Major Communication Corporations: CBS Essay

Major Communication Corporations: CBS Essay

The CBS Broadcasting Inc referred to as CBS is a television network based in America. The CBS was formerly known as the Colombia Broadcasting System and hence the name CBS. CBS was founded by William S. Paley after he bought the United Independent Broadcasters Inc which comprised of sixteen radio stations in 1928 and then renamed it to Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1927 Columbia bought a small Brooklyn station that was known as WABC and this later became the flagship station of CBS. The other stations that were owned by CBS were WBBM Chicago, KNX Los Angeles and WJSV Washington among others. In 1928 Paramount Pictures invested a lot in CBS but this came to an end in 1929 when the stock market crashed and this forced Paramount Pictures to sell back its shares to CBS in 1932 (Barry, 2004). In the early 1930s the CBS launched an independent news division that was made possible by Paley’s vice-president ED Klauber together with the news director Paul White (Gates and Gary, 1978). Another contributor in the early days of CBS was Edward R. Murrow who made CBS become the network that reported news on the spot. In 1938 CBS bought the American Record Corporation which was the owner of the former investor of CBS, Columbia Records.

The other major contributor in CBS was Edmund A. Chester who was recruited to serve as the Director of Latin American Relations and he came up with the Network of the Americas which was a major merger between; Office of Inter-American Affairs, Department of State and the Voice of America. This network provided very important news and other cultural programs around the South and the Central America during t6he time of the World War One and also ensured there was diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the other countries in the continent that were less developed. In the 1950 CBS only owned one television station but it ventured a lot into the radio. In the late 1950s and early 1960s most of the radio programs moved to the television and therefore there was need for CBS to expand its television stations.

Due to a lot of competition from RCA, CBS then bought Hytron Laboratories in 1939 and this enabled it to shift to color broadcasting. The color broadcasting that CBS offered was rejected by the FCC as it was not in line with the black and white conditions that had been set by RCA. In 1950 after the Second World War CBS then began to buy or build its own television stations in Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities around the United States. The first live television coverage to be offered by the CBS was in 1949 when it covered the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly of the year 1949; this was under Edmund A. Chester who was the then director for News, sorts and special events. Between the years 1955 and 1976 CBS then dominated in the television broadcast as it had earlier in the radio broadcast. In the mid 1970s the CBS was then removed from the first position in television broadcasting by the ABC. Frank Stanton was the CBS President between 1946 and 1971 and he was a man who admired real art and in 1936 when CBS bought KNX which was a Los Angeles station he ordered that an architect be hired to create Columbia square (Benjamin and Burton, 1988).

CBS_TV was the first color television but it later lost to RCA in 1953 because the color system was not compatible with the black and white TV sets that most of the population owned. In the early 1960s CBS-TV adapted a system that allowed it to transmit all its programs in black and white apart from a few commercials and the client had to pay for them. The first CBS host to transmit his program in color was Red Skelton by the use of his converted movie studio which he tried to urge the CBS network to adapt to other programs but he did not succeed and therefore he was forced to sell it. In 1967 the NBC acquired “the wizard of Oz” which was been aired by CBS because CBS became reluctant to meet the increasing rights to air the program, but it later recognized the mistake and in 1976 the Oz was back to the CBS.

By the end of the 1960 CBS was advertising almost all of its programs in color but many felt that its shows were more appealing to the older and the rural people and less to the urban and the young people who were the targets for most of the advertisements. Fred Silverman then cancelled all those shows by the end of 1971 but after his departure from CBS it then lagged behind ABC during the 1976-77 seasons although it was still rated as a strong network (Microsoft Encarta, 2009). CBS again started ruling in the broadcasting industry in 1982 because the ABC was out of steam while NBC had very many failed programming efforts. During the period of 1988 and 1989 CBS was ranked behind the ABC and NBC and therefore there was need to carry out a major rebuilding at CBS, under the leadership of the then President of the network Jeff Sagansky the network was able to get very strong ratings from the new shows that it started airing (city news service, 2009).

Some of the latest developments of the CBS are that in the year 1997 Westinghouse changed its name to CBS Corporation and the moved its headquarters to New York City. In 1998 CBS expanded its broadcasting empire by acquiring American Radio Corporation which owned more than 90 radio stations. In 1999 CBS Acquired the King World Productions which was well known television syndication because of its programs like “oprah winfrey show.” In 1999 CBS became the second largest entertainment company in the world after Viacom Inc acquired CBS Corporation. In 2004 the FCC imposed a fine of $550, 000 on CBS because of broadcasting a show where the breast of singer Janet Jackson was exposed. Following this event CBS apologized to its viewers claiming that it had no prior knowledge of the event as the show was a live broadcast. In 2004 CBS encountered another embarrassment when it was forced to apologize because of a report it released that purported to show that the then president of the USA George W Bush had failed to obey an order that required him to appear for a medical examination during his time as a member of the Texas Air National Guard (CBS News 2004). This report was led by Dan Rather who after CBS decided that it could not authenticate the evidence apologized for the mistake. In the year 2006 the CBS separated from Viacom and took the radio network and Simon &Schuster. CBS now owns a very large television library that extends to a period of more than six decades and it includes all its programs and also those of the competing networks ( After the separation of CBS and Viacom the two companies are still owned by Summer Redstone’s company. CBS is the most watched network in the United States due to some of its programs like the CSI and the survivor (Lynette, 2009). CBS has also partnered with Wetpaint which is a “wiki farm” company.


Barry Mishkind (2/14/03), the CBS section of The Broadcast Archive, CBS history, Available online, URL:

Benjamin, Burton. Fair Play: CBS, General Westmorland, and How a Television Documentary Went Wrong. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.

CBS Corporation,” Microsoft® Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2009, available online, URL: © 1997-2009 Microsoft Corporation.

CBS Ousts For Bush Guard Story, Independent Panel Faults ‘Myopic Zeal’ To Be 1st To Deliver Story – CBS News, 2004

CBS official website,, retrieved on 30th June 2009 at 11:42

City News Services, (June 2009), CBS reruns beat new ABC, NBC programs, latimes periodical available online, URL: tvratingstext24 2009jun24,0,1843310.story, retrieved on 30 June 2009 at 12:23

Gates and Gary Paul (1978), Air Time: The Inside Story of CBS News. New York: Harper & Row,

Lynette Rice, 2009, CBS falls premieres: Early ‘survivor” bow, ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ debut set, News brief, Available online, URL: http://news, retrieved on 30th June 2009 at 12:56

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