He was a pioneer of Hispanic radio in Texas and most recently had been working to bring an NFL franchise to the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley Morning Star reports that McHenry Taylor Tichenor Sr. died of natural causes on Saturday at age 76.
Mac Sr. grew up in broadcasting and, while he earned a law degree, he want back to Harlingen, TX where his family owned both KGBT-AM, a pioneering Spanish radio station, and KGBT-TV, the local CBS affiliate. By the time he was 35 he was managing both and oversaw the expansion of Tichenor Media Systems into other market. He turned over day-to-day management to Mac Jr. in 1982 but remained active in the company as it grew and then merged with Heftel Broadcasting in 1997 – in a deal valued by RBR/TVBR at $210 million – to become the nation’s largest Hispanic radio company, Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation. HBC was acquired by Univision for $3.5 billion in 2004.
If there is ever an NFL team in the Rio Grande Valley, it will be due to the efforts begun by Mac Tichenor Sr. That was the dream he pursued in the final years of his life. Tichenor lined up a strong team of local financial backers and had numerous conversations with officials of the league. It is not known just how far those talks had gone by the time of Tichenor’s death.
RBR/TVBR observation: Our condolences to the family of a man who truly changed the course of American broadcasting. Back when the Tichenor family put a Spanish format on KGBT-AM Harlingen, TX, most people thought there was no way to turn a profit in Spanish radio. Tichenor Media Systems went on to become a major building block in what is today Univision Radio, part of a US Hispanic media giant.