Metra Electronics announced the passing of its innovative founder Michael Somma who launched the company 75 years ago after his return from serving in World War II.
Somma, a native of Brooklyn, started Metra Radio and TV along with his brother-in-law, Sal Izzo. Metra began selling mainly televisions, but it soon focused on selling car radios because cars at this time did not come equipped with a radio and the option from the factory was, as it is now, an expensive addition. Installing a car radio was a time-consuming and complex undertaking, which gave Somma the idea of standardizing the design for kits instead of tackling each installation one at a time.
From the beginning, Metra was a Blaupunkt car radio dealer. Blaupunkt was the first company to add FM to their radios at a time when few FM stations existed. Somma foresaw its popularity.
It was still actually illegal in many states to include a radio in a car for fear it would be distracting to drivers. But New York began allowing taxi cabs to include radios. This change led Metra to pre-fabricate kits and its radio and installation business took off. Soon, the car radio side of the business became more lucrative than selling TVs, and so Metra Electronics was established.
Metra recently published the full remarks of its president Bill Jones on the passing of Mr. Somma, whom he credits with helping to start the car audio industry.
Please click here for the full remarks.
My deepest concordances.
That is a great story.Man was a legend, may his memory be a blessing.
Mr. Jones – thank you for sharing Mr. Somma’s history. In all the hustle and bustle of the way business gets done today – it was fun to take a moment and try and “Remember When”
Health and Holiday Wishes to everyone at Metra.
The man was truly a visionary.
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