It's been nearly six years since Al Allen, beloved Fox 2 News reporter, signed off from the airwaves while simultaneously celebrating 28 years covering news in and around Detroit. His trademark cap and nice-guy demeanor became one of the memorable images viewers associated with him since 1984. Allen has managed to translate this innate quality into his new memoir, We're Standing By. Told in short declarative sentences, the memoir might be filled with biographical data, photographs and anecdotes, but it's not your typical autobiography because Allen designed it to read like a TV news report script (each chapter closes with "Sound Bites"). "A year or so ago, it hit me: people remember me now, but will they remember me down the road? Perhaps I should start writing something," Allen says, recalling that his main ambition was being out there in the streets, covering stories, not writing books.
The Arkansas native came to Detroit in the early '70s working at WJLB as an anchor/reporter and covered important stories and topics such as the Livernois riot of 1975, black alcoholism, black-on-black crime, and so many others, but even with his impressive collection of accolades, one thing seems to stick out for many of his fans – the weather. "Out of all the stories I've covered – there's been thousands, I covered – they only remember one," Allen says. "Being out there on the overpass in the snowstorm. That's the one people remember. 'Oh, I felt so sorry for you in that cold and snow.' Everything else? 'No, I don't remember that story. I remember seeing you in that cold.'" He might not miss reporting on snowstorms, but there's definitely a place in his heart for the city. "Detroit is one of the greatest news towns in America," he says, "because you have all the ingredients – the government, the manufacturing, health, education and so forth. You've got everything you need to do a newscast, or write a story in the newspaper or magazine, it's right here."
We're Standing By is available on Amazon.