"But when the Washington crowd got Sarnoff aside and explained their desire to see television under way as a possible great new industry, David Sarnoff changed his mind. He promised there would be television, set the date for March, 1939, and the territory as New York City. Immediately last week the Sarnoff representatives were in Washington refurbishing old lapsed claims to television bands in cities throughout the U.S.A."
Maybe the government did back Sarnoff into a corner and cajole him into some action, even on the threat that the government would step in and develop television, as it has in Germany and England, if American private industry did not promote the new medium. It is silly, however, to believe that RCA or anyone else is deliberately holding back something that possesses such huge potentialities for profit. The radio industry-and RCA is a large chunk of that industry-sorely needs a jab in the arm, and everyone in the industry has been looking forward to the day when the television needle is ready. But it isn't ready now, for reasons to be mentioned, and meanwhile the splurge of publicity is unreasonably ruining the sale of high-priced radio receivers, causing RCA dealers and others to raise loud objections to such misleading publicity.
The third rumored reason for the announcement and publicity itself is found by some in the fact that RCA has spent in television research a great deal of money that might otherwise go to stockholders. The figure given is $20,000,000, and while RCA engineers have made many notable improvements and contributions to the art, they still have nothing far enough advanced to be turned into mass production and marketed nationally for a profit as are refrigerators, radio sets, vacuum cleaners, etc. Stockholders are probably asking a lot of questions about spending this money which such publicity would answer. It is true that this year, as for some years past, RCA dividend checks are accompanied by a little booklet explaining RCA's progress in television.
What are the real facts at the bottom of the fire that produced this publicity smoke screen, and just exactly what will be the status of television in this country as of March or April of 1939?
We have already told you of the limited broadcast plans, but in his original statement, Sarnoff also stated that RCA would sell television transmitters to anybody who wants to buy them. The first customer turns out to be the Columbia Broadcasting System, NBC's bitter commercial rival. Built by RCA in its Camden, N. J., factory, the CBS outfit is now being installed in the tower of the Chrysler Building, New York. Like NBC's Empire State transmitter, which is