Monday, April 27, 2009

David Sarnoff

Sarnoff was a pioneer of both radio and television. In 1921, while working for the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), Sarnoff set out to try to get more radios into more homes in America by changing the content broadcast on these radios. Instead of focusing on just local news and content, he sought to deliver programs that held national interest. By developing such programs, Sarnoff lit the spark of national interest that turned radio into a national sensation. By using new technology to reach a much larger audience, the process of selling advertising became more lucrative for both the radio stations and the companies who advertised on them. This of course led to more money, more programs and better technology in the radio market.

The popularity of radio soon led RCA into television and Sarnoff again led the charge into this new technology. As president of RCA, Sarnoff invested significant resources into improving the television, even during the Great Depression, when research money was especially hard to come by. By 1941, Sarnoff’s hard work paid off and the National Broadcast Company (NBC) was launched as the first national television network

David Sarnoff was not a technology guru, nor was he the product of an Ivy League business program. His training was on-the-job training and he quickly recognized the value of the audience in any media endeavor. Sarnoff is credited with Sarnoff's law, which states that the value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers. This seems like an obvious concept now, but back when accessing additional customers was an extremely difficult undertaking, Sarnoff recognized that the benefits outweighed the costs before any of his rivals did.

Sarnoff bio
Sarnoff featured as one of Time's 100 most important people of the 20th Century

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