30 Rock's Naming Rights: RCA...G.E....Comcast?

Will Comcast stick its name atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza--in place of the LED display now saying "G.E." that, a quarter century years before, said "RCA"?

It hopes to.

The New York Times says a Landmark Preservations Commission will conduct a hearing on Comcast's request for a new sign and marquee June 17.

G.E.'s initials are 24 feet high. Comcast of course bought out General Electric's 49% stake in NBCUniversal last year. It proposes 12-foot-high letters spelling out Comcast in white, with a 17-foot-high peacock.

Despite G.E. bumping RCA off the top of the building in 1988, many still think of the skyscraper as the RCA building, according to Carol H. Krinsky, the author of Rockefeller Center and an art history professor.

“I haven’t heard anyone call it the G.E. Building except people who are new to New York City,” Professor Krinsky said. “The building is really, really the RCA Building, because the Radio Corporation of America saved Mr. Rockefeller’s financial neck by entering the project.”

Really? I think Professor Krinsky may be stuck in another epoch. Maybe it's because I'm of a certain age, or because I work in the NY media, or because I was a fan of Tina Fey's 30 Rock, but everyone I know refers to the building not as the RCA building or the GE building, but, simply, "30 Rock."

Another Rockefeller Center author (uh, how many books are there on Rockefeller Center?) suggests Comcast put "RCA" back up there in lights.

“The perfect solution would have Comcast management buy the rights to the RCA trademark, change the name of their company to RCA and return the original sign to the top of what always was, and always will be, the RCA Building,” said Daniel Okrent, author of Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center.

(Photo by Wally Gobetz via flickr under Creative Commons license.)

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.