Satellite Showdown

EchoStar's daring, dueling Charlie Ergen won't let Rupert Murdoch buy DirecTV without a fight

Charlie Ergen made his first run on the satellite-television market in the '80s, and he did it by truck. Ergen, with his future wife Candy and a poker buddy, Jim DeFranco, drove one of their two satellite dishes to Colorado, hoping his fledgling service would score big in a land of tall mountains and bad TV reception. A stiff wind blew their trailer into a ditch, ruining the dish and leaving them with only one. As it turned out, one dish was enough. Ergen used it to build EchoStar, now the nation's second largest satellite-TV company.

Ergen isn't hauling dishes...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!