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Columbia Broadcasting System

aka CBS (Radio and Television)


January 21, 1927
United Independent Broadcasters is established by New York talent agent Arthur Judson after NBC refuses to sign any of his stars.

April 1927
United merges with Columbia Phonographic Manufacturing Company to form Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System.

September 18, 1927
Columbia goes on the air at 3 pm (EST) with a presentation by the Howard Barlow Orchestra from flagship station WOR (Newark, New Jersey) and 15 affiliates.

November 1927
Columbia buys Brooklyn station WABC, which becomes the new network's flagship station.
The station became WCBS in 1946.

September 25, 1928
William Paley buys Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System for $500,000 and shortens its name to Columbia Broadcasting System.

July 21, 1931
Columbia establishes W2XAB, an experimental television station, in New York City.

November 8, 1932
W2XAB broadcasts the first television coverage of presidential election returns.

Paley establishes an independent news division within Columbia.

March 12, 1938
Edward R. Murrow anchors news coverage of Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria, launching what became The CBS World News Roundup.

fall 1938
Columbia opens a studio in Hollywood to attract top movie talent to its network.
Columbia purchases the American Record Corporation and renames it Columbia Records.

October 30, 1938
Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre broadcasts The War of the Worlds.

Columbia hires Edmund A. Chester to serve as Director of Latin American Relations and Director of Short Wave Broadcasts.
In this capacity, Chester coordinated the development of the Network of the Americas with the Department of State, the Office for Inter-American Affairs, and Voice of America.

August 28, 1940
W2XAB transmits the first color television broadcast in the United States.

July 1, 1941
W2XAB becomes the second commercial television station in the United States, as WCBW.

Frank Stanton is promoted to president of Columbia Broadcasting System; Paley promotes himself to chairman of the board.

Paley signs former NBC talents Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Burns and Allen, Edgar Bergen, and Charlie McCarthy.

May 3, 1948
Douglas Edwards begins anchoring CBS Television News, the first regularly-scheduled national network television news program featuring an anchor.

CBS airs live television coverage of the United Nations General Assembly proceedings.

George Burns and Gracie Allen move their radio show to television.
Columbia begins buying and building television station outside of the New York City market.

The Columbia Broadcasting System debuts its "unblinking eye" logo.

Lucille Ball moves her radio series My Favorite Husband to television, as I Love Lucy.

The soap opera The Guiding Light makes the move from radio to television.
Our Miss Brooks begins airing on both radio and television.

Walter Cronkite becomes the anchor of CBS Television News, which is renamed CBS Evening News.

September 30, 1962
CBS ends its prime-time radio programming with finale episodes of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

The Columbia Broadcasting System formally changes its name to CBS, Inc.

Major shareholder Laurence Tisch assumes control of CBS.

November 1995
CBS, Inc. is bought by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Westinghouse acquires Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, merges it with CBS Radio, and spins it off as a subsidiary corporation.
Westinghouse acquires The Nashville Network and Country Music Television.
The cable channel CBS Eye on People is created.

December 1997
Westinghouse is officially renamed CBS Corporation.

CBS acquires King World Productions, owners of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Wheel of Fortune, etc.

CBS is acquired by Viacom.

Original Stations

WOR Newark (flagship)
WEAN Providence
WNAC Boston
WFBL Syracuse
WMAK Buffalo-Lockport
WCAU Philadelphia
WJAS Pittsburgh
WADC Akron
WAIU Columbia
WKRC Cincinati
WGHP Detroit
WMAQ Chicago
KMOX St. Louis
WCAO Baltimore
KOIL Council Bluffs
WOWO Fort Wayne

Notable Radio Programs

Beulah (1945-1952)
Camel Caravan
(variety show; 1933-1954)
Cavalcade of America (1935-1953)
Guiding Light (1947-1956)
My Favorite Husband (1948-1951)
Our Miss Brooks (1948-1957)
Radio Mystery Theater (1974-1982)
Take it or Leave It
(game show; 1940-1947)

Notable Television Series

48 Hours (1988- )
60 Minutes
(1968- )
All in the Family
Barnaby Jones
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Big Bang Theory
(2007- )
Big Brother
(2000- )
Blue Bloods
(2010- )
The Bob Newhart Show
Burns & Allen
(aka The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show; 1950-1958)
Cagney & Lacey
Cold Case
Criminal Minds
(2005- )
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
(2000- )
Designing Women
Diagnosis Murder
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
The Dukes of Hazzard
The Ed Sullivan Show
(2012- )
Everybody Loves Raymond
Falcon Crest
Family Matters
Good Times
The Good Wife
(2009- )
Green Acres
The Guiding Light
Hawaii Five-0
Hee Haw
How I Met Your Mother
I Love Lucy
Jake and the Fatman
The Jeffersons
Judging Amy
Kate & Allie
The King of Queens
Knots Landing
Late Show with David Letterman
(1993- )
Lou Grant
Magnum P.I.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Mayberry R.F.D.
The Mentalist
(2008- )
Murder, She Wrote
Murphy Brown
Nash Bridges
(2003- )
Our Miss Brooks (1952-1956)
Person of Interest
(2011- )
Petticoat Junction
Route 66
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Simon & Simon
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
(2000- )
Touched by an Angel
Two and a Half Men
(2003- )
Two Broke Girls
(2011- )
Walker, Texas Ranger
Without a Trace
WKRP in Cincinnati


Museum of Broadcast Communications

See Also

Orson Welles
Red Skelton

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The Robinson Library >> Telecommunication Industry

This page was last updated on September 13, 2018.