mid-12c., "large group of people," from Old French compagnie "society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers" (12c.), from Late Latin companio, literally "bread fellow, messmate," from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + panis "bread," from PIE root *pa- "to feed." Abbreviation co. dates from 1670s.
Meaning "companionship, consort of persons one with another, intimate association" is from late 13c. Meaning "person or persons associated with another in any way" is from c. 1300. In Middle English the word also could mean "sexual union, intercourse" (c. 1300).
From late 14c. as "a number of persons united to perform or carry out anything jointly," which developed a commercial sense of "business association" by 1550s, the word having been used in reference to trade guilds from late 14c. Meaning "subdivision of an infantry regiment" (in 19c. usually 60 to 100 men, commanded by a captain) is from c. 1400.
Meaning "person or persons with whom one voluntarily associates" is from c. 1600; phrase keep company "consort" is from 1560s (bear company in the same sense is from c. 1300). Expression two's company "two persons are just right" (for conversation, etc.), is attested from 1849; the following line varies: but three is none (or not), 1849; three's trumpery (1864); three's a crowd (1856).
1922, verbal noun from broadcast (v.).
Broadcasting, as distinct from wireless communication, may be said to have come into being about 1920. It may be defined as the systematic diffusion, by radio telephony, of music, lectures, drama, humour, news and information bulletins, speeches and ceremonies, pictures and other matter susceptible of appreciation by a scattered audience, individually or in groups, with appropriate receiving apparatus. [Encyclopedia Britannica, 1929]
also BBC, 1923, abbreviation of British Broadcasting Company, continued after 1927 when it was replaced by British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC English as a type of standardized English recommended for radio announcers is recorded from 1928.
also a-b-c, late 13c. (spelled abece) from the first three letters of it taken as a word (compare alphabet, abecedary, Old French abecé, abecedé "alphabet," 13c.). The sense of "rudiments or fundamentals (of a subject)" is from late 14c. As a shortening of American Broadcasting Company from 1944 (in a Billboard magazine headline), earlier of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1931). Related: ABCs.
also PBS, abbreviation of Public Broadcasting Service, 1970, America English. It succeeded National Educational Television (NET).
1922, abbreviation of frequency modulation as a method of encoding information in radio waves by varying the frequency of the wave. As a method of broadcasting radio programs, it began in the late 1930s and was notable for superior noise reduction and the capability of broadcasting in stereo. As the chosen medium for broadcasting stereo rock music it became popular in the 1970s.
1882, "to favor or support," from sponsor (n.). Commercial broadcasting sense is from 1931. Related: Sponsored; sponsoring.
1825, "company, band," especially of performers, actors, dancers, etc., from French troupe "company" (see troop (n.)).