Mike’s been with WIAT 42 since 2005. He’s covered everything from the 2005 disappearance of Mountain Brook teen Natalee Holloway and the death of former President Gerald Ford to the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Since arriving at WIAT 42, Mike has produced in-depth investigative news pieces highlighting the state prison overpopulation crisis and the Alabama Sentencing Commission’s plan to overhaul the state’s criminal justice system, the controversy over strip mining near a waterway that supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people, and exposed the underground world of cockfighting in our state.
In May 2014 Mike received an award for Excellence in Reporting from Gov. Robert Bentley and State Rep. Juandalynn Givan for his investigative reporting and continuing coverage of the troubled cemetery George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens. On April 28th of 2014 Mike and photojournalist Marlon Price were providing live storm coverage from Graysville when a tornado struck the gas station where they were forced to take cover with sports anchor Patrick Claybon and sports producer/photojournalist Chris McCulley. Patrick and Chris had just arrived from covering the tornado threat in Walker County.
Mike and Marlon continued covering the tornado on live tv as it struck the business and the surrounding areas.
The EF-3 tornado blew a gas pump over onto one of the station vehicles.
Also in 2014 Mike, Kaitlin McCulley and Phillip Ohnemus were honored with a Green Eyeshade award for investigative reporting for their coverage of the electronic sign accident which killed a child and injured others at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Through investigative reporting Mike has exposed the widespread sale of voter information mainly without their consent- through misleading language on state voter registration forms.
He also brought the bizarre situation regarding Alabama’s complete lack of exotic pet laws to light, shortly before a high profile exotic animal breeder announced that a large non-native cat called a Serval had escaped into the community.
Mike also wrote, shot, and edited a series of stories called Survival 101. His investigation into how people respond to specific threats, and what experts say to do- took him behind the wheel of a car hydroplaning car- and made him the target of a highly trained, bristling Doberman Pinscher- without any special protective equipment and only the knowledge he gained, to pull him through.
He works tirelessly to find the heart of stories which are often clouded in complicated data and legal jargon, to put issues like the Jefferson County Sewer Bond debt refinancing crisis in perspective.
“My focus is the people of this community, be they in a public office, or on a public bench. Whether they are going for a world record, or going out of business. I believe that putting a spotlight on real concerns, on real people, in local neighborhoods, is the best way to explain the big stories which hog the headlines, but often don’t answer the questions everyday people would ask if they had the chance,” Mike McClanahan.
In his free time Mike enjoys spending time enjoying the outdoors, speaking at schools, and learning more about the community he serves.