Dick Clark

WKTV’s most famous alumni is the renowned Dick Clark, a name known all over the world. Dick Clark is most well-known for his annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, a show aired on ABC for the past thirty years as a countdown to the New Year. He gained national prominence as host of American Bandstand, the first network television series devoted to Rock and Roll and the longest running musical show in television history.

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born on November 30, 1929 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was considered an average high school student until he discovered radio in his sophomore year. This would be the beginning of a long and distinguished career in the broadcast business. The summer after high school, Clark was given a job at WRUN-AM radio, working in the main office. One day, the station’s manager asked Dick to fill in for a weatherman on WRUN’s newly debuted FM station. Within a few months, Clark had advanced to hosting station breaks.

Dick Clark received a degree from Syracuse University where he worked at WOLF, a country music station. He returned to WRUN for a short time where he used the name Dick Clay that led to his first television job as a newscaster at WKTV. He was the host of Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders, a country music program which became perfect training for his later television jobs.

He went back to his given name and went to work for WFIL, a radio and affiliated television station in Philadelphia. The station decided to follow the trend of announcers playing records over the air waves. The television station aired a show called Bandstand, an afternoon teem dance show. Clark was given the job as host and replaced Bob Horn.

Clark transformed the show into a huge success in Philadelphia and it was picked up nationally by ABC in 1957, renaming it to American Bandstand. From 1963 to 1987, the show ran on a weekly basis to become one of the longest running shows in broadcast television.

Dick is also known as a famous game show host. He hosted $100,000 Pyramid, also known by titles of lower dollar values such as $10,000 Pyramid, from 1973-1989 airing on both CBS and ABC.

Sadly, American's "Oldest Teenager" suffered a mild stroke in 2004, forcing him to not attend his New Year's Eve broadcast for the first time in three decades. He made a triumphant return appearance in 2005 and has appeared in a smaller role ever since.

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