CBS Corporation was founded in 1927 by Arthur Judson. It’s an acronym for Columbia Broadcasting System, an American mass-media company that operates different publishing and production outfits like the Showtime Cable Network and the Simon & Schuster publishing groups. In 1927, it was established as United Independent Broadcasters, Inc. before its name was changed to Columbia Broadcasting System Inc. in 1928. Some decades later, in 1974, the name was changed to CBS Inc., and in 1997, it adopted the name CBS Corporation after Westinghouse Electric Corporation bought the company in 1995. The media company has its headquarters in New York City.
CBS’s history goes as far back as 1927 when Arthur Judson, a talent manager at the time, couldn’t get work for any of his clients on any radio show affiliated with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). As his way of doing something about the situation, he launched his own network named United Independent Broadcasters. Gaining some traction, his network merged with Columbia Phonograph and Records Co., thus changing the name to Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting Company. Being a new media company, the financial losses mounted, and William S. Paley bought the company for $400,000. On January 18, 1929, the newly named company, Columbia Broadcasting System, went live on air.
During William Paley’s time as the network’s chairman, he offered programming free to affiliated stations. In return, the stations gave the network part of their schedules that were devoted to sponsored shows. In 1928, CBS had 22 stations affiliated with it, and that number grew to 114 within a decade. Its annual profit for 1932 was about $3 million. Even though the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) still had most of the popular radio stars and programs in the 1930s and 1940s, CBS made a formidable rival. It also built a strong news division and then launched its music division named Columbia Records which developed long-playing records and introduced them to the public in 1948.
Beyond radio, television, and music, CBS delved into book, magazines, toys, and musical instruments production in the 1960s and 1970s. However, between 1985 and 1988, it divested from all those operations and sold its record unit to Sony Corporation. CBS returned its focus to television and radio broadcasting, and in the early 1990s, it acquired talk-show host David Letterman, the host of The Late Show between 1993 and 2015. It also debuted the reality TV series Survivor in 2000. CBS was sold to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1995 for $5.4 billion, which marked the end of the longest-running self-owned media house in the United States.
Westinghouse Electric dropped its name and adopted that of CBS. The early 2000s brought with it hit shows such as its CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise and its spin-offs, Cold Case and Without a Trace. CBS Corporation also partnered with Warner Brothers Entertainment to establish CBS Sports Network. Over the years, CBS Radio had many radio stations under its operations which broadcasted play-by-play coverage of many of the leading sports franchises in the country. Entercom Communications acquired CBS Radio in 2017.
In what has been an era, CBS Corporation has gone through a significant metamorphosis, acquisitions, and development to retain its crown as one of the leading media companies in New York and the United States.