Obituary: Larry Finley

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Larry Finley, recorded tape industry pioneer, died early this month of natural causes. He was 86.

Finley founded the International Tape Association (ITA), now the International Recording Media Association (IRMA), at a time when early audiotape products were still finding their market. He died just weeks after the 30th annual IRMA spring meeting, the first one he failed to attend.

His diverse background in broadcasting, music, entertainment and journalism gave him the necessary contacts to bring together the companies that formed the original ITA in 1970. His leadership played a pivotal role in expanding the recording media industry's involvement in the growth and acceptance of videotape as a major entertainment delivery system of our time. He was not only able to persuade American manufacturers to join the ITA but, he also opened the association's doors to offshore producers who had been denied membership in other trade associations.

"It takes a great man to create a business, but it takes a visionary to create an entire industry," said current IRMA president Charles Van Horn. "Larry Finley was such a visionary."

Finley's roots in recording media go back to the early 1960s, when, as president and CEO of the International Tape Cartridge Corporation (ITCC), he acquired the audio tape rights from 27 record labels and became the largest provider of entertainment on tape.

Finley's multifaceted career included a partnership with musicians Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey in the Casino Gardens Ballroom in San Diego. He was a partner in Finley-McKinnon Broadcasting Company, owners of radio station KSDJ; and he created Finley Productions, the first West Coast TV production company. He produced and hosted radio and TV shows in Los Angeles, including "The Larry Finley Show," broadcast nightly from his restaurant on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood; "Strictly Informal," "Dinner At Eight" and "Music is My Beat," the first TV shows to be kinescoped and shown by the Armed Forces Network to troops in Korea.

Finley was a recipient of The City of Hope's Annual Torch Bearer Award. In 1980 he was Time-Life magazine's Man of the Decade. In 1984 he was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame, and in 1998 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Vision Fund of America, an association of visual professionals dedicated to promoting research and resources for the visually impaired.

Services were private according to the family's wishes. He is survived by Betty, his wife of 40 years, five sons and 12 grandchildren.

Condolences can be sent to Betty Finley at 10 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023. Donations in Larry's memory can be sent to: The Larry Finley Memorial Fund, c/o The Vision Fund of America, 111 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022.

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