William S. Paley (September 28, 1901 – October 26, 1990) was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.
Paley's father Samuel Paley was a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine who ran a cigar company. As the company became increasingly successful, Paley became a millionaire, and moved his family to Philadelphia in the early 1920s. William Paley matriculated at Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois and later received his college degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in expectation that he would take an increasingly active role running the family cigar business.
In 1927, Paley's father, brother-in-law and some business partners bought a struggling Philadelphia-based radio network of 16 station called the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. Samuel Paley's intention was to use his acquisition as an advertising medium for promoting the family's cigar business, which included the La Palina brand. Within a year, under William's leadership, cigar sales had more than doubled, and, in 1928, the Paley family secured majority ownership of the network from their partners. Within a decade, William S. Paley had expanded the network to 114 affiliate stations...
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