David Sarnoff was born in Russia on February 27, 1891 and came to New York in 1900. He joined the American Marconi Company in 1906 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a wireless telegraph operator and later assistant chief engineer and chief inspector. In 1912, Sarnoff was one of a number of wireless operators to receive and send out reports on the sinking of the Titanic.
When American Marconi was sold to General Electric in 1919, Sarnoff joined the newly formed Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Here, Sarnoff advocated his plans to make radio "a ‘household utility’ in the same sense as the piano or phonograph."
That vision came true in 1926, when RCA purchased WEAF/New York and launched the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the first radio network in America. By 1930, Sarnoff had become president of RCA and NBC had split into two networks, the Red and the Blue. The Blue Network later became ABC Radio.
During Sarnoff’s tenure at RCA, the company developed extensive research facilities to explore new broadcasting technologies. Sarnoff retired from RCA in 1970.
David Sarnoff died on December 12, 1971.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.