Andrew Havranek may not have grown up in Westmoreland County, but it still feels like home to him.

The 30-year-old Beaver Falls native has been living away from Western Pennsylvania since 2014 as he continued honing his broadcast reporting skills at various stations nationwide. Next month, Havranek will head east from his current stomping grounds in Milwaukee to become WPXI-TV’s new Westmoreland County Bureau chief.

He’ll be replacing Melanie Gillespie, who left that position in November to become a public information officer for the office of Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli. Havranek revealed the specifics of his new career move March 12 via social media, and his first day at WPXI will be April 3.

“To me, that whole area is my hometown,” he told the Union Progress. “To be able to report on stories happening in my hometown that matter to people who live there is super exciting.”

Beaver Falls native Andrew Havranek attends a 2021 game between the Steelers and Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. (Andrew Havranek)

Havranek is a Blackhawk High School and Duquesne University graduate with degrees in political science and multiplatform journalism. He began college with law school on his mind before realizing reporting was his passion after taking a class his sophomore year taught by longtime WTAE-TV anchor Mike Clark. He also got to know KDKA-TV political analyst Jon Delano during an internship at Channel 2, and Havranek said both Delano and Clark have been “fantastic mentors.”

His broadcasting career began in June 2014 as a reporter for WDTV,  a station that covers the Weston, Clarksburg and Fairmont areas of West Virginia. Three years later, he moved to Springfield, Mo., to help local duopoly KY3/KSPR launch its Lake of the Ozarks Bureau. In November 2020, Havranek relocated to Milwaukee as a reporter for Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin, which is where he remained until accepting the WPXI job.

One important thing to know about Havranek is that he’s a huge sports fan. During his time in the Midwest, he would make trips to St. Louis, Chicago and even Minneapolis to catch the Penguins or Steelers. He’s also the rare NBA fan from Pittsburgh and was thus ecstatic about getting to cover the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 NBA title run. He recalled being among 60,000 fans in the “Deer District” outside Fiserv Forum before the Bucks’ championship-clinching game six performance versus the Phoenix Suns.

“Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are very similar,” Havranek said. “It’s got that bigger-city feel, but at the same time you take a couple steps away, and it doesn’t feel like you’re in the hustle and bustle of the city. It has a great sports and arts scene. People love to be out in the lakefront area, which is like being out at Schenley Park or the Point.”

Sport are only a fraction of Havranek’s reporting experience. He has covered everything from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wis., to the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis to the multiple scandals facing then Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Andrew Havranek, WPXI-TV’s new Westmoreland County Bureau chief, stands outside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee before game three of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks during his time as a reporter at Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin. (Andrew Havranek)

Through it all, Havranek was steadfast in this intention to eventually return home in a journalistic capacity.

“It was always my goal to get back at some point,” he said. “I didn’t know when or if that would happen, but I’m super excited to have this opportunity at Channel 11 in a newsroom that’s brought a lot of new faces in and is doing a lot of good work.”

There were quite a few things that appealed to Havranek about the Westmoreland County job. First and foremost, it was a way for him to be closer to friends and family while “being back in a city I’ve loved my whole life.” He also felt it was a great use of his experience running local news bureaus, which are a rare opportunity for reporters to “kind of own that area” in terms of coverage.

“You just have more of a sense of a community because people really value your voice and ability to tell their stories,” he said. “They’re able to differentiate you from an assignment desk.”

Havranek encouraged anyone who has a story idea to hit him up via social media. As someone who grew up near the Steel City watching its big three TV stations, he’s excited to “hit the ground running” at WPXI and start telling the stories of Westmoreland County residents.

“I love Pittsburgh,” Havranek said. “I love the Western Pennsylvania region. … I’m excited to learn a new area in a place I consider my hometown.”

Joshua covers pop culture, media and more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Contact him at

Joshua Axelrod

Joshua covers pop culture, media and more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Contact him at