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History of NBC

The fortunes of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) have always been closely tied to those of its parent company, Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Unlike CBS, which was formed as an independent programming enterprise, NBC came into existence as the subsidiary of an electronics manufacturer which saw programming as a form of marketing, an enticement to purchase radio and television receivers for the home. The power and influence of a national network aided RCA as it lobbied to see its technology adopted as the industry standard, particularly during the early years of television and in the battle over color television.

RCA was formed after World War I when General Electric signed an extensive patents cross-licensing agreement with Westinghouse, AT and T, and United Fruit. The product of this alliance, RCA was owned jointly by the four companies and was created for the purpose of marketing radio receivers produced by G. E. and Westinghouse. As the alliance unraveled during the late 1920s and early 1930s, due to internal competition and government antitrust efforts, RCA emerged as an independent company. In November 1926, RCA formed NBC as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Shortly thereafter, RCA added a second network, and the two networks were designated NBC-Red and NBC-Blue.

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