When it is all said and done, Al Allen will be regarded as a genuine voice of the community who tells a story without compromise and asks the questions that people in the community want answered. Fueled by his passion to be active in the world of broadcast journalism, Allen, in the 60s, began establishing his career and working toward building a foundation of success.
With a strong belief that education is where his foundation would begin, Allen studied at the Detroit College of Business and received an associate degree in business administration; he went on to study journalism at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he received a bachelor’s degree. He began his broadcasting career as a news director at KOKY radio in Little Rock, Arkansas. Ultimately, he moved backed to Detroit where he worked as a reporter and news director at WCXI-AM and WGPR-FM, and as news and public affairs director at WJLB-FM. In March of 1984, Allen began reporting for WJBK Fox 2 News and even after 28 years of service, he is still motivated by reporting breaking news stories. He says, “The adrenaline is still flowing.” Allen is consistent in taking a genuine approach in all that he does which has had significant impact on who he is as a reporter. He has seen the scope of media change over the course of his career; however, he has exhibited an unwavering devotion to sincerely reporting stories that are meaningful, informative and useful in guiding the Detroit community in the right direction. He prides himself with being able to use limited information to pull together a story that is relatable, interesting and news worthy. Allen explains, “You control the story, don’t let the story control you.”
Allen has diligently worked to build credibility as a journalist; he makes it a priority to be visible in the community by fulfilling requests to speak at engagements, being in attendance at community events, and making himself available for the people in Metro Detroit. “I am lucky to have been able to remain and work in the same community for all these years. With broadcast journalism, you become a member of the families of the people in the community and I thank God that I have been able to do this job and do it well,” says Allen.
He has received recognition on both local and national levels for his work and dedication to the industry, which includes awards from United Press International, the Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. He also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his work on a documentary that examines the issues surrounding black-on-black crime in Detroit. Crime by Color, Black on Black investigated issues that influence an increase in crime rates in the black community inclusive of alcoholism, economic hardship, the lack of social education, the disparity between job availability for blacks versus other groups, and general trials and tribulations experienced by people of color.
Like most people, Allen does experience a minimal amount of regret about some decisions he’s made, namely, turning down a position with NBC that would have provided him national exposure or possibly led to him becoming a network correspondent; but make no mistake, he is completely satisfied in knowing that his work with Fox 2 News has resulted in developed abilities and strong character. Journalism has been Allen’s beginning, middle and will undoubtedly be his end. Allen uses the words of a colleague as incentive to continue reporting, “Your only as good as your last newscast and your last newscast wasn’t that good!”