Allen spent his high school years at a seminary training to be a priest. Now, he’s serving people in a different way. He co-anchors the 6p weeknight newscasts and files special reports across all KPIX 5 platforms.
Martin exposed the Central Valley’s version of the Flint, Michigan water crisis when he discovered arsenic flowing through Kettleman City’s drinking water. He revealed poachers butchering Northern California’s majestic redwoods for profit. And, he uncovered a loophole in California’s assault rifle ban. His series of reports on the bullet button prompted California to introduce several gun control measures.
Allen started in broadcasting when, as a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, he produced a radio talk show for KLOS. In his senior year he took a job as a disc jockey in Sacramento – flying up on the weekends to work and back for school during the week.
After graduating, he worked in radio news in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
In 1983, he moved to Atlanta for a job at a news talk radio station. Allen was hired at CNN’s Radio network before taking a TV writing job at CNN’s Headline News.
In 1986, he accepted his first on-air TV job in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
“I had to sling the ¾ inch recording deck over one shoulder, a camera over the other while wearing a battery belt around my waist,” he says. “I remember wearing penny loafers while covering one big flood. I literally walked out of my shoes. You learn the hard way and then you don’t make those mistakes again.”
After five years and promotions to assistant news director and main anchor, Allen returned to his native California to be a principal anchor at the Salinas NBC affiliate. He was there four years, co-anchoring with the popular Dina Ruiz, who was married to Clint Eastwood.
Just after the Oklahoma City bombing, Allen accepted the main anchor position at KFOR in Oklahoma City.
“The story that really stands out for me was the six-month anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the first terrorist attack on US soil,” he says. The truck bomb blast killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
When he asked his news director why he got the assignment, he was told his fresh perspective might enable him to tell a better story. Allen was the first reporter to enter the Murrah Federal Building after the crime scene was opened to the media.
In 1998 Allen returned to California and the Monterey Peninsula to anchor and be the assistant news director for the CBS/FOX affiliate stations.
Six years later, he made his way to the Bay Area and KPIX 5. He started as a South Bay reporter and subsequently anchored various newscasts.
Besides anchoring, Allen enjoys interviewing and was one of seven local reporters invited to the White House to interview President Obama. He also excels at live reporting and brought viewers live never-before-seen images of the Presidio Parkway a day before it opened using Skydrone 5.
When he’s not at the anchor desk, Allen profiles some of the Bay Area’s quiet heroes as part of the Jefferson Awards, a national program that honors public service across America.
“The Jefferson Award stories are about good people doing good things for a good reason,” he says. “It’s an uplifting counterbalance to some of the bad news we have to cover on a daily basis.”
In addition to his broadcast journalism work, Allen has taught “Media and Crisis Communication” for the Department of Homeland Security. He also sits on the board of directors of “Boyhood Shadows Project” a non-profit that helps male victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Allen has won multiple Emmy Awards for his anchoring and reporting at KPIX, along with honors from the Associated Press Television Radio Association as well as the Oklahoma and Arkansas Association of Broadcasters.”
He enjoys fly fishing, remodeling projects, cycling, and spending time with his family.
When Bay Area elementary schools started eliminating music programs decades ago, Carol Zilli decided to do something about it.
For nearly three decades, Wayne Marzolf has made sure young people get the opportunities offered by the Alameda Boys and Girls Club.
A family that survived the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa went to San Francisco for a break, but instead they got their family photos stolen.
Very few schools today give students a chance to take a woodworking class. But at one small school in the Bay Area, every eighth grader looks forward to the time when they can pick up a block of wood, and make something with their own two hands. It’s all thanks to this week’s Jefferson Award winners.
A community on the peninsula is remembering three teenage friends killed in a rollover crash on Skyline Boulevard in San Mateo County.
Unlike the federal government, California wants you to know that Covered California open enrollment has begun and rates remain affordable.
When her son was diagnosed with a disability, a Bay Area woman found a way not only to help her son, but also help many other children with disabilities.
The cleanup of areas ravaged by the North Bay wildfires is going to take much longer than some may think, due to a number of hazardous conditions crews are facing.
This week’s Jefferson Award winner runs a small non-profit that’s helping people who need just a little to make a big difference.
When a neighbor said she wanted to help chronically ill children who were stuck in the hospital, this week’s Jefferson Award winner jumped in to help. She’s not a doctor or nurse, but she found a way to use her own expertise to make a difference.