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The Radio Corporation of America

The Radio Corporation of America (1919-1986) was organized as an American monopoly of radio technology by General Electric Company. After World War I, the United States Navy encouraged GE to buy the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America from its parent company in England. Its assets included the country’s only radio stations, hundreds of installations in ships, and incidentally, David Sarnoff.

Why? After all, Americans and their governments generally frown upon corporate monopolies, since they tend to restrict free enterprise, competition in the marketplace, and the innovations and lower prices that arise out of competition.

To answer that question, you should first explore answers to the questions below in the timeline and its links:

1. Where did radio technology come from?

2. What was radio, or wireless telegraphy, used for most often before 1920?

3. What technological competition did radio face at the time?

4. Why did the U. S. Navy want an American-owned, rather than British-owned, radio monopoly?




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