PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “Take it to Wayne!” Thousands of Pittsburgh-area residents did just that, when faced with problems they couldn’t solve. KDKA-TV consumer advocate Wayne Van Dine died Friday night at the age of 77.
Wayne joined KDKA in 1978, and pioneered a new way of reporting.
“They used to do what I call ‘statue’ standups, you know,” he said, in a 2003 interview. “I was just talking to one viewer at a time. That sort of evolved into a more demonstrative style.”
The way he figured it, why talk about a problem when you can show it?
He convinced PennDOT to put up a wall at a hairpin curve connecting I-70 with I-79 in Washington County. The Gab ‘n Eat restaurant in Scott Township was paying double for its electricity, until they called Wayne Van Dine.
A true consumer advocate, he attempted to find solutions that satisfied both sides.
“You have to not only understand how the problem occurred, but what the options are to solve it, and what power they have to solve it,” he explained. “I mean, you can’t demand the impossible.”
Looking back at his career, he added, “Al Julius started the Turkey Drive, and when he left, they asked me to take that over.”
He co-hosted Pittsburgh Today, with Patrice King Brown. But what he loved most was helping the little guy.
Aside from playing guitar and golf, Wayne’s favorite pastime was clearing brush at the family home in Kittanning.
“I was born in this house,” he said, stepping onto the porch. “Family moved here in ’37. I was born in 1938, right in that bedroom. Delivered by a midwife.”
He was one of five children, with a passion for the underdog.
“My time has come and gone,” he said, during the week he retired. “And now it’s time to relax and walk off into the sunset.”
Sunset or not, the legacy of Wayne Van Dine still shines bright.