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...

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