Host of Puerto Rican Panorama Diego Castellanos retires after nearly 50 years, leaving behind a legacy

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Sunday, September 16, 2018
Host of Puerto Rican Panorama Diego Castellanos retires after 50 years, leaving behind a legacy
Host of Puerto Rican Panorama Diego Castellanos retires after 50 years, leaving behind a legacy. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on September 16, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Diego Castellanos has been the host and producer of 6abc's Puerto Rican Panorama for nearly 50 years, and now as he retires, we're taking a look back at all he's done for the Latino community.

Diego joined 6abc in August 1970 as the host and producer of Puerto Rican Panorama, a show that addressed the needs and concerns of the fast-growing local Hispanic population.

"It was something not only focused to the growing Latino community, but it was really about telling the story to everyone else," says Philadelphia Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez.

"That little half hour that he produces and puts together virtually by himself, has been that beacon of shedding light on our community," Former 6abc Cameraman Lou Lozada says.

"Very quickly he established for us that these were voices that needed to be heard," says 6abc President and General Manager, Bernie Prazenica.

"We have been very blessed with Diego's commitment to covering the Latino community," Former Judge, Nelson Diaz says.

And it was his commitment that gave the program its star power.

"He brought the culture of his country and shared it with others," says Reverend Bonnie Camarda of the Salvation Army.

"Diego has been a pioneer in his field, and he was somebody that connected a lot of Hispanics to their culture," Executive Director Adonis Banegas says.

The Public Affairs show was initially given a 13-week run, which turned in to nearly 50 years on the air.

"It's reputed that he's got the longest running show in the world, and I believe it," says Lozada. "We're incredible proud of the legacy of having a show on our air for that long," Prazenica adds.

"The show was his baby. He understood the importance of every single detail about it," says Quiñones-Sanchez.

"Puerto Rican Panorama has been sort of like a historical marker for the Puerto Rican community development and the Latino growth not only in Philadelphia, but across Pennsylvania," says Former Philadelphia City Councilman Angel Ortiz.

As the success of Panorama grew, so did its audience.

"It was reaching out to a new generation. So I was fortunate enough growing up and being able to see that," says Banegas.

Guests on his show ranged from well-known musicians to local politicians, tackling important issues facing the community.

"I've been a frequent guest. I debated two Navy commanders. That was Puerto Rican Panorama in the early times," says Ortiz.

"First time I appeared on television was on Diego Castellanos show," says Diaz.

"As I grew professionally, I was fortunate enough to be a guest on this show," Banegas says.

Aside from his love for television production, Diego is a man of many talents.

"The guy flies planes, he plays guitar, he's written books, he's an officer in the military. You know Diego's a bit of a renaissance man," says Lozada.

Diego also co-anchored 6abc's annual live telecast of the Puerto Rican Day Parade and last year, the station honored him for his many contributions.

And with all of his accolades, he's never once shied away from his mission to empower Hispanic culture.

"He's dedicated to his people, to his community, to channel 6. I think that this has become a physical part of his body," Lozada says. Adding, "His legacy will never disappear."

"Just a genuine person who was true to who he was," says Banegas.

Diego Castellanos - a trailblazer, an advocate, and our local hero.


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