Thursday, January 01, 2009

Be a Radio Technician!

The president of National Radio Institute (NRI) was James E. Smith in 1948. NRI published a huge number of pamphlets and manuals during their existence. This ad was scanned from a western pulp magazine, but they also advertised in Popular Science, and a number of comic books. The scan is very larege, CLICK IMAGE TO SEE FULL IMAGE FOR MORE DETAIL.
They were located at 16th and N.W. U Street in Washington D.C. NRI was another learn-radio-by-mail schools. Uniquely, they publishing a magazine called the the National Radio News. E.R. Haas was the Editor. Powell Crosley wrote for the mag, Edwin Cohan of CBS, and Joseph Kauffman and members of the FRC (before the FCC). Newsletters confirm the company was operating as early as 1929. The newsleter continued to at least 1951. In 1961 they published a text book "Mathmatics for Electronics and Electricity" then in 1972 another "Servicing Electrical Appliances."

The school was taken more seriously after they formed an alumni association. The Vice President of the United States, Charles Curtis spoke at a 1930 alumni gathering. Their Alumni Association had a formal constitution. It reads like that of most any other, allow me to quote
"The object of the association is to cultivate fraternal relations among the alumni of the National radio Institute, to promote the welfare of each alumnus by interchange of helpful information, to foster the spirit of unity and loyalty to out alma mater, to encourage the institute in it's dissemination of radio knowledge and to promote it's interests..."
The alumni included R.E. Hartzog of KFEC, John Fetzer of WEMC, K.W. Griffith KGJF, Bayard Keough of WJSV, Donnell O'Conner WBT, Polk Perdue of WAPI, Glen Gingles of KGBZ, and an unbelivably long list of others.

General advertisements seem to stop dead in 1973. It was not the end of the school, just an end to direct marketing. In surviving five decades, they did broaden the ciriculum to add more appliance servicing a nd of course television. Their claim of being founded in 1914 seems incredulous, but I easily found ads going back to 1919 so it's possible. In 1968 Mcgraw -Hill purchased it and changed the name to NRI Schools. They ceased operations relatively recently. A Smith bio states they closed up in 1999, a learn-at-home directory gives it as March of 2002.