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The Advertising Century

David Sarnoff

Published on .

David Sarnoff
Radio Corp. of America, New York

Brought to the U.S. from Russia, young Sarnoff stumbled into a job in the new wireless-radio field, becoming inventor Guglielmo Marconi's apprentice and gaining fame in 1912 by providing via Morse code Titanic survivor lists to newspapers. By 1919, he became the new Radio Corp. of America's top executive and launched radio's first network, the National Broadcasting Co., in 1926. Eventually, Sarnoff was competing against two more networks -- Columbia Broadcasting System and American Broadcasting Co., a spinoff from NBC. Sarnoff pioneered color TV at RCA, which helped build the parent of NBC into a publicly held $2 billion corporation by the time Sarnoff retired in 1955.

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