Benny’s Radio Shop, 1941


Seventy-five years ago, entrepreneur and radio student Benny McGehee had this sign up in front of his shop at 411 Arcadia Avenue, Arcadia, Florida. This photo appeared on the cover of the June-July 1941 issue of National Radio News, the magazine put out for students and alumni of the National Radio Institute (NRI), whose ubiquitous ads for home study in radio appeared in magazines for decades.

1941JuneNRI2McGehee, who billed himself as the “chief keeper-upper of your radio,” was one of NRI’s students. Prior to enrolling in the home study course, he had worked as a traveling salesman and was away from home four days a week. The radio shop was still a part-time enterprise, as he was employed in an office as he built up his radio business.

According to McGehee, his sole regret was that he didn’t enroll with NRI ten or twelve years earlier when he started seeing the ads. “I read those advertisements for ten years before I acted. I could have been really independent now, and I am only thirty-four. Yet, I hope to succeed even though I waited a long time to start.”

The magazine complimented McGehee on the quality of his sign, and noted that McGehee had consulted a professional sign painter, and carried the same design over into his letterhead and other printed matter, “giving his advertising distinction and dignity.”

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