Last night, memories of the life and career of Allan Loudell began to stream in via Facebook.Allen would have been amused or perhaps perplexed. Social media wasn’t Loudell’s thing. Allan was all about radio.
Yesterday, we learned that Loudell had passed away at 64.
As his WDEL biography noted, Allan got his start on the airwaves at 13 and never looked back. He was around for a number of earth-shaking events including reporting the death of Elvis Presley while working in the king’s hometown of Memphis
Loudell grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from the University of Illinois.
He possessed a vast knowledge of the fascinating political environment in the Land of Lincoln, two mayor Daleys and Barack Obama.
After arriving in 1987, Allan hit the ground running and found a home at WILM, a feisty AM radio station with a large news department and a loyal audience of city dwellers, suburbanites, and community leaders.
Loudell added a unique touch to WILM with a news show that featured calls with state, national, and international figures.Allan put his many interests that ranged from nature studies to flags of the world in a daily trivia contest that would have challenged some Jeopardy contestants.
A guest from time to time was U.S. Sen. and later Vice President Joe Biden. Both Biden and Loudell were foreign policy wonks and sometimes matched wits on developments in faraway places.
Allan’s Rolodex must have been packed. One of his frequent guests was a journalist who covered the Catholic Church. Another Mideast observer checked in “from his outpost in Cyprus.” One name that comes to mind is Sebastian Gorka, who briefly surfaced as an advisor in the Trump administration. Loudell checked in with Gorka from time to time to get his hardline views on terrorism.
I paid special attention to frequent conversations between Loudell and Rich Heffron, a lobbyist for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce who later went on to become its president. Heffron outlined issues facing the business community and the state, with Loudell asking probing questions.
I crossed paths with Loudell in the 1990s when Allan called and asked me if I would do a one-minute business report for our new start-up business journal. At the time, WILM was having trouble finding a business reporter.
The daily Business Ledgerreport offered a daily reminder of a publication that only came out once a month.The report lasted for nearly a decade if memory serves.
We would bump into each other for time to time over the years and talk about the evolving local media scene.
A while back, Allan called up out of the blue to let me know that he was taking a break from WDEL to deal with a health issue. He remained upbeat about the future despite the daunting challenges he faced.
In March, we would learn he had been let go from WDEL as the station’s. new owners struggled with an advertising downturn related to Covid-19. Sadly, Allan was not on hand to provide his insights and perspective. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.