John L. Neff, known to many broadcasters for decades as Jack, died June 6th at age 87. He was the long-time owner of DataWorld from the early 1980s until its sale to BIA in 1993.
Born in Montana, Neff got involved in radio on the engineering side in 1942 at WOL-AM Washington, DC. Among other things, he sometimes handled the remote broadcasts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats” from the White House for WOL, which was an affiliate of the Mutual network.
His radio career was interrupted by a stint in the Army Air Corps, which sent him to Yale for studies. Neff returned to engineering at WOL, but moved into sales and advanced to National Sales Manager. He moved to cross-town WWDC-AM in 1954 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales.
In 1959 Jack Neff was one of the three founders of Broadcast Electronics, serving first as VP of Sales and later as President. He took the company from a small garage under the towers of WWDC outside of Washington, DC to being internationally known for its SpotMaster tape cartridge equipment.
Striking out on his own, Neff bought DataWorld from the A.D. Ring engineering firm and made its precise signal coverage maps the broadcast industry standard – not only in the US, but in many other countries as well. He retired after selling the company to BIA in 1993.
The funeral service for Jack Neff was conducted June 10th. Memorial contribution may be made to the National Kidney Foundation.
RBR-TVBR observation: Jack Neff was a good friend over the years to many of us at RBR-TVBR and his son, John, was once an employee. Jack was one of those people who had a lot of fun working hard in the business he loved. He had great stories to tell about the stations he’d worked at and the people he’d met over his long career. We are glad to have known him and will miss him. His was a life well lived.
Note: Wishing to send your words to Jack’s son – John Neff [email protected]