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Broadcast.com was an Internet radio company founded as AudioNet in September 1995 by Christopher Jaeb. Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban later led the organization and eventually sold to Yahoo! in April 1999 for $5.7 billion, making it the most expensive acquisition Yahoo! has made for which prices are publicly known. The service has since been disbanded and some of its functionality incorporated into other services, some of which (such as Yahoo! Music Radio) have since been disbanded.
Originally the company was called Cameron Broadcast Systems after its founder Cameron Christopher Jaeb. The original idea, a hand-held shortwave radio that would receive broadcasts inside a sports venue, morphed into a hand-held device that would receive customized satellite broadcasts. The Internet had begun to gain popularity at that time and Jaeb hired Debian Social Contract founder Ean Schuessler and his brother to consult on bringing the idea to the Internet. The Schuesslers expanded the concept beyond sports and produced marketing materials and presentations for Jaeb to promote his idea. Jaeb then began soliciting the rights to broadcast radio live on the Internet. KLIF in Dallas, KFI Los Angeles, KOA Denver, and KPLX in Dallas were some of the first. Later college sports came on and still later the NBA and NFL. As the company grew, AudioNet expanded from mainly broadcasting sporting events to broadcasting presidential conventions and many other events. With the support of his father Tom Jaeb, he incorporated, formed a board and sold stock. Todd Wagner, an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, co-founded the renamed AudioNet.com with Mark Cuban in September 1995. In 1998, AudioNet was renamed to Broadcast.com and it set (at the time) a one-day record for IPOs by rising almost 250 percent from its opening price. The stock closed up at $62.75 per share from its initial trading at $18 per share.
The record IPO made instant financial successes out of the company's employees through stock options, making 100 employees millionaires on paper (although most of them were unable to exercise their options and sell their shares before the stock price dropped) and founders Cuban and Wagner billionaires.
Acquisition by Yahoo!
In April 1999, Yahoo! acquired the company for $5.7 billion (or over $10,000 per user) in stock and renamed it Yahoo! Broadcast Solutions. The company had 570,000 users. Over the next few years, Yahoo! split the services previously offered by Broadcast.com into separate services, Yahoo! Launchcast for music and Yahoo! Platinum for video entertainment. Yahoo! Platinum has since been discontinued, its functionality being offered as part of two pay services, AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet and Yahoo! Plus. Launchcast has since been renamed to Yahoo! Music Radio.
As of 16 May 2015[update], neither broadcast.com nor broadcast.yahoo.com is a distinct web address; both redirect to yahoo.com.
- "About Broadcast.com (via Internet Archive)". December 1, 1998. Archived from the original on 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- "Surfing Silicon Beach: The ever-expanding dot-com revolution catches a new wave in Santa Barbara". Santa Barbara Magazine. December 13, 2000. Retrieved 2008-11-23.