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Broadcasting Engineer Neil Smith Dead at 81

Founder of Smith and Fisher engineering consulting firm

Jeanne and Neil Smith

Neil M. Smith, the founder of Smith and Fisher engineering consulting firm, has passed away at the age of 81.

Smith studied electrical engineering at Purdue. He also made a name for himself as a singer and pursued that line of work after graduation and while in the army.

Smith began his career in broadcast engineering as recording engineer at Edgewood Studios in Washington, which was founded by Charles Osgood, later known for “The Osgood Files.” Smith knew Osgood from his time in various army musical groups.

Smith later briefly worked at the National Association of Broadcasters before becoming an engineer at broadcast consulting firm Kear and Kennedy. While there, Smith helped oversee the installation of the master antenna on the Empire State Building and antenna work on the John Hancock Building in Chicago.

With his second wife, Jeanne Fisher, Smith founded their own engineering consulting firm, Smith and Powstenko, which would later become Smith and Fisher when he partnered with his stepson Kevin Fisher. Smith earned an Emmy Award for technical innovation for his work with ABC TV. He also helped develop and implement wireless microphones and antenna pattern measurement using helicopters. He also served as a member of the George Washington University faculty.

Smith passed away on Oct. 24. He is survived by his sons Neil and Andrew Smith, as well as stepsons Kevin, Jeff, Robert and Brian Fisher.