Veteran reporter and anchor Allen Schauffler said farewell to KING 5 News Sunday and is headed off for a new adventure. It was announced Tuesday that Allen will be the first Seattle bureau reporter for the new Al Jazeera America network.
In the KING 5 Newsroom, the Schauffler soundtrack is unmistakable. Specifically, he’s a hunt-and-peck type on the computer.
“He has destroyed a few keyboards in his time,” said KING 5 Planning Manager Ed White.
“Boom, boom, boom. And, he can't type, so he only uses two fingers,” said reporter Linda Brill.
"This will be my great legacy at KING TV, is that I hit the keyboards a little hard,” said Allen.
Trust us, Allen. Your legacy is so much greater.
"When he goes to the field, people relate to him. They warm up to him and they tell him their stories like he was a member of their family,” said White.
A late broadcast bloomer, Allen spent his first seven years after college as a bartender before he got into the TV biz. He worked his way to KING 5 in 1992.
“I had a mustache, brown hair. It was awesome,” said Allen. "Thankfully, the mustache left pretty quickly. The brown hair -- the last five years have been brutal on it, it's just gone.”
Allen’s reporting has taken him across the globe.
"It's his versatility and the fact that he's fearless,” said White.
That fearlessness was on display as he reported from seven Olympic Games. Seventeen days without a day off. At least one of those days in Beijing lasted 22 hours. Four or five live shots per day.
"There's nothing harder in this job that I do at all, and nothing more rewarding,” said Allen.
"His coverage of the Olympics is just unparalleled,” said KING 5 Special Projects Executive Producer Peter O’Connell, who coordinates the Olympics coverage.
And Allen is hardly modest. He’s not afraid to throw on a swimsuit to try synchronized swimming with Tracy Ruiz-Conforto or duel in the pool with Nathan Adrian.
"He meets with the athletes that we cover, he develops relationships with them that last over the years and it shows up in his ability to get stories about them that nobody else can do,” said O’Connell.
Perhaps the most memorable Olympic moment came at the end of a long day of shooting in Athens, Greece in 2004. Allen and the KING 5 crew had shot several pieces outside famous Greek landmarks. They were segments the crew would not have the chance to do over.
But as Allen stood next to a small marina, he dropped the tape.
"And all Allen said was, 'Tape in the water,’” said O’Connell.
"The box popped open and that thing grew little bunny legs and hopped over the seawall,” said Allen.
Fortunately, the crew was able to recover the tape and rescue the footage.
Back in the newsroom, Allen is affectionately known as “Map Boy.”
"His mind is a globe. He knows where everything is geographically on the planet,” said Brill.
He also serves as KING 5’s unofficial chief of grammar police.
"You know, words are important. I mean, as you know as a writer, words count. And the very few words that we say during the course of a newscast to viewers, they count,” said Allen.
As Allen packs up his desk, he hands out some souvenirs to his colleagues. And, he braces for life without that soundtrack.
Silence never felt so unwelcome.
"Great professionals, great friends, um, I'll miss all of you,” said Allen. “And to all the viewers out there, to all the people I've bumped into on the street who say, 'Hello. Hey, Allen. How you doing?' It's been a great, great ride. It just couldn't have been any better.”
KING 5's Travis Pittman contributed to this report