The first was de Forest. According to everything I saw about him, he was an incredibly ugly man--and I am talking about his soul, not his face. He seemed to delight in taking credit for other peoples' work and would, in some cases, sue the inventors--taking credit for their work! While he was responsible for popularizing radio and combining others' work to make better products, he was also an opportunist who, at times, seemed like a huckster.
Second was Armstrong (probably the least horrible of the three men--hence he was the least successful in many ways!!). He was the brilliant inventor whose many innovations made radio for the masses as well as brought the world FM radio. He was very bright--and naturally de Forest spent decades suing him (and vice-versa) after de Forest 'borrowed' his invention and claimed credit for it.
Finally, there was Sarnoff--who invented nothing nor did he claim to. Instead, he was instrumental in spreading radio to the masses and eventually became the head of both RCA and NBC--a giant in the radio industry indeed.
I think this documentary worked very well for one reason apart from the fact that Ken Burns is a freakin' genius at making films. The despicable nature of these three men made for an interesting film. Had they been nice and 'played well' together, the film just wouldn't have been as fascinating. Such cut-throat and obsessed guys, while personally repulsive, made for great competition and drive and viewing, that's for sure! So is the film perfect? Nah. Tesla should have been at least mentioned and several other figures from the early days of radio are omitted (these three men were NOT the only ones who made and popularized radio). But, considering the time constraints of the length of the film, I can certainly understand these things. Unless it was a mini-series, you cannot possibly cover everything that SHOULD be covered (if such a thing is even possible). Well done and quite compelling.