I am writing a style guide at my company, and for the life of me, I can't explain why U.S. broadcasters "ABC" and "NBC" seem to need no article as a noun, while the U.K. broadcaster "BBC" always gets one. And when I think about the Australian network "ABC," my instinct tells me that an article is needed.
One difference is that the BBC is a corporation, while ABC (U.S.) and NBC are companies, but that's not part of the thought process. And by themselves, "American" and "British" are opposites again: "He is an American, but she is British." Simply considering the first word in NBC -- National -- would confuse the issue even more.
Of course "British" and "Australian" are more specific in location than "National" and "American" -- three Americas as in north, central and south -- but I naturally associate "American" as being the U.S.
Can someone please tell me what I am missing?