10/19/2008 05:12 EDT | Updated 05/25/2011 12:45 EDT

Charles Ergen: Meet America's Richest Media Mogul You've Never Heard Of

The Forbes 400, Forbes' annual list of the 400 richest Americans, was released this week — and conveniently broke the list down by industry. Under the heading, "Informers & Performers," Forbes' media grouping includes all the usual suspects: Murdoch, Geffen, Redstone, Dolan, Oprah. But atop all of them is a man you've likely never heard of: Charles Ergen.

Worth $8.1 billion and ranked #35 on Forbes' list, Ergen is the man behind satellite giant EchoStar communications. Below, read his Forbes 400 listing:

#35 Charles Ergen

$8.1 billion

Source: EchoStar

Former pro poker player sold tv satellites from truck with wife in 1980s. Built EchoStar Communications (nasdaq: DISH - news - people ) into satellite giant; company commands 13.7 million subscribers today. Spun off cable box manufacturer EchoStar Corp. in January; shares of TV program provider Dish Network down 25% since. Still runs both companies. Suffered setback in race for high-definition TV dominance with DirecTV (nyse: DTV - news - people ) after $6 million satellite failed; launched another satellite this summer. Purchased Internet TV company Sling Media for $380 million last September.