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Collected wisdom: Robert Allen, Oklahoma State sideline reporter

Oklahoma State sideline reporter is strongly attached to Cowboys' program.
by John Helsley Published: November 3, 2012

OSU sideline reporter

Age: 52

Hometown: Edmond

Perhaps no media member has been more strongly attached to Oklahoma State than Robert Allen.

An OSU grad, Allen currently speaks to Cowboys fans through many avenues — print, online, Stillwater talk radio and as the sideline voice of the Cowboy Radio network. He teamed with OSU coach Mike Gundy on a book chronicling the 2011 season, “More Than A Championship: The 2011 Oklahoma State Cowboys.”

Allen met his wife, Lynne, at OSU. His son Zach played football for the Cowboys, and this year his daughter Katy was one of five finalists for homecoming queen.

And when Allen calls himself an OSU homer, he says it with pride.

I had a good home, a mom and dad who were supportive. But my influence in this state were my aunt and uncle, Billie Jean Ward and Bill Ward. I used to come up and spend summers with them. That's kind of where I got that affinity for Oklahoma State.

I'd go over and just walk around Gallagher, Gallagher Hall at the time, and would hang out around the locker room and ended up meeting football players. I was just a junior high kid. And it was like I almost got to hang out with them.

I pretty much knew I wasn't going to be a professional athlete or anything like that, but was one of those guys coaches liked, because I tried hard and I liked to practice.

It was probably in high school, and college for sure, that I first started thinking about sports media. I wanted to stay in sports.

I walked on at OSU and played for one year. Tough. It's painful to find out that you aren't as good as you are in your own mind. Not even close.

I never went to Padre or on a spring break trip. My last spring break, I barnstormed Texas, walking into TV stations and corralling news directors to look at my tape.

I was there for a year and I got a call from Bob Barry to come home (to Channel 4).

Those were real happy years at Channel 4. Bob Jr. in the sports department, it was like family.

I covered OU. I covered OU basketball. Inside, Bobby and I would have monster debates. He went to OU.

I remember when I left Channel 4 to go to Remington Park, I could do whatever I wanted on my own, so I realigned and said, “OSU's my thing.”

When I got back into it, I made a conscious decision that I was going to be a homer. That term may be derogatory for a lot of people, but it's not for me. When I came back into the business through radio, I said, “OSU doesn't have a voice out there.” And there were plenty of OU guys.

I went to WWLS. They wanted to do some OSU stuff. I liked it, I learned that I liked radio. I had fun with it. And because I was one of the few OSU people, I had callers, because OSU people were starving for someone willing to listen to them.

When the station sold, I got left high and dry. That was a good time in my life, in that I said, “I'm going to fight.” I went to Stillwater and got on radio and have been there ever since.

I would say I have a lot of listeners who I know only through the radio relationship. Would I call them friends? Absolutely. I have some I've never seen in person that I would call friends, because I enjoy talking to them.

There's a guy named T-Town who calls. He knows how to push my buttons and I know how to push his. I've never seen him, but if I did, we're friends.

Sometimes, I have people in my own family, believe it or not, say, “You're awful quiet.” I say, “I've been talking on the radio.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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