favorite female newscaster,” according to the news release.

“Alicia is an incredible journalist and a talented news anchor,” WIS-TV News Director Brad Hyatt said in the news release. “We are ecstatic to have her join the WIS family.”

Barnes and her husband, Jacob John, have two children and live in Lexington, according to the news release.

Columbia High School graduate and former WIS TV anchor from Columbia, SC, Craig Melvin, got promoted to one of the most watched shows in the country, the Today Show.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.