2019 - CENTENNIAL
RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA (RCA)
INCORPORATED OCTOBER 17, 1919
In November 1919, RCA acquired the assets of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, which then ceased doing business in the US.
At the outset, RCA consisted of only five radio stations, in various stages of completion, and Chatham was one of them. Chatham would later become RCA's flagship coastal station WCC, known as
"Marine Radio Central".
WA1WCC is commemorating the founding of RCA in a year-long celebration.
Watch for WA1WCC/100RCA and W1WIM/100RCA
on the bands during 2019.
The 1919 Story
The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. of America, a subsidiary of British Marconi, from the time of its inception until the US entered World War One had never been able to give a reliable trans-Atlantic radio service. By the end of the war the aging technology that Marconi pioneered had become obsolete.
The latest state-of-the-art radio apparatus was in the hands of the General Electric Company (GE), the US industrial giant, and Marconi needed that technology in order to be competitive in the post-war climate.
In early 1919, Navy Commander S.C. Hooper learned that the British Marconi company was negotiating with GE for exclusive worldwide rights to the latest GE technology.
European companies already dominated trans-Atlantic communication via the undersea cables, and in combination with the rapid advances in radio, foreign interests would have a monopoly of world-wide communications indefinitely.
In April, 1919, GE executives, including vice president Owen D. Young, were alerted to this alarming prospect by Hooper and Admiral W.H.G. Bullard. As a result, GE proceeded to terminate the negotiations with the Marconi interests.
After due consideration by both GE and the US Government, it was agreed that a new operating company would be created, to be owned by loyal Americans to exploit the latest American innovations in radio. In the summer of 1919, with little alternative, British Marconi agreed to sell its substantial American holdings to GE.
The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was incorporated on October 17, 1919, and on November 20, GE and the other stockholders of American Marconi voted to sell its assets to RCA in exchange for RCA stock. December 1, 1919, marked the first day of business of RCA, with Owen Young as chairman of the board.
Within less than a year, the Radio Corporation of America was conceived, established, and primed to be the force that would make America supreme in radio communication.
Regarding the formation of RCA, Young wrote in 1922: “the original thought, the initiative and the persistent pushing were Hooper's,”
Commander Stanford C. Hooper, USN
Head of Radio Division,
Bureau of Engineering,
Rear Admiral William H.G. Bullard, USN
Director of Naval Communications,
Owen D. Young
Vice President and General Counsel
General Electric Company (1919)