National Broadcasting Co., Inc.
- National Broadcasting Co., Inc.
▪ American corporation
major American commercial broadcasting company, now a subsidiary of General (General Electric Co.
) Electric Company (GE
NBC was formed in 1926 jointly by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA Corporation
, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation
. Created by David Sarnoff (Sarnoff, David
), RCA's president (or, from
1947, chairman), NBC was the first American company organized solely and specifically to operate a radio broadcasting network. In 1930 it became wholly owned by RCA, and in 1986 RCA was purchased by GE. NBC's headquarters are in Rockefeller Center, New York City.
Two early radio stations in Newark, N.J., and New York City—WJZ, founded by Westinghouse in 1921, and WEAF, founded by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company in 1923—were early acquired by RCA and, after NBC was created in 1926, became the centres of NBC's two semi-independent networks, the Blue Network, based on WJZ, and the Red Network, based on WEAF, each with its respective links to stations in other cities. During the 1930s the Red Network prospered and, by 1938, carried 75 percent of NBC's commercial programs. In 1943 NBC sold off the Blue Network, which became the American Broadcasting Company
). Five years later NBC suffered severely when it lost several of its leading performers (including Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Edgar Bergen, and Red Skelton) to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS Corporation
) in a talent raid, thereby losing an edge in the upcoming television age.
NBC had installed nationwide television service by 1951 and quickly became one of the three major television networks. In 1953 it pioneered the first coast-to-coast transmission of a colour television broadcast, and in 1956 it made the first television broadcast recorded on videotape (rather than presented live). In 1964 NBC presented the first made-for-television movie. Though its television operations continued to expand throughout the 1960s and '70s, NBC's radio business sagged, and in 1988 the company sold most of its remaining radio stations. In the 1990s NBC began to establish itself in cable television with CNBC and other new cable networks. In 1996 it created MSNBC, a joint venture with Microsoft to deliver news and programming on the Internet.
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