America's history through the lens of 20th century broadcast media
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NBC's Radio Cities - The Art and Architecture of the National Broadcasting Company
When the National Broadcasting Company began operation on November 15, 1926 radio, as a national phenomenon, was barely four years old. With studios hastily assembed for the new network, NBC and the radio industry grew together -- significantly. Outgrowing its initial headquarters, the network began to envision new facilities that both reflected NBC's self-image of primacy in radio as companion with radio's surging importance in national life.
NBC's vision was to create a Radio City which was constructed at New York's Rockefeller Center It was a bold architectural statement. While Radio City New York is fairly well-known, NBC's creation of other Radio Cities has been largely forgotten. While NBC's Chicago studios, in the Merchandise Mart, were never given the Radio City name, NBC constructed Radio Cities in Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Los Angeles' Radio City was by far the more elaborate of these post-New York Radio Cities but all embodied the streamline moderne designs which NBC made famous in Radio City New York.
NBC's architectural influence was significant. Countless radio studios and transmitter buildings across America were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s emulating NBC's architecture, all expressions of radio's futuristic sense and bold purpose.
"The Art and Architecture of the National Broadcasting Company" chronicles NBC's studio facilities in the Radio Cities it constructed (and Chicago).