1957 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Opportunities will come your way. Recognize them."
Born in 1914, Adam Young was the oldest of eight children. He left school and went to work in 1929, after his father lost his job during the Depression. After a year of menial jobs, he was offered the position as an NBC page. The work was exciting and brought him into daily contact with the greatest show-business personalities of the day. When NBC moved to its present location at Rockefeller Center, Young became the first tour guide at NBC's new headquarters. After working in NBC's research department, Young attempted to break into the sales side of radio. NBC turned down his request for a transfer, so he left and joined a small New York advertising agency. Two years later, he joined a firm representing radio stations in the United States and Canada. He became sales manager and developed an expertise for the Canadian radio market.
In 1944, Young opened his own firm with just two clients, but they were the two largest radio stations in Canada. Within two years, his company represented 50 Canadian stations. Soon, he was approached by U. S. stations and asked to represent them, as well. In 1984, he and his son founded Young Broadcasting, Inc., which owns 12 television stations.
Of his Horatio Alger Award, Young said, "As a recipient I am pleased to have received it, but the more important thing is to get our message out to the youth of America. Young people need to understand what makes this country work and operate. Anybody can make it if they work at it."
Though he finished only one year of high school, Young was a firm believer in education. During his working years, he got his general education degree at night and took many college courses. He also studied painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Young defined success as "being in a position where you can direct your life." He also measured his success through the success of his children. "Parents should remember to set a good example for their children," he said. "One of the most important things a parent can do is to give their children something to follow. What you tell them may go in one ear and out the other, but the example you show them sticks."* Deceased