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The Bell System, AT&T's telephone utility, was developing technologies to transmit voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, using both wireless and wired methods.The 1922 creation of WEAF offered a research-and-development center for those activities.WEAF and WJZ, the flagships of the two earlier networks, were operated side-by-side for about a year as part of the new NBC.On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided their respective marketing strategies: the "Red Network" offered commercially sponsored entertainment and music programming; the "Blue Network" mostly carried sustaining – or non-sponsored – broadcasts, especially news and cultural programs.The early effort fared poorly, since the uninsulated telegraph lines were susceptible to atmospheric and other electrical interference.
The Orange Network carried Red Network programming, and the Gold Network carried programming from the Blue Network.
In 1986, control of NBC passed to General Electric (GE) – which previously owned RCA and NBC until 1930, when it was forced to sell the companies as a result of antitrust charges – through its .4 billion purchase of RCA.
Following the acquisition by GE (which later liquidated RCA), Bob Wright served as chief executive officer of NBC, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2007, when he was succeeded by Jeff Zucker.
WEAF maintained a regular schedule of radio programs, including some of the first commercially sponsored programs, and was an immediate success.
In an early example of "chain" or "networking" broadcasting, the station linked with Outlet Company-owned WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island; and with AT&T's station in Washington, D. New parent RCA saw an advantage in sharing programming, and after getting a license for radio station WRC in Washington, D.