MIAMI COUNTY — Like many little boys, Allen Henry wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. However, his make-believe playing hinted that he might be headed toward a different occupation.
“My mom likes to tell the story of how I would take a curtain rod and pretend to be Bob Barker hosting ‘The Price is Right,” the 30-year-old Troy native said. “I always loved TV and media in general.”
Eventually, Henry put away his curtain rod, graduating to a Little Tikes microphone, but it wasn’t until he did theater during his freshman year at Troy High School that he discovered his voice — literally.
“My sophomore year, my homeroom teacher talked about me using my theater skills to do homeroom announcements, so I started doing broadcast news at the high school,” Henry said. “Everybody thought it was great; they told me I had a broadcaster’s voice.”
Fast-forward a decade or so and area residents can now see and hear Henry using that voice on WRGT (Fox 45)/WKEF (ABC 22), where he’s been a news reporter since July.
After graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University — “some of the best times of my life” — with a degree in communications with a concentration in news information gathering, Henry worked at stations in Alabama — first in Auburn covering football, which he calls “a good transition because I’d just come from a college town,” then the state capital, Montgomery, where he gained invaluable experience covering local, state and national stories.
From there, he moved on to New Orleans, but after about a year, he longed to be closer to home. “I worked in some great cities, but I’m not from the South. I wanted to be closer to my family, closer to home and what I was familiar with,” he said.
“There’s something about Miami County that draws people back. It’s hard to put your finger on; it’s just a feeling you get when you’re here. Driving on 25-A, seeing cornfields, the covered bridge … I don’t know if was nostalgia or what.”
Trading gators and swamps for deer and the Great Miami brought Henry in close proximity to his mother, two siblings and extended family, most of whom live within 25 miles of Troy, he said.
While home base gives him a stable foundation where he enjoys socializing, bike reading and watching movies on his long Netflix list — “my friends give me grief because I haven’t seen ‘The Godfather’ yet” — Henry’s work provides an ever-changing environment he finds enjoyable and exciting.
“I love doing something new every day; I’m just not the type of person who does same thing every day. I’m one of those naturally curious people. The questions I want to know are the questions I hope the viewers want to know, too,” he said.
Laughing, Henry added, “I have a desk at work, but I haven’t done anything with it yet, haven’t put anything on it because I like to be out and about doing something!”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest or (937) 451-3341