Related Biography: Television Executive William Paley
Called by Patricia Hluchy of Maclean's the "unrivalled godfather of American Broadcasting," William Paley is the CBS chairman from whom Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees in 1973. Paley is credited with building CBS from what was a group of 22 struggling radio stations when he bought the company in 1929, into a vast empire that helped to usher in the era of television. He retained control of his company until his death in 1990 at the age of 89.
William Paley was born in Chicago in 1901. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant and a prosperous cigar merchant. Paley became vice president of his father's company in 1922, and he became interested in broadcasting when his company purchased advertising time on a radio station. The station was part of the United Independent Broadcasters Network, and Paley later bought that company, later known as CBS, for $400,000.
Paley was among the first to recognize the potential of the medium of television, and his company first began regular television broadcasts in 1939, by 1950 becoming the leading American broadcaster.
CBS bought an 80 percent stake in the Yankees in 1964, and later bought the remaining 20 percent. The company paid $13.2 million for the Yankees—$3.2 million more than Steinbrenner was to later pay for the team.
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