An Industry Called Broadcasting

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How did television develop into an industry?

An Industry Called Broadcasting

The first daily schedule in American television history belonged to a CBS station in New York City, W2XCR. Among its claims to fame was broadcasting the first televised wedding in 1931. Yet television remained a largely experimental medium, restricted to a few thousand electronics enthusiasts, until after World War II.

By that time, American television makers and station owners were able to refer to a broadcast standard set by the National Television System Committee in an effort to impose order on the array of different technologies that had evolved. The NTSC standard remains in use in broadcasting to this day.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began handing out television licenses to communities, leading to a boom in sales of television sets and demand for television programming. Half of all households in the U.S. had television sets by 1955.

For several decades, TV was dominated by three commercial networks, NBC, CBS and ABC. More recently, smaller networks, such as Fox, have evolved to challenge the "Big Three," which have also faced major competition from cable television. Cable TV stations, like CNN and MSNBC, have gotten into the mix, each bringing a different perspective to the American audience. With these varying opinions, the history of TV has changed because more views are being expressed and even creating controversy at times.

   

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