New documentary shines spotlight on iconic DJ

Jan 14, 2019 365

Richard Orlando Biondi was born in Endicott, New York, in 1932 to Rose and Michael Biondi, a homemaker and a fireman. Growing up in the Italian neighborhood known as The Nob, Dick described himself as a kid who was always yakking. A devout Catholic, he intended to enter the priesthood. But things changed when 8-year-old Dick discovered a local radio station while spending the summer at his grandparents’ home in Auburn, New York.

He stood and watched the announcer until he was invited into the studio one day to read a commercial. When he returned home, his family announced, “We heard you on the radio!” That’s when Dick’s dream was born. Biondi began his career playing “race” records and soon discovered rock ’n’ roll. At his early record hops, he introduced Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin and Paul Anka, and went on to promote many artists’ careers. Dick’s dream came true at superstation WLS in Chicago, where his radio persona, “The Screamer” and “The Wild I-Tralian,” made him the No. 1 DJ in America. 

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