Greg Allen

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and human interest features. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.

Allen was a key part of NPR's coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, providing some of the first reports on the disaster. He was on the frontlines of NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, arriving in New Orleans before the storm hit and filing on the chaos and flooding that hit the city as the levees broke. Allen's reporting played an important role in NPR's coverage of the aftermath and the rebuilding of New Orleans, as well as in coverage of the BP oil spill which brought new hardships to the Gulf coast.

As NPR's only correspondent in Florida, Allen covered the dizzying boom and bust of the state's real estate market, the state's important role in the 2008 presidential election and has produced stories highlighting the state's unique culture and natural beauty, from Miami's Little Havana to the Everglades.

Allen has spent more than three decades in radio news, the first ten as a reporter in Ohio and Philadelphia and the last as an editor, producer and reporter at NPR.

Before moving into reporting, Allen served as the executive producer of NPR's national daily live call-in show, Talk of the Nation. As executive producer he handled the day-to-day operations of the program as well as developed and produced remote broadcasts with live audiences and special breaking news coverage. He was with Talk of the Nation from 2000 to 2002.

Prior to that position, Allen spent three years as a senior editor for NPR's Morning Edition, developing stories and interviews, shaping the program's editorial direction, and supervising the program's staff. In 1993, he started a four year stint as an editor with Morning Edition just after working as Morning Edition's swing editor, providing editorial and production supervision in the early morning hours. Allen also worked for a time as the editor of NPR's National Desk.

Before coming to NPR, Allen was a reporter with NPR member station WHYY-FM in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990.

His radio career includes serving as the producer of Freedom's Doors Media Project — five radio documentaries on immigration in American cities that was distributed through NPR's Horizons series — frequent freelance work with NPR, Monitor Radio, Voice of America, and WHYY-FM, and work as a reporter/producer of NPR member station WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Allen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, with a B.A. cum laude. As a student and after graduation, Allen worked at WXPN-FM, the public radio station on campus, as a host and producer for a weekly folk music program that included interviews, features, live and recorded music.

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Business
5:59 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Billionaire Who Remade Retirement Living On A Massive Scale

Gary Morse, with wife Sharon, in 1999. Morse transformed a mobile home park in Florida into The Villages, a retirement community of more than 100,000 residents.
Stephen M. Dowell Orlando Sentinel

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:41 pm

Gary Morse, a visionary property developer, transformed a Florida mobile home park into the nation's largest retirement community. The billionaire died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Under Morse's direction, The Villages, northwest of Orlando, redefined retirement living. It's a community that is remarkable most of all for its size — home to nearly 100,000 residents living in dozens of communities, spread over an area the size of Manhattan.

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Politics
6:59 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Florida Governor's Race: Familiar Faces, Big Money, Brutal Ads

Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida (left), and Rick Scott, the current Republican governor of Florida, listen to the moderators during a gubernatorial debate on Friday. The two are facing off in a tight race that's fueling a barrage of negative campaign ads.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am

Florida is home to the most expensive race in the country this midterm election — one of the nation's closest and nastiest gubernatorial contests.

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Environment
12:52 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

Florida's Manatees: Big, Beloved And Bitterly Contested

A manatee swims underwater in the springs of Crystal River, Fla. — home to a group of residents who have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding that the agency consider removing the animals from the endangered species list.
Amanda Cotton iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 6:39 pm

They're large, even ungainly. But there may be no animal more beloved in Florida than the manatee.

Sorry, dolphins. It's the manatee that is the state's official marine mammal. But as manatees meander through Florida's shallow bays, rivers and canals, they often encounter people. And that's where problems arise.

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Business
8:21 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Marvel's New Hero Wants To Save The World — And The Citrus Industry

A new comic features Captain Citrus teaming up with the Avengers to defeat a villain. The new superhero, who uses the power of the sun to generate "energy items," is sponsored by Florida's citrus industry.
Florida Citrus

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 5:40 pm

Marvel's latest superhero, Captain Citrus, draws his power from the sun and hails from a Florida orange grove. And here's his true origin story: He was developed by Marvel for Florida's citrus growers, who hope the hero will use his powers to help them sell more orange juice.

Captain Of An Industry

Marvel's successful films and comics, from Spider-Man to The Avengers to Guardians of the Galaxy, have made them a hit with not just audiences, but also businesses.

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Environment
6:50 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:00 am

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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The Salt
8:29 am
Tue August 26, 2014

The 'Greening' Of Florida Citrus Means Less Green In Growers' Pockets

An orange showing signs of "citrus greening" this spring in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 3:42 pm

Orange juice has been an important part of breakfast tables since the 1950s, after development of frozen orange juice concentrate made it both convenient and affordable. Back in the 1960s and '70s, TV spokeswoman Anita Bryant even told Americans that "breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."

But today, sales are the lowest they've been in decades.

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Code Switch
4:12 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Miami Stores Enjoy Thriving Business From Cuban Shoppers

Serafin Blanco's discounted clothing store in Hialeah advertises its cheap deals. Cuban customers take their purchases back to Cuba to give to relatives or to sell, Blanco says.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 3:09 pm

On the map, it's right next to Miami. But culturally speaking, Hialeah, Fla., is just as close to Havana. And now, more than ever, Cubans are flocking to Hialeah to shop, taking advantage of the relaxed travel restrictions.

"There are more Cubans here than any place besides Cuba," says Serafin Blanco, who owns a discount clothing store there.

Through these shopping expeditions, Cuba's emerging entrepreneurs can buy goods their customers need and can't find in their country — legally skirting the 50-year-old trade embargo.

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Around the Nation
7:20 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 7:20 pm

In southwest Florida, county officials are fighting the state over a new oil drilling process that's known by many different names: acidification, acidizing, acid stimulation and acid fracking.

Collier County has charged that state regulators have been lax in their oversight of the drilling, jeopardizing public health and the environment.

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NPR Story
6:55 am
Tue June 24, 2014

With Cash And Fat Fryers, Americans Feed Cuba's Growing Free Market

A man stands in line at Miami International airport to board a charter flight to Havana, Cuba. Travelers often fly to Cuba from the U.S. with piles of goods, despite a decades-long trade embargo.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 12:38 pm

Every day, you can see signs of a subtle change in relations between Cuba and the U.S. at Miami International Airport.

More Cubans than ever before are coming to the U.S. to visit, and the number of Cuban-Americans traveling back to the island is also at record levels. With all the visitors, money and goods are now traveling to the island from the United States.

It's a legal loophole in the 50-year-old trade embargo — one that's having a real impact on Cuba's economy, and allowing Cuban-Americans to become investors in Cuba's emerging private sector.

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Shots - Health News
8:22 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Entrepreneurs Buzzing Over Medical Marijuana In Florida

One of three marijuana plants growing in the backyard of a 65-year-old retiree from Pompano Beach, Fla. He grows and smokes his own "happy grass" to alleviate pain.
Carline Jean MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:05 am

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now have laws allowing for some form of medical marijuana.

Florida appears poised to join the club. Polls show that voters there are likely to approve a November ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical use.

If it passes, regulations that would set up a market for medical marijuana in Florida are still at least a year away. But cannabis entrepreneurs from around the country are already setting up shop in the state.

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Culture
9:35 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Tampa Hosts Bollywood's Biggest Stars At Annual Awards Show

Bollywood star Anil Kapoor (right) engages the mayor of Tampa Bob Buckhorn in a dance during a press conference for the 15th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:04 pm

India's Bollywood film industry is known for romantic, over-the-top musicals that increasingly are reaching a world-wide audience. To highlight the international appeal, the industry holds its annual awards ceremony every year outside of India.

This year, Bollywood, its glittering stars and its legions of fans, have come to Tampa, Fla. It's the first time the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards have ever been held in the U.S.

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Environment
9:17 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Forced To Put Its Nets Away, Cedar Key Clams Up — Literally

Downtown Cedar Key
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Since Florida banned gill nets 20 years ago, University of Florida researchers have helped Cedar Key replace commercial fishing with aquaculture. The area's now among the most productive clam farming regions in the U.S.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
6:06 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

After Setbacks, Florida Governor Courts Latino Support

Florida Gov. Rick Scott recognizes a visitor in the gallery during his March 4 State of the State speech at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Phil Sears AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

In Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott is running for re-election, he's got a few things going for him. The state's economy has rebounded from the recession and he's on track to raise at least $100 million for his reelection bid.

But Scott's campaign has recently run into trouble with an important group of voters — Hispanics.

Latinos make up just 14 percent of Florida's electorate. But, as a bloc of voters, they have the power to swing elections statewide.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Bringing A 'Million Orchids' To Florida's Trees

The dollar orchid (Prosthechea boothiana) is among the native species soon to be planted in South Florida trees.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 pm

Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory.

When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Millions of orchids were plucked and sent north as potted plants. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here.

But if researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden succeed with their Million Orchid Project, the flowers will soon bloom amid the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Business
8:59 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, And Not Everyone's Pleased

ReBOUND Residential in Florida has bought multiple properties like this one, a formerly bank-owned home in Sunrise, Fla., as investment properties. The houses are now bringing steady returns as rentals.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 10:20 am

It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.

A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.

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