NBC: The network giant

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"NBC Radio Center Theatre in New York," 1940s or 1950s. Courtesy Georgia State University Libraries, Special Collections, via Digital Library of Georgia. 

The first regularly scheduled newscast began in 1926 on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).The network was formed by General Electric, Westinghouse Electric, and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Though NBC originally began as a scheme to sell more RCA radios, it soon became a profitable entity in and of itself.

NBC was the first permanent radio network, broadcasting primarily on the East Coast. It began with two networks: "red," which focused on entertainment and music, and "blue," which only carried news. This breakdown was duplicated on the West Coast a year later, in "orange" and "gold" with largely the same program lineup. The now universally identifiable NBC chime later debuted in 1929 as a way to fulfill a requirement by NBC's broadcast license to present its station identification.

NBC quickly became the broadcasting giant, earning nearly $2.2 million in profits in 1930 alone (roughly $31 million in 2014 dollars). The network was up against its main rival CBS, which began its own radio newscast just a few months after NBC. NBC’s success didn’t come without legal issues, however. In 1939, the newly formed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an antitrust investigation of the network. Four years after the FCC ordered RCA to get rid of NBC entirely, the company opted to sell off its entire “blue” network in 1943. That "blue" network would later become known as the American Broadcast Company (ABC).