Diego Castellanos, 88, educator, trailblazing broadcaster, and longtime host and producer of 6ABC’s Puerto Rican Panorama, died Saturday, April 30, at his residence in Cherry Hill. The cause of Mr. Castellanos’ death was not immediately known.

Born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, in 1933, Mr. Castellanos spent most of his life in the Delaware Valley. He began his career in broadcasting in 1954 hosting a Spanish-language radio show on 1310 WCAM in Camden.

In 1970, he began producing and hosting Puerto Rican Panorama, which focused on Puerto Rican and Latino culture and issues, on 6ABC. Touted as the longest-running show of its kind, Panorama was a cultural touchstone for the Philadelphia area’s Latino community. Mr. Castellanos was one of the few television hosts of Puerto Rican descent — hosting a show about Latino culture, no less — on air at the time. He remained dedicated to the show for nearly five decades before retiring in 2018.

“Without his program, Puerto Rican culture would have gotten lost somehow,” said the Rev. Bonnie Camarda, a friend and director of partnerships for the Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. “Who has a television show for 50 years, other than Mr. Rogers? I think he was the Mr. Rogers for our community.”

Puerto Rican Panorama was something of a one-man passion project, with Mr. Castellanos serving as producer, host, booker, and showrunner, with little to no staff and no permanent office at the station. He collected a small salary, or would forgo one altogether, for the show, said former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson Diaz, who was a longtime friend of Mr. Castellanos and a regular guest on his show.

“He dedicated his whole life to this program more than anything else,” said Diaz. “And he was proud of it.”

Broadcast in English, the show was designed to appeal to the largest possible audience — including non-Spanish-speaking Philadelphians and second- and third-generation Latinos who didn’t speak Spanish as their first language.

“He wanted the community at large to know about our community, and that couldn’t happen if it was just a Spanish-speaking program,” said friend and famed Philly salsero Jesse Bermudez. “It had to be the way Diego did it, and people began to catch on to the Latino community. It was perfect.”

The show became so popular that when it ultimately changed time slots, as it did a number of times throughout its run, fans would flood 6ABC with calls and letters asking about the schedule change, said Izzy Colon, a community policy analyst and former director of multicultural affairs for former Mayor Michael Nutter.

“I remember us sending letters to ABC saying, ‘What the hell is going on? This is racist ...,’ whatever it was,” said Colon. John Morris, vice president of content development at 6ABC, confirmed schedule changes for Panorama brought an outcry from the community, but added that “it was not a show we moved lightly.”

In 2002, Mr. Castellanos was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. But, ultimately, the legacy of Mr. Castellanos and Panorama lies in the “nourishment of a community,” Bermudez said.

“How do you nourish communities? When you present things that can help other people, that other people can learn from, that can make people happy, it is nourishment,” said Bermudez. That, he said, is what Mr. Castellanos always focused on with Panorama.

But, Colon said, Mr. Castellanos wasn’t just Panorama. He was also a former New Jersey National Guard service member, a licensed pilot, a musician, author, host of the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade broadcast on 6ABC, and, above all else, a lifelong educator.

Mr. Castellanos — who graduated from Marquette University with a degree in journalism, earned a master’s degree from Montclair State University and held a doctorate in education from Fairleigh Dickinson University — taught at four universities and worked for the New Jersey Department of Education, where he directed an office that enforced affirmative action, equal access, gender equity, and bilingual education, according to a 2010 Inquirer story.

That path as an educator, Colon said, informed much of Mr. Castellanos’ life philosophy and approach to Panorama.

“Here is a guy with a view of the world, and he was able to use this vehicle as a way of educating and allowing our own voices to be heard,” Colon said. “He was a human being that was dedicated to the advancement of this community, and the program was one manifestation of that.”

But to Felicia Castellanos, Mr. Castellanos’ youngest daughter, explaining her dad is simple.

“He loved being Puerto Rican, and the Puerto Rican community. He loved his show,” she said. “We are proud of his achievements, and appreciate the support. He loved being a part of it.”

In addition to his daughter Felicia, Mr. Castellanos is survived by eight other children: Diego Castellanos Jr., Cathy Kemp, Dwight Castellanos, Kelly Panebianco, Sean Castellanos, Patrick McArdle, Christopher Castellanos, and Dr. Olivia Castellanos; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. His youngest son, Carlos, died earlier.

A public visitation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 5, at Bradley & Stow Funeral Home, 127 Medford-Mount Holly Rd., Medford, N.J., 08055, followed by a service there at noon. Mr. Castellanos’ interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery, 2398 W. Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002.

Donations in Mr. Castellanos’ name may be made to Deborah Heart and Lung Center, 200 Trenton Rd., Browns Mills, N.J. 08015.