Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Allison, Bob

On February 5, 1962, Detroit media personality Bob Allison launched a daily radio show on WWJ-AM that consisted mainly of housewives calling in to share recipes and helpful tips with each other.  Today, more than 45 years later, Allison and his “Ask Your Neighbor” program are still going strong and can be heard from 9-11 a.m., Mondays-Fridays, on Detroit’s WNZK-AM (690).

By the 1960s, Allison, (whose real last name, Allesee, was changed for ease of audience pronunciation) was a local celebrity.  In addition to his work in radio, on TV he was the Twin Pines Dairy milkman on the “Milky’s Party Time” kids’ show and was host of the popular series “Bowling for Dollars.”  

His light, conversational radio program developed such a following that it continued even after WWJ converted to an all-news format in 1978. “Our dedicated advertisers wanted the show to continue,” he explains on the show’s Web site, www.askyourneighbor.com, “so we decided to buy air time at another station and sell the commercials ourselves.”

Now assisted by his son, Rob, who acts as co-host and producer, Allison and his weekday broadcast have changed little from their early days when listeners called in for long, leisurely minutes to describe a favorite recipe or reveal a housecleaning secret.  His show is credited with helping to launch the broadcast careers of modern home improvement hosts Glenn Haege, Jerry Baker and Murray Gula, and is now heard across North America and overseas via the World Wide Web.

Allison and his wife, Maggie, have become known in recent years as two of Metro Detroit’s most ardent philanthropists, committing time and millions of dollars to universities, health care organizations, arts groups and other worthwhile causes throughout the region.