William S. Paley

TV movers & shakers

CBS was a struggling infant when Paley — using money from his father’s cigar company — bought a controlling interest in the radio network. He relished his role as a broadcast titan, raiding top talent from rival NBC just as broadcast TV was beginning.

Those shrewd deals set the net up as a radio champ — and led the Eye to become the dominant TV network during the medium’s first few decades. Paley’s vision gave CBS its Tiffany luster, and his CBS News division, led by Edward R. Murrow, set the tone for broadcast journalism. Under the watch of Paley, his No. 2 Frank Stanton and their team, CBS remained the No. 1 network from the mid-1950s all the way to the mid-1970s. CBS Records also became a music industry powerhouse.

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