He was a pioneering figure in radio that courted fame and fortune yet demanded a personal life. To be sure, for more than 25 years in Metro Detroit, millions went to bed with him each night yet virtually no one ever saw his face. Everyone, however, knew his voice. Alan Almond, king of the nighttime and best known for his “Pillow Talk” program on WNIC, passed away this week at 67. He was truly one of a kind.
His career started in the 1970s and would continue into the 90s, largely with WNIC but also with stops at a pre-WCSX WMJC, WOMC, WMXD, WXYT-AM and WJZZ. His dulcet-toned delivery was ideal for nights and a love-song format, which he conceptualized and implemented to incredible success. Where today radio after-dark is dominated by teenyboppers and programming aimed at that demographic, Almond generated #1 ratings via an adult, mostly female audience who eagerly consumed a steady diet of love songs, dedications and ruminations on life and love.
And his voice. Like audio from God himself reverberating from the ether, slowly, deliberately and, to his audience, sensually. If radio is at its best as theater of the mind, Almond was a Tony-worthy actor, affecting for his listeners a radiowave landscape of dinner by candlelight and walks along the beach.
So key to his success, of course, was the mystique surrounding what Alan Almond actually looked like. While desirous of out-of-studio privacy, Almond was also a master marketer and brand imager – understanding the value of never showing his face to ensure his fans forever maintained their own mental and emotional image and perception of who and what he was. One of a kind, yet a man of a million faces, his voice and legacy will live on as we remember and treasure.