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Broadcast network

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Title: Broadcast network  
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Subject: Broadcasting, Broadcasting..., Volcanic ash, Akita Asahi Broadcasting, Aomori Television
Collection: Broadcasting Stations and Networks, Television Terminology
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Broadcast network

The five major U.S. broadcast network logos

A broadcast network is an organization, such as a corporation or other voluntary association, that provides live or recorded content, such as movies, newscasts, sports, public affairs programming, and other programs for broadcast over a group of radio stations or television stations. Most networks are primarily either a television network or a radio network, although some organizations run both types of networks.

Streaming media, Internet radio Webcasting is sometimes considered a form of broadcasting despite the lack of broadcast stations, in which case its practitioners may also be called "broadcasters" or even "broadcast networks".


  • History 1
    • AT&T 1.1
    • RCA 1.2
    • NBC 1.3
    • CBS 1.4
    • ABC 1.5
    • CBC 1.6
    • CTV 1.7
    • Global 1.8
  • References 2


American Networks

Reginald Fessenden, a former engineer and communications researcher for the U.S. Weather Bureau was the first to transmit a regular radio broadcast. His broadcasts were to ships at sea which he used his radio telegraphy equipment. His programs consisted of a recorded Handel piece, a violin performance, and a reading from the Bible. He claimed to be the first to transmit the human voice. General Electric was encouraged years later to create the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Around this time was when AT&T got involved in radio.[1]


With all of these stations going on the air, they thought it would be a good idea to try to share programming to save on effort required to create programming and programs sometimes appealed to the audience when served by more than one station. When two or three stations link together from a telephone line it is called chain broadcasting. Since the phone lines were owned by AT&T which they still own today, they were the first ones to begin the sharing of two or three stations by telephone lines.

In 1924, the “Eveready Hour” was broadcast over 12 stations, many of them owned by AT&T. “Eveready hour” was the first commercially sponsored variety show in the history of broadcasting. National companies were able to reach large portions of the nation with their brand names and slogans in a resourceful manner. By 1925 AT&T had linked together 26 stations in a network. They were also using its owned & operated (O&O) station WEAF, New York.[2]


Radio Corporation of America also known as RCA began to copy AT&T’s network model. The problem with that was RCA had to lease phone lines from AT&T which caused conflict. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took notice of this and charged AT&T with United States antitrust law violations. In 1926 AT&T sold off their broadcasting interests to RCA. RCA agreed to lease network connections from AT&T and for several decades AT&T made a profitable business in radio and television networking.[3]


In 1926, RCA created the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) under David Sarnoff. When NBC first started off they had two groups of stations that worked together with different programs and sponsors to support. The two networks were called NBC Red and NBC Blue. NBC Red dealt with stronger stations and NBC Blue dealt with weaker stations.[4]

In 1941, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued the Report on Chain Broadcasting, because they wanted to investigate the monopolistic practices of the radio networks. The FCC was most concerned about NBC Red and NBC Blue which the commission thought was anti-competitive. Since the FCC does not have the power to regulate the networks, they decided aim the regulations to the stations. In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States took away the FCC’s power to enforce chain broadcasting regulations. NBC Blue was sold to Edward Noble who later named it the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).[5] NBC also had a chain of shortwave stations, called NBC White Network, in the 1930s.


During 1926 and 1927 radios in people’s homes were increasing dramatically. The third radio network that came about was the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). William S. Paley was the one who bought Columbia. CBS struggled at first because both NBC networks had a head start. Paley helped out CBS to get them where NBC was. He focused on entertainment programming, news, and news affiliation. Regional networks on CBS also existed in various parts of the country.[6] CBS ended up hiring Edward R. Murrow who boosted CBS’s ratings dramatically. Murrow and CBS covered the war in Europe at the time Adolf Hitler was in power. NBC and ABC withdrew from the war because they thought it was dangerous. Murrow took the chance and it paid off for him and CBS. CBS ratings skyrocketed.[7]


American Broadcasting Company (ABC) used to be NBC Blue until it was sold to Edward Noble. ABC was born due to the controversy that the FCC had with NBC Blue and NBC Red. By the mid-1940s the broadcasting arena was a big Three television networks battle. Noble’s network almost went bankrupt and in 1951 Leonard Goldenson and United Paramount Theaters bought ABC for $25 million. In 1964, ABC won the ratings race in the fifty largest U.S markets. In the 1970-71 season, ABC ranked #1 in the Nielsen ratings, becoming the first ABC television show to top the list, a medical drama called Marcus Welby, M.D.[8]

Canadian National Networks


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation


CTV Television Network


Global Television Network


  1. ^ Aaron. (2010). The History of Radio: Birth of Network.
  2. ^ Perry, S. D. (2004). A Consolidated History of Media. Epistelogic Publishing: Bloomington, IL.
  3. ^ Perry, S. D. (2004). A Consolidated History of Media. Epistelogic Publishing: Bloomington, IL.
  4. ^ Perry, S. D. (2004). A Consolidated History of Media. Epistelogic Publishing: Bloomington, IL.
  5. ^ Rivera-Sanchez, M. (1998). Report on Chain Broadcasting. History of the Mass Media in the United States, An Encyclopedia, pg 590-591.
  6. ^ Perry, S. D. (2004). A Consolidated History of Media. Epistelogic Publishing: Bloomington, IL.
  7. ^ Edwards, B. (2004). Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism. New Jersey: Navta Associates, Inc.
  8. ^ (2011). American Broadcasting Company. The Museum of Broadcast Communications.
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