The local broadcast pioneer who hosted the iconic Bandstand here in Central Pennsylvania has died this Friday morning at 77.
Dick DiAndrea was born and raised in Altoona where he would watch his cousin do a 15-minute National Guard radio show at WRTA in Altoona. It was at that young age that DiAndrea decided he wanted to be in radio for a career.
DiAndrea spent his younger years being a “student announcer” and volunteering with the Red Cross until High School. After which he worked for the local company Wolf’s Furniture.
He was always listening to the radio and enjoying it and dreaming. He finally got a job as a DJ in 1960. He quit that station shortly after and was the sought after DJ to help open WEND in Ebensburg, Pa.
In 1962 he was hired to start Bandstand after being convinced to audition by others at WFBG-TV. The first episode had roughly 20 kids, all who had parents working at the station, and they made sure to keep cameras tight to make it look like a full house.
DiAndrea continued making bandstand a success until 1965 when the station canceled it. He continued to work in radio and in 1969 he joined WVAM-FM.
It was there that DiAndrea and Don Girard had the first-ever two man show on the radio, and it was a huge success. He then went on to sales to try and help the broadcast company for numerous years.
Finally, in 1989, DiAndrea left radio and started his own advertising agency. He wanted nothing to do with offers to go back to the radio, until 1991.
Dick finally decided to join with WALY 103.9 to do their morning show then go back to work at his advertising company. After a contract dispute, DiAndrea joined WALY again under the ownership of Forever Broadcasting.
Dick DiAndrea passed away around 8 a.m on Friday, October 25, 2019.