SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - Al Allen was the iconic face and voice of FOX 2 News Mornings for nearly three decades years. He did it all, covering crime, corruption, celebrations and, of course, those early-morning snowstorms from frigid freeway overpasses.
"We're standing by!" Al said countless times into his microphone, telling producers back at the station that he and his cameraperson were ready to go on live. It's what he named his new book, a memoir about his time as a reporter.
You'll read about everything about his career - which spanned 50 years - from covering the Detroit 1975 riot and the funeral procession for Rosa Parks in Washington, to the time his mother fed him and the other news crews as they were waiting to report on the death of Coleman Young.
"She fixed omelettes; she fixed the toast; she fixed hash brown potatoes; and then she had my two sisters take the food over there. That's my mother!" he says.
In his book, he also tells us plenty of the sillier moments, like when a lady started pinching him "just to see if he was real."
"We are like a member of the family. We come into their livings rooms, wherever, and they feel like we are approachable. And most of the time we are! Except for when we're actually on camera," he laughs.
Al's been retired for five years now, and says he wanted to write this book "before they forget who I am." Obviously, we know to take that as jest because no one's forgetting who he is. He says he still gets stopped for autographs and selfies.
You can get Al's memoir on Amazon. He'll also be at a few book signings coming up in the metro area.
He'll be at Source Bookstore on Cass Avenue on August 12, Suite 105, from 4-6 p.m. and again at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library downtown on September 18 from 6-8 p.m.
Al was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and moved to Detroit as a teenager. He fell in love with journalism while reporting for his school's news. His 28-year career at FOX 2 began in March of 1984. His integrity earned him many awards, both locally and nationally. He celebrates 51 years of marriage to Alfreda Long, and enjoys spending time with his son, Andrew Long, Jr.; daughter-in-law, Yolanda; and his two grandsons, Andrew III and Evan.