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    David Sarnoff

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    February 27, 1891 – December 12, 1971

    In 1906, David Sarnoff, a low-level teenage employee at the Commercial Cable Company, asked for an unpaid day off for Rosh Hashanah. His boss denied him, so Sarnoff quit.

    Now free to enjoy the sound of the shofar, Sarnoff took a job with the Marconi Telegraph Company. There, he was the one who communicated with the Titanic during the ship's fatal voyage. Promotions followed, and, when Marconi became the Radio Corporation of America, Sarnoff was lying in wait. One of the first to see the possibilities of mass communication with radio, he swiftly rose through the ranks to become president of RCA. Under Sarnoff's leadership, the company quickly became America's broadcast leader.

    But radio couldn't contain Sarnoff. He saw the next big thing: TV, funding the work of inventor Vladimir Zworykin (while fighting off another inventor, Philo Farnsworth). At the end, Sarnoff and Zworykin succeeded, leading to the first American TV network: RCA spinoff NBC.

    Oh, but Sarnoff didn't end there. The next step was color television, and once again he spearheaded development. Sure, as throughout his career, there were people stepped over and enemies made, but sometimes the ends justify the means?

    And just to think how the history of broadcasting would have changed if that boss let Sarnoff have the day off...

    Verdict: Jew.

    April 29, 2014

    See Also

    Milton Berle

    Peter Goldmark

    Norman Lear

    Boris Rosing

    Charles Steinmetz
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