A veteran television host, social media influencer, and author, Shannon LaNier has been keeping audiences tuned in his entire life
What inspired you to become a Journalist/Anchor?
I don’t think one defining thing inspired me to become a journalist. However, it’s always been in my blood as an inquisitive kid running around with a video camera making home videos. Even as a little kid, my parents say, I’ve always been the type of person to find his way to the mic or the stage and put on a show or create a skit. I guess these skills have translated into a career and social media following.
It seems like you are always going viral on TikTok under @MrShannonLanier.
How did you come up with your viral News Anchor Dad character on TikTok?
At first, I was reluctant to get on yet another platform, but my CW39 co-workers Hanna & Maria convinced me to. I kept trying different things and was getting burned out. Then I decided to do something that was more organic to my lifestyle, something I could do that didn’t seem like work. That was simply combining my two loves… my family and career and News Anchor Dad was born. As a news anchor, I usually must report on sad stuff so for my social media, I just like to have fun and make people laugh because the world needs more laughter and happiness. When the second News Anchor Dad video I posted and went viral with a few hundred thousand views I knew I was on to something big. Now, I think my most popular video has almost 16 million views and counting. So all my social media energy is mainly going to TikTok. So come to my page and have a laugh as I navigate the hilarious world of parenting. Don’t worry, it is family friendly.
What are some important assets needed to be successful?
In order to be successful, you have to be hungry, dedicated and passionate. No, I don’t mean hungry for food. I mean you must be hungry for success, hungry for the next opportunity and hungry to be the best you can be. If you are not hungry it’s hard to be dedicated and if you aren’t dedicated, you will not be willing to put in long hours, sometimes free work and keep going even when you want to give up. Not giving up comes from the passion that burns inside to do what you love. I know I’m meant to be a journalist, host, entertainer because I love doing it. Even if I’m not getting paid or watched by a million people, I’d still be in this industry because I breathe it, eat it and love it!
What are some of the things you look for before committing to a new contract?
Well, if I knew the answer to this question, I probably wouldn’t have worked for my last company (Black News Channel) that just shut down and went bankrupt. Despite that unfortunate turn of events, I wouldn’t change a thing because two of the things I look for when accepting a job is an opportunity to grow my skills, be seen by a larger audience and of course, the salary. I love how people say don’t focus on the money, knowing they do. Shoot, I have 20/20 vision and great peripheral sight so iI can focus on the money and the opportunity at the same time. I have a wife and three kids to provide for, so I can’t work for free anymore… unless I also have a full-time job.
Since your closure of the Black News Channel, what have you been doing?
Since BNC closed, I’ve still been very busy. I’ve remodeled my home in preparation to sell it. I’ve been spending time with my kids making TikToks @MrShannonLanier and I’ve been freelancing as an anchor for Cheddar News on the show Opening Bell from 9am-11am ET.
How do you maintain viability in such a competitive industry?
I stay visible in this industry because of the reasons I listed earlier: I’m hungry, dedicated, and passionate about what I love doing and I want to be successful at it. So I stay on my grind and continue recreating myself. For example, if you are not on television or don’t have a show- turn to social media and do it there. I’ve been able to grow my social media to over 400,000 people because it is another way to be creative and stay busy in the industry. I am a content creator. It doesn’t matter the platform. I’m still creating content and getting something to people that connects with their emotions. If you connect people will remember you more and follow you.
Where would you like for your career to be in the next five years?
The main goal I have for my career is really to continue doing what I love, while getting paid and not jeopardizing my work life balance. I think sometimes we focus too much on work and not our families. It’s important that you are more than your job. It’s important that I spend time with my kids, and they know me for more than just a financial provider. Yes, working on a network morning show would be amazing but I don’t need it to feel successful. Being a dedicated and loved family man gives me all the success I need.
Shannon is currently a freelance television news anchor with Cheddar News. He also recently anchored for the nationally syndicated network BNC (Black News Channel) and coanchored the CW39’s Morning Show in Houston, TX. This enthusiastic father of 3, continues to go viral as @MrShannonLanier on TikTok with his family antics seen by over 300,000 combined social followers. If you’re not on TV or social, catch Shannon’s critically acclaimed podcast, “Daddy Duty 365” which features celebrity dads revealing the good, the bad and the funny of fatherhood.
Previously, Shannon hosted “Arise Entertainment 360,” a daily culture and entertainment series that aired on BET’s sister station, Centric, and on cable providers globally. He is also known for his work as a correspondent and senior producer on Black Enterprise Magazine’s nationally-syndicated shows: “Black Enterprise Business Report” & “Our World With Black Enterprise.”
As a teenager in Cincinnati, Shannon got his first television job on “Real Exchange,” an Emmy Award winning talk show focusing on issues important to young people. After graduating from Kent State University, he made his New York City debut as a segment producer for the CBS2 Morning Show. But he didn’t waste any time getting in front of the camera. His next job saw him take on the multi-media journalist (One-Man-Band) role as a writer, director, editor, videographer, and reporter at News 12 Networks. Soon thereafter, he took a similarly comprehensive role at Fios1 News, where he returned six years later in 2017, to anchor their weekend morning show.
Shannon is also a writer, having co-authored the Random House Inc. book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family along with photojournalist Jane Feldman. The book follows his journey to uncover the history behind his heritage as a 9th generation direct descendent of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.
Additionally, Shannon has inspired audiences across the globe with captivating speaking engagements that touch on everything from his presidential lineage and Genealogy/Family Research to racial equality and his career in media. At the end of the Obama administration, Shannon participated in the White House’s My Brothers Keep initiative and the National Entrepreneurship Tour, bringing his signature brand of motivational humor to audiences around the country.
Gifted with undeniable charisma and an energy that electrifies the stage, Shannon truly comes alive in the spotlight. Whether he’s hosting a TV show, speaking to a packed auditorium, or emceeing a live event—this is one Renaissance man who can’t help but draw a crowd. A former executive at CBS said it best: “Once Shannon’s “on,” the audience is glued. He’s born to be a star.” Despite his full schedule, Shannon remains an active member of his church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists. He currently lives between FL & NYC with his wife/college sweetheart Chandra and their three Little LaNiers… Madison, McKenzie and Carter.