Todd Wagner, along with partner Mark Cuban, founded Broadcast.com in 1995. Due in large part to Wagner's business experience, the Internet start-up grew to become a leading Internet broadcasting firm in just a few short years. Wagner left the company in 2000, shortly after Yahoo!'s $5.7 billion purchase of Broadcast.com. The following year, Wagner and Cuban—both anxious to team up again—announced that they were planning to create a movie production company.
Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Wagner graduated with a degree in accounting from Indiana University and went on to the University of Virginia where he earned a law degree. By the age of 33, Wagner had worked as an attorney for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and as a partner for Hopkins & Sutter. By that time, Wagner realized that he was not well suited to a career in law. Disregarding the advice of Hopkins & Sutter's senior partner, who claimed he would never be successful as an entrepreneur, Wagner, along with Cuban, created Broadcast.com Inc. in 1995. The duo started the firm with three employees and one computer, and they worked from Cuban's house. In just three years, Wagner's drive to become successful, along with his business expertise, had secured Broadcast.com a leading position in the fledgling Internet-based audio and video programming industry. Under Wagner's tutelage, the firm also became known as a pioneer in using the Internet as a broadcasting medium via streaming media, a technology which allowed radio and television to be heard and viewed on the Internet.
Wagner secured private financing from the likes of Motorola Inc., Intel Corp., Yahoo!, and Premiere Radio Networks. He also led the company in a highly successful initial public offering, after which he and Cuban became overnight millionaires. As CEO of Broadcast.com, he spearheaded the firm's entrance into the global market by teaming up with Softbank Corp. to create Broadcast.com Japan. That year, over one million Web surfers logged on to the company's Web site to watch President Clinton's grand jury testimony.
By 1999, Broadcast.com had become an international firm with over 300 employees and more than 1,100 clients who used the firm's services to broadcast business events, including financial announcements and conferences. It also catered to hundreds of thousands of daily users who tuned in to over 370 radio stations and 30 television stations. The firm's leading position made it an attractive acquisition target, and in July, Wagner and his partner decided to sell Broadcast.com to Yahoo!. After the $5.7 billion deal was complete, Wagner headed up the new Yahoo! Broadcast division. In April of 2000, however, he turned down an offer to become Yahoo!'s chief operating officer. Instead, having left an indelible mark on the Internet broadcasting industry, Wagner left the firm to focus on philanthropic efforts.
Goldstein, Alan. "Cuban, Wagner Want to Be in the Movie Biz." Dallas Morning News, May 30, 2001.
Webb, Cynthia D. "Todd R. Wagner." Dallas Business Journal, February 9, 2001.
SEE ALSO: Cuban, Mark; Streaming Media