The Birth of RCA


This episode is sponsored by ADT ADT can design and install smart home. Just for you backed by twenty four seven protection, you can have all sorts of automated settings for example, you could have the worry free getaway service, ADT automation arms your system locks up and set slept lighting schedules while you are on vacation. So it looks like you're still at home ADT sets everything up for you, including locks lights garage door control even video doorbells. Brought to you by ADT smart security designed and installed just for you. Visit ADT dot com slash podcasts. Get in touch with technology with tech stuff from house networks dot com. Hey there in welcome to tech stuff. I'm your host Jonathan Strickland. I'm an executive producer with how stuff works and iheartradio in the love all things tech. And while I was preparing for CAS twenty nineteen which I am getting ready to to travel to as I'm recording. This. I'm agreeing list the Friday before I jump on a plane and head out to Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, I read a lot of emails from a lot of different companies, and they're all attempting to entice me to go to a particular part of CAS to see their booth or their presentation, or maybe even to a hotel suite off the exhibition floor because you know, some companies will rent out a suite of rooms rather than secure exhibition space for lots of reasons. That's neither here nor there. Anyway, one of these companies the ones that sent me these emails was our CA, and the thing that really caught my eye is that in twenty nineteen RCA. Is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary RCA has been a really important company in technology for lots of different reasons. Not just consumer tech and RCA is responsible directly for two of the big broadcast networks in the United States and indirectly is responsible for the third. I thought I would explore the history of this company and what it's been through during the century of its existence. So this is the first episode where we're going to talk about the formation of RCA. But of course, this also means that I'm going to be doing a lot of backtracking because while RCA which was an initial ISM originally for Radio Corporation of America. It would become an established company in nineteen nineteen the history actually dates further back. So we've gotta talk about some other companies and some politics and some other big issues that would lead to the formation the founding. Ng of RCA. So let's go back to the eighteen hundreds in the late nineteenth century invention and innovation were rapidly. Changing the world you had the industrial revolution. And it had altered the way we do work at impacted the price of goods things became cheaper. Because it was easier to make a heck a lot more of just about everything people had more time on their hands. And at the same time, you had engineers and inventors who are experimenting with stuff like electrobi- and magnetism and radio waves entrepreneurs from around the world, some of them inventors other just business not just but others of business minded people who saw opportunity through the invention of others began to form corporations that could exploit these discoveries for profit. And they included companies like the American Telephone and telegraph company also known as AT and T also General Electric, which grew. Out of several companies one of which was founded by Thomas, Edison, himself, and many more the discovery of radio waves, and the technology that would allow humans to produce transmit and receive radio waves in a meaningful way is beyond the scope of these episodes. Besides I've talked about that a lot in earlier episodes of tech stuff. You can search the archives there tons of episodes where I talk about radio waves and the history of radio, but by the early nineteen hundreds there were a dozen or so radio operating stations in the United States. Several of these stations were owned by foreign companies and almost all of them were dedicated to transmitting signals using Morse code. So this wasn't about radio stations playing the top forty or anything like that. At this stage. These were communications stations they were meant to transmit signals from one place to another to send communications across the nation. It was sort of analogous to the telephone infrastructure. So not meant as entertainment or news source, the telephone companies had not yet entered into this business at this point these were all individual enterprises, some of which were getting pretty large and the biggest of all of them was the American Marconi company named after Marconi the guy who gets the credit for inventing radio. That is the transmission technology of radio, though, that is of course, a matter of great dispute in certain academic circles Nikola, tesla would be the other name that gets thrown around in that. And for good reason, tesla was awarded a patent early on and that patent would eventually get overturned in favor of Marconi's under somewhat shady circumstances. Anyway in the summer of nineteen fourteen war broke out in Europe somewhat optimistic. People were calling it the war to end all wars. But now, we call it World War. One thus optimism did not win out now while the United States initially maintained a neutral status during the war. The US government was already making preparations in the event that the nation would be pulled into the conflict and part of that wasn't executive order. That was signed by Woodrow Wilson on August fifth nineteen fourteen that executive order authorized, the United States navy department to censor international. Telegraph messages that were sent by radio firms, the largest of which was the Marconi company now Marconi company challenged the legality of this executive order saying this is censorship. You can't do. It. Legal battles would follow and the navy would ultimately shutdown. Marconi radio transmission station for three months until the company agreed to follow regulations in January nineteen fifteen eventually. Even this was thought to be too risky and the United States government, effectively took over the American Marconi company. And the American Marconi company was technically it was a subsidiary. It was a subsidiary of a company that had its headquarters in England. So the US government says we want to maintain Neutra neutrality. We cannot have stations that are located in the United States, sending messages on behalf of one or another of the parties that are at war in Europe because that would seem to suggest that we are on a particular side, and we want to stay out of this. So the US says in order to do this. We're going to take over your assets. They're not yours anymore. They're ours. Boo. Now at the end of the war, the United States still had those assets of the American Marconi company and the government needed a way to offload them. They didn't want to keep them. They also wanted to ensure. That those assets would remain under American control. They didn't want foreign nations to have access to critical communications technologies with on you know, on US soil. So the government approached a group of companies that included General Electric, which would become the dominant partner in this group, Westinghouse AT and T western electric and United fruit company. And if you're like me, your reaction to that last partner was probably hang on. Did he say United fruit company, and indeed Idid that company has a complex and controversial history? It was involved in various levels of government in many regions across the world, particularly in central and South America, and the Caribbean, and it was operating as an effective monopoly in a lot of places has a lot of a lot of time. With colonization. So there are a lot of negative things that kind of tie into this company's history. But in nineteen thirteen the United fruit company had established the tropical radio and telegraph company, which is kind of what brought it up as a potential partner for this enterprise. So anyway, these partners all got together, and they formed the Radio Corporation of America or see a in nineteen nineteen. It was essentially a government sanctioned monopoly in the radio industry in the United States. The companies all pooled their patents together in a series of cross licensing agreements to avoid any conflicts of having one company attempt to leverage its essential patents over the other partners in the operation of our c- as business, so essentially they were all saying here are all the patented technologies that we have at our disposal that relate to radio transmission technologies. We wanna make sure that we're not creating impediments for our. See a to do business to head up this company the partners chose a guy named David Sarnoff Sarnoff himself had a really interesting history. He was born in Russia in eighteen ninety one. But his family immigrated to America in nineteen hundred he had started working as a messenger. Boy for a telegraph company in nineteen oh six and he became a telegraph operator for the American Marconi company. A couple years later legend has it that he picked up the distress calls from the Titanic in nineteen twelve while working in the radio station that was owned by John Wanamaker, but the truth appears to be that Sarnoff had instead picked up signals of rescue ships that were responding to the Titanic's distress call. And then he relayed that information to the local press in New York. He was promoted to chief inspector of American Marconi a few years later, and he wrote a memo in nineteen sixteen in which he proposed building radios for home. Consumers and he called it a radio music box. So this is before the days of commercial radio. But he had thought this technology has the potential to bring culture, entertainment news, all sorts of stuff into the American Home. Through transmission, if we want to pursue that this was in the days when only amateur radio enthusiasts had any access to radio equipment outside of the professional industry. The otherwise the only places you would find it are in these radio stations where they were acting almost like telegraph operators. So he would then become the commercial manager for RCA eventually become the general manager. And then further down the line. The CEO Sarnoff was a really am businessman. He was also really good at self promotion, and who is also really good at sensing the potential impact of radio broadcast technology as well as related technologies like television broadcast. Sts which I'll talk more about in the next episode in the early days of our c- as history, it mainly did two things it operated, the various radio stations which were still almost exclusively transmitting messages in Morse code, and it sold radio equipment manufactured by the various companies that had formed our CA while this was intended to build out a communications infrastructure similar to the telephone system. Something else was happening at the same time that changed the course of the industry, and that something was the rise of amateur radio operators, the United States had banned amateur radio during World War One saying that they needed to have those radio waves free for communications. But the the government lifted that ban on October first nineteen nineteen and more. People were interesting radio communication and setting up their own radio receivers at home, the rise in amateur radio encouraged Sarnoff and gave credence to that idea. He had proposed a few years earlier. About his radio music box will during World War One. There were some hints at what would become the standard for commercial radio in use by the military in nineteen eighteen a publication called the wireless age featured a short range system that could broadcast news and music to hospitals to entertain convalescing soldiers, for example, on the technology front companies were exploring ways to make radio receivers. More compact in less expensive to make radio signals loud enough for commercial radio to be practical. Those radios would have to have amplification and so companies began investing in research and development to improve vacuum to manufacturing processes to make radios. Ab- radical consumer item before the transistor the vacuum tube was your primary way of taking in an incoming weak signal and boosting it to a stronger outgoing signal an amplifier in other words, I have more to say about the early days of RCA. But first, let's take. A quick break to thank our sponsor. Hey, guys. I wanna talk to you about the online furniture shopping company joy bird, because I recently got a chair from joy bird, and I am incredibly pleased with the experience not only was it seamless the furniture itself is gorgeous. And it's comfortable. It is a wonderful accent to the room that we put it in. We put it in our guest room. We got the Soto chair from joy bird in lucky turquoise. And my wife said immediately, you did a really good job picking this out. Will I didn't do that job joy bird? Did they have an incredible selection of different pieces of furniture? They are made with precision and care. They use responsibly sourced materials, and they have a three hundred sixty five day home trial. You can see how joy bird is revolutionizing online furniture shopping. Just go to create the for. Furniture that brings you joy today at joy bird dot com slash tech stuff. Go to joy dot com slash tech stuff and receive an exclusive offer for twenty five percent off your first order by using the code tech stuff. And so as RCA oversaw radio stations transmitting communications across vast distances and various companies began to work toward a goal of building. Consumer radios. The race was on for the first true commercial radio station, and it wouldn't be RCA to launch it. Instead Westinghouse applied for a license to operate such a transmission station, they applied to the US government. And received permission in nineteen twenty Westinghouse was in the business of manufacturing radios, but demand for radios was lagging behind and so leaders at the company reason that one way to increase demand would be to create programming. Now today that seems pretty clear that if you want to sell a technology to someone a technology that allows people to access content you need to create content for people to access otherwise. They just have useless tool. But this was a big step in nineteen twenty radio had mainly been used as point to point communication at that. At that stage. It's just that the points were undefined because there were no wires. So you had a receiver that could pick up a signal that would be a point. So this would open up the possible uses for radio and allow them to become entertainment devices. It was precisely the stuff Sarnoff had been saying in his memo back in nineteen sixteen Westinghouse approached a ham radio operator named Dr Frank Conrad who had already been playing records over the radio for some of his other amateur radio operator, friends and on November second nineteen twenty Westinghouse launched K D K A L of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was the first commercial radio station Sarnoff had been working on his own approach receiving the blessing of the companies that founded our CA to do. So they gave him some funds. So that he could pursue this and on July. Nineteen twenty one Sarnoff showed off the market potential for radio by broadcasting a boxing match between Jack Dempsey, and George Carpentier Dempsey was a celebrated US champion Carpentier was a boxing hero in France. And he had a reputation for knocking out British champions. So this was a super hyped event. Back in nineteen twenty one Dempsey would win by knockout in the fourth round. And the broadcast was a sensational hit our CA began to sell more radio receivers to customers and radio stations began popping up all over the United States. The first radio commercial on record happened in August, nineteen twenty two when a New York real estate developer. Aired an ad in New York City two years later in nineteen twenty four there were more than six hundred commercial radio stations in the United States, these were mostly independent stations. And that's when RCA made a really big move in the industry. Partnering with Westinghouse and AT and T RCA formed a new company called the national broadcasting company or in B C, which had its first broadcast on November fifteenth nineteen twenty six the concept was that NBC would produce material for broadcast, which would then be sent out over different radio stations in different regions with the stations being part of the overall network, which was a new idea the time, you know, create your your content in a central location and then distribute it using these various radio stations that was revolutionary NBC had to Simi independent networks under its governance shortly after it was formed so it split off. It's it's operations into two networks. One was called the blue network and one was called the red network. So yet NBC blue and NBC writ. The center of the blue network was a radio station called w Jay z which had been founded by Westinghouse in. In nineteen twenty one the center for the red network was a station called W E A F which was founded by AT and T in nineteen Twenty-three while all this was going on Sarnoff was already looking at the potential future of television in nineteen twenty four RCA transmitted the first transatlantic radio photo from New York to London. This is before the invention of electronic televisions when the early prototype TV's were largely mechanical in nature, and I talked about that in the history of television episodes on tech stuff. So there was a limited market for mechanical televisions. They really didn't make a lot of progress in the consumer market. They were very expensive. They are very complicated. And they had limited successful results. Let's say, but the real boon would come when inventors began to create electric televisions, and that wouldn't begin until the late nineteen twenty s and when we talk about commercial TV's your timeout. Two more decades on top of that. Now, this is not entirely a happy story in nineteen twenty nine Sarnoff met with an engineer at Westinghouse named Vladimir Zorkin. And if you've listened to my episodes about the origins of television, you knows working is one of two inventors who typically get the title of inventor of television. The other would be Filo Farnsworth Sarnoff convinced Westinghouse to fund Zorkin's work, and in nineteen thirty RCA would take over the research as work would actually go over to our CEO as well become an RCA employee Sarnoff seeing the power of patents wanted to run out of business any person or company he felt was Horning in on his action. And so in nineteen thirty two RCA would file a patent suit against Filo Farnsworth. The case would last seven years ultimately Farnsworth would win that case. RCA would have to pay fines and royalties to. But by that time, his health was in shambles. He had had a nervous breakdown from all the stress, and I'm going to get back to Sarnoff litigious ways throughout these episodes. But bouncing back to nineteen twenty nine for a moment. So this is before all of the legality issues with Farnsworth. I need to talk about another company that would play a very important part in our see as early history. Now, if you heard my episodes about the history of turntables, you'll remember the early days of the phonograph and the graph own and the gramophone I covered a little bit of the turbulent patent battles in the cutthroat business strategies that are all part of the early days of home audio and I'll have to do a more in depth series in the future to really focus on it. Because it gets nasty all but the Victor talking machine company was born directly out of all that strife now since this is not an episode about Victor. I'm just. To give you the super short version, which let's face it. I'm Jonathan Strickland of tech stuff super short for me as a lecture for anybody else. But let's go with it. The Berliner gramophone company of Philadelphia. Founded by Emile Berliner was the company that really was the focus of this. This strife Berliner gets the credit for inventing. The first flat disc record before his invention engineers would press recordings onto cylinders. So you had these cylinders that you had put on a spool essentially that would then rotate, and you could play it back on of various devices the discs were much easier to store, right? You didn't have as much space as much bulk as a cylinder dead. There were easier to ship and wants the manufacturing process was refined. They lasted a lot longer than cylinders did as well. It took a while to get the right materials. But once they did those disks just seemed more practical Berliner made a deal. Deal with an enterprising manufacturer and machinist named Eldridge. R Johnson Johnson developed a wind up spring motor for Berliners gramophones now previously those gramophones had relied on hand cranks. So you'd literally turn a crank which would then turn the gears inside the device and turn the platter. So that you could listen to the disk being played back on the gramophone Johnson. Did good work. He created a spring motor that worked reliably, but Berliner would enter into a sales agreement with a man named Frank seaman, and this would lead to massive trouble. Frankie wanted more money for himself and eventually began to sell knockoffs of Berliners works while simultaneously bringing legal action much of its spurious in nature against both Berliner and Johnson the process eventually prevented Berliner from selling gramophones in the United States and nearly bankrupted. Both Berliner and Johnson in the process, and this was infuriating to them. I mean, they were the ones who had created this technology and now this salesman. They had worked with was claiming that they were the ones infringing on his patents, his ideas and his trade secrets, but in nineteen oh, one Johnson Berliner and some other entrepreneurs got together and founded a new consolidated company that took Berliners facilities and Johnson's manufacturing plants as the basis for the new organization, and this was the Victor talking machine company which incorporated on October third nineteen o one. So the Victor talking machine company was older than the Radio Corporation of America. That would not be born until nineteen nineteen but Sarnoff looked at the Victor talking machine company and thought this is a way I could sell more radios, I could take this company and take their product the the gramophone. Essentially, although they didn't call it that in the United States like they couldn't that. They started calling it things like the Victoria, those one that the Victor company made I can take that I can incorporate a radio into the design of those machines sell it as a new product and sell more radios this way, also just as a quick aside. The Victor trademark is one of the more famous ones in business history shows a dog specifically a FOX terrier sitting in front of a gramophone horn. And the dog's head is tilted slightly from a painting, titled his master's voice and the artist was Francis borrowed, and it was made in eighteen ninety nine the dog was named Nipper and once belonged to Borodin's nephew, Mark, Mark had tragically passed away. And then Francis sawn Nipper one day sitting near gramophone with his head cocked. And that led Francis. To wonder what the dog's reaction would be if they had happened to be playing a recording of. Of his old master, Mark speaking that was the expression for the painting. They tried selling the painting as a magazine illustration to no avail, and ultimately sold it to the gramophone company for the princely sum of one hundred pounds. Sterling Johnson got permission from the gramophone company to use it for his products under the Victor company and Berliner trademark the design at some point transferred that trademark over to the Victor company. The whole story is super fascinating. And I'm sure I'll devote a future episode to the Victor talking machine company. But for now, let's remember that it started in nineteen Ninety-one. And even though it grew out of an older company. And then would eventually get incorporated into our CA. I'll explain more in just a moment. But first, let's take another quick break to thank our sponsor. Hey, guys. I wanna talk to you about the online furniture shopping company joy bird, because I recently got a chair from joy bird, and I am incredibly pleased with the experience not only was it seamless the furniture itself is gorgeous. And it's comfortable. It is a wonderful accent to the room that we put it in. We put it in our guest room. We got the Soto chair from joy bird and lucky turquoise. And my wife said immediately, you did a really good job picking this out. Will I didn't do that job joy bird? Did they have an incredible selection of different pieces of furniture? They are made with precision and care. They use responsibly sourced materials, and they have a three hundred sixty five day home trial. You can see how joy bird is revolutionizing online furniture shopping. Just go to create the furniture. That brings you joy today at joy bird dot com slash tech stuff. Go to joy dot com slash tech stuff and receive an exclusive offer for twenty five percent off your first order by using the code tech stuff guys. Let me talk to you a little bit about turbo tax live. I don't know about you. But for me, nothing really cranks up my in Zion, easy, like tax time. I'm always worried I'm going to do it incorrectly. We'll turbo tax live is a new way to do taxes. It combines technology with on demand tax professionals who can answer your questions and offer personalized advice. I'm talking about real CPA's really as they can help you with your return. They can help you find all the deductions that apply to you. And you can file your taxes and know that you're doing them correctly their tax experts are there when you need them. So you can file with complete peace of mind. Turbo tax live with CPA's and as under. Amand? See details at turbo tax dot com. The acquisition of the Victor talking machine company met that RCA was now getting into the consumer electronics business. Keep in mind up until nineteen twenty nine are see was primarily in the business of operating radio broadcast stations and selling what was -ffective -ly industrial equipment. But now RCA owned the company that had created the icon Vitrolles machine, and they created a subsidiary company called RCA, Victor that company also took a majority ownership in the Japan Victor company, which is also known as J V C also in nineteen twenty nine Arcadio radio. Pictures released a film called syncopation which relied upon a new technique called RC a photo phone, which is not to be confused with the technology developed by Alexander Graham, Bell that was also called photo phone now, this was a technique of recording audio onto film for the purposes of synchronization. Sized visuals and audio in other words away of making talking pictures and the formation of archaic pictures at self is a great story that ties directly into our history of our CA. So the development of the RCA photo phone technology date back to the early nineteen twenty s there was a man named Charles a husky who was working on recording audio to photographic film as a project for General Electric, which you'll remember was one of the founding partners that created our CA. Now hawks these work, and that time was more about preserving audio recordings for playback, not necessarily as a way of creating talking pictures, but just recording audio in itself, but by the mid twenties General Electric was thinking about applying hawks he's work in the direction of talking pictures. Now, the desire to match sound to moving images dated back to the earliest moving pictures. Edison himself worked on this challenge. And a lot of different companies were taking various approaches. To this problem. So for example, Warner Brothers had created a system called vita phone vita phone, you would record a soundtrack onto a disk similar to in L P record when you're ready to play the film. You would synchronize the film playback with the audio from the disk. So that was a pretty primitive approach, but it was how some early talking pictures were made including the first one the jazz singer, which debuted in nineteen twenty seven RCA photo phone used a totally different approach. The sound was recorded in a narrow band on the side of the frame of film. Some actual photo reactive film. The band would be out of you. When the film was put through a projector. There was a frame on a projector that covers up the edges of the film. And the audio track is on one of those edges. The wits of this strip on the side of the film varies with the frequency of the sound. That was record. Id onto the film. So essentially if sound that's transmitted into a microphone, it is turned into an electric signal which in turn is used to treat this this federal to film. So that it has this record of the frequency. It's almost like a wave form if you were to think of that, you know, in the modern sense if you were to look at an audio file on a audio editing software. So then when you're playing it back. You have a bright lamp that shines light through this narrow strip. And you have a photo sell that picks up the light that's coming through, and it generates an electric current that matches the amount of light that's hitting the photo cell, and that signal goes to a pre amplifier, which can then boost the signal strength. So it can go to an amplifier. And then ultimately speakers the lamp for reading this optical sound. And the photo cell are not in the same position. As the projection lamp, though, it just get in the way. So. This is actually it creates something of a challenge. It means that the soundtrack is offset from the actual frames of the film itself. The soundtrack is either running a little ahead or a little behind the action of the film, depending upon the method that was actually used so in playback, it's all synchronized because if you as you put the fell through the right type of projector. The audio track gets read through the audio system at the same time as the video or the film rather the images are being projected through the projection lamp, and I'll get synchronized together so in playback, synchronized. But if you were to look at the film itself, like if you took the film out of the projector, then you held it up to the light. And you saw where the audio track is the audio. You're looking at would not be the audio that occurs in synchronisation with the image. You're looking at the advantage of that approach was. That all the synchronization would be done beforehand. You didn't have to set up a disk and a film in separate chambers to try and match up to each other. It was all in one piece of film, but the format itself changed several times sometimes with the optical soundtrack running ahead of the actions of us behind the action. This meant that movie theaters had to invest in different equipment to play back those films properly because if you put in a film where the soundtrack ran a little ahead of the action, but you put it in a projector that was designed to run a film that had the audio a little behind the action. You would have terrible experiences because the audio would not be at all synchronized with what was happening on screen. It would just be a total mess. This ended up creating kind of a format war that waged in the late twenties after RCA's approach debuted. It was not the only audio on film format and it also did bad. With the via phone approach where it was the the recorded two disc version now on the production side, if you were making films, it also changed how movies were made because if you watch some of the early films with sound like some of the first films that had sound in it, you might notice. People don't move very much shots are pretty static actors tend to remain in place. Well, this was largely because of the limitations of these sound recording equipment at the time microphones were large and bulky and typically Omni directional actors needed to be close to the microphones. So that they could be heard clearly, but they also couldn't move around very much because the microphones would pick up everything. So you just have a love noise the cameras themselves which had been motorized in the late nineteen twenties to create a standard frame rate of twenty four frames per second. That was necessary in order to have reliable sound playback. Those cameras made a lot of noise to in those early. Days and that could get picked up by the microphones. So as a result, the common practice was to put the cameras in enclosed somewhat soundproofed chambers. The camera man a camera operator, if you prefer would be inside that chamber with the camera, and they would be isolated from the rest of the set. So that the sound wouldn't leak through they were jokingly referred to as iceboxes I say jokingly because it would actually get scorchingly hot inside those as the cameras were running, and it limited what you could do with a camera, you could pan the camera a little bit on tripod. But that was about it. And so early talkies typically don't have very much movement or action in them, which was a big change from the early days of silent films because in those days actors would make these really big dramatic movements in an effort to tell a story because they could not be heard another thing that would change was that in the early days film, crews captured audio and images on the same film at the same time. Time. So in other words, the audio and images were both being directly recorded to the same strip of photographic film. This made editing really tricky. Because again, the audio track wasn't indirect line with the images. It was running a little head or a little behind. So you couldn't just snip film to create a transition or cut out a mistake because the audio wasn't lined up directly with whatever was happening in the image. And that would eventually changed when the industry began to capture images and audio separately and would only combine them after the editing process to create a master print the audio track and the images were still offset. But you could at least make edits to the film without messing up the soundtrack, and you could do the same to the audio track without messing up the film RCA's photo phone would go up against not only the vita phone system from Warner Brothers. But another sound on film system called movie tone movie tone came from a western electric subsidiary called. Electrical research products, Inc, or E, R P. I that's this time was the dominant one when RCA was ready to debut photo phone. So again, the company goes out and says what can we do to really compete in this market again idea? Let's make a new company. So they go out they purchased the Keith Albee orpheum chain of theatres that was a chain of the Inter's. That wasn't wasn't just motion picture theaters. But also vaudeville the enters as well. So our C goes out and buys this company that owns these multiple theaters. And then they merged that company with another company they buy called film, booking offices of America or F B O and the merger of these two acquisitions becomes the radio, Keith orpheum or are K O pictures company, so RCA created an entirely new corporation in order to put its motion picture audio format onto the market. And it worked photo phone would eventually evolve into the industry standard, pretty audacious move. And not the last one from RCA in our next episode. We will continue this story to talk about how our a weathered the great, depression, and what it was doing during World War Two. If you guys have suggestions for future episodes of tech stuff. Let me know semi an Email. The address is tech stuff at how stuff works dot com or head over to our website. That's tech stuff podcast dot com. You'll see the archive of older episodes. They're in different ways to contact us, including on social media. Don't forget to visit our merchandise store. That's not public dot com slash tech stuff. Remember every purchase? You make goes to help the show and we greatly. Appreciate it. And I'll talk to again releasing. For more on this and bathrooms of other topics. Visit how stuff works out com. Hey, guys wanna tell you about a brand new show called the brink. This is a podcast that's been in the works for a really long time. And the hosts are well, there is a handsome devil Nate Jonathan Strickland and his good friend Ariel cast. And together we bring to you stories about big moments in business that were make or break situations. And what happens when people have to make that pivotal decision. In some cases, things turn around and company that was on the verge of extinction will find a new life and be rejuvenated and everything's happy. Sometimes things don't go. So well, and we learn about those stories as well. So if you've ever wanted to know the human stories behind some of those big moments and business make sure you check out the brink. Listen and follow on the. Iheartradio app or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Coming up next