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Remembering a Revered, Quiet Legend and Radio Personality, Cyrus A. Allen

By Tyronda James
tyrondajames@minorityreporter.net

“Life is very something special. I always end my show with that.” ~Cyrus A. Allen.

A clip from a D&C profile on Cyrus Allen

Radio personality and local celebrity, Cyrus Aloysius Allen affectionately known to many as “The Love Sponge” died Wednesday, April 22 at the age of 60, in Georgia.  Allen was WDKX-FM 103.9 radio personality for over 30 years. Funeral services to celebrate Allen’s life were held Sunday, April 26 in Douglas, GA

He is survived by his wife Helen of 30 years, son Darius, and daughters Ciana, Dominique, and Destiny. He was the proud grandfather to three small children, Anthony Jr., Teddy, and Ellieanne. Allen is also survived by his five siblings; Gregory Brock (Christine), Keith, Derrick, Patricia, and Lisha Allen and the favorite uncle to a host of nieces and nephews.

Former WDKX PR and Social Media Marketer Ella Dean said Allen who she’s known for at least 35 years was a quiet man with an extremely infectious laugh, “he had this infectious laugh that when he laughed you had to laugh with him even when you didn’t know what he was laughing at.”

Allen was born on April 1, 1960 in Douglas Georgia, at the age of seven he relocated to Rochester NY with his mother Mary (predeceased) and siblings. He was graduate of Jefferson High School and a SUNY Brockport Alumni.

Allen’s career in the music industry began when he worked as a disc jockey for the University of Rochester’s radio station, WRUR 88.5, while attending SUNY Brockport.

Dean said she met Allen first met by telephone, “he was doing a hip hop show and I would call to request songs and we would have good conversation. We actually met once when he started working at WDKX, I did a lot of part time stuff for them over the years. And that’s how we actually met face to face … it was at the station.”

Allen later landed a position at WDKX as a producer and then became radio host of his late night “The Quiet Storm” radio segment as well as the Sunday Morning Gospel show for 34 years.  Many listened Monday through Thursday, from 10 pm to 2am. Looking forward to hearing the calm, soothing voice say, “Its 11:30 pm, parents do you know where you’re children are,” a phrase Allen coined, becoming the voice of a generation that will forever be in the hearts and minds of many.

Urban Contemporary Jazz Artist Jimmie Highsmith Jr., fondly remembers meeting Allen in the early 90s. “He’s been a friend for a lot of years, it was very tragic to hear that he passed,” said Highsmith Jr. Highsmith along with Paul Boutte and Shawn Powell wrote the Quiet Storm music bed that we’ve all been hearing for the last 20 years on DKX before the ten o’clock hour.  

“Cyrus would use the Art of Noize’s song called Moments in Love and he wanted his own theme song for the Quiet Storm.” 

Highsmith said his fondest memory is of being a walking encyclopedia in regards to music, “him and Tony Boler both knew music, they knew the history of music,” said Highsmith Jr.

Boler, whose passing will soon mark three years on May 8, was a WDKX On-Air Radio personality as well. 

“It was edifying just to sit down and talk to him about the history of music, R&B music and where it’s been and where it’s going, Hip hop … where it was and where it’s at today … just music in general he knew music across the border including jazz, not just R&B and he took the time to really learn about music as a DJ,” Highsmith Jr. said.

Many attest to Allen’s love for music, his dedication, and him being very supportive of his home town. Highsmith said Allen loved his home town artists and he loved his community.

“He was the type of guy to really want to promote them. So often the community is forgotten about by other people.  You have people right here in Rochester who are really talented and up and coming and they are passed over by the national guys and Cyrus really had a love for all of the artists in Rochester and he really wanted to give them a platform … and to support their music,” said Highsmith Jr.

“Cyrus always supported my music, he would come to a lot of my concerts back in the 90s … and when my album came out in 2001, it was played on Cyrus’s radio show the Quiet Storm and it opened up a lot of doors for me as well nationally … because DKX was a major commercial radio station.”

Dean said her fondest memory of Allen happened at a concert and Health Festival that WDKX hosted, in a parking lot of what used to be the War Memorial but now the Blue Cross Arena. “Cyrus met Betty Wright! And he was like a little kid when he met her … this grown 40 something year old man was like a little child when he met Betty Wright, because she was always one of his favorites … my fondest memory of Cyrus.”

Michael Avent Sr. Playwright and relative of Tony Award Winner, Cholly Atkins, said he’s known Allen since the 90s. “He encouraged me to upgrade my music collection. He was great for that. … From one DJ to another. He would always tell me there’s a new hot song coming out and I would rush and go to the record store and buy the record and you know all of sudden is was the hot song. He was also a great person in the music business. He played a lot of great music. Nice guy. Great DJ. Also he was a great friend,” said Avent Sr.

A memorial service to celebrate his life and accomplishments here in Rochester is being planned for a date to be determined.

On WDKX 103.9 Media Facebook page thousands leave condolences and prayers, circulating the news of Allen’s passing and honoring his life. Allen’s sister Lisha leaves this heartfelt message, “I wish my brother was here to see all this love. He would be smiling from ear to ear and thinking he was “the man!” Thank you all for the love and support as we grieve thru this process. It only solidifies what we as his family already knew…he was a loving and caring man! Thank you 103.9 WDKX. Cyrus loved his WDKX family. On behalf of the Allen family we say thank you for your love for our brother, father, uncle, cousin and friend. RIP BROTHER!!!! YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!” 

Additional messages can be found at https://www.facebook.com/1039WDKX/posts/10156768556777735