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“Talk of the Town” host leaves after 245 shows

POSTED: June 5, 2014 9:15 a.m.
Special photo/For the Barrow County News

“Talk of the Town” host Karen Allen, right, talks with Winder Fire chief Matt Whiting, left, and Winder city councilman Travis Singley during an episode of her show.

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After six and a half years and 245 episodes, Winder Television’s "Talk of the Town" community show has gone off the air. The last episode aired on Monday, May 26.

The show, which focused on individuals and organizations who impact the local community, has ended due to the relocation of show host and producer Karen Allen and her family to Macon, where Allen’s husband is beginning a new job as an assistant principal at a middle school.

Christopher Childs of Winder Television, who executive produced, directed and edited the show, said a show running for as long as "Talk of the Town" did is "unheard of these days."

"Talk of the Town" was awarded a National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors award for best talk show for four consecutive years, 2010-2013.

"As far as I know and judging by our success with the NATOA awards, ‘Talk of the Town’ has been one of the most successful shows of its kind nationally for some time," Childs said.

Allen began the show at the request of WTV six and a half years ago, when another community-focused show was leaving and the spot needed to be filled. At the time, Allen was co-hosting a home improvement show out of Gainesville. Marty McPherson, then the WTV station manager, wanted to highlight what was good about the community, Allen said, and "Talk of the Town" filled that empty slot.

Allen said they shot the show twice a month, but the show ran every day, showing the same episode all week.

Before the home improvement show in Gainesville, Allen got her start in show business eight years ago when her church called and asked if she wanted to host a TV show for the church for an hour every week. Allen was a stay-at-home mother at that time, and before that had been a teacher, but she said she was excited to accept the job.

"I literally have no business having a show, but I had three," Allen said, laughing. "I didn’t go to school for it; it literally just fell in my lap and I just so happen to love it."

Allen said one of her favorite memories on "Talk of the Town" was an interview about a year ago with her friend Julie Cavoretto, who was 36 years old when she went through breast cancer and a double mastectomy.

"I think that one stands out the most for me because it was such a personal story and she’s a really good friend of mine," Allen said. "That touched me personally for sure."

Another time, Allen hosted Stacy Halstead, the mother of Tripp Halstead, who survived his skull being crushed by a large falling tree limb in October 2012. Allen said that story was "very touching and inspirational."

Allen said she is thankful for the support of the city of Winder and the community, as well as for Childs, who she called "an amazing producer and friend." She said the show’s success and awards are a testament not only to the work of Childs, but also to the guests of the show.

"Without them (the guests) I wouldn’t have a show," Allen said. "It would just be me sitting in a chair, talking to myself like a crazy woman."

Allen also said there would have been no show without the viewers, who are "the best around," and she is thankful for them.

"I met some of the most amazing people in the world, and they just happened to live in the community," Allen said. "I am humbled and blessed to have been a part of something so great."



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