David Sarnoff

TV movers & shakers

NBC’s rivalry with CBS runs deep — the networks were even in heated competish a few decades ago over who would be the first to broadcast in color. Russian-born David Sarnoff guided the Peacock to victory in that race — even to this day, no matter its logo, the network has always flaunted its colors — and in 1930, at 39, he became the president of RCA. Sarnoff, a telegraph operator who was one of the few to report on the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, was fascinated by the power of communications. Six years after his ascension at RCA, it would become the standard-bearer in small-screen technology and, in 1939, he brought TV to the masses at the New York World’s Fair.

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