McHenry "Mac" Taylor Tichenor, Sr., a leader in the Spanish-language radio industry, was born on June 2, 1932, in Boulder, Colorado, and grew up in Harlingen, in the Rio Grande valley of Texas. He was the only child of McHenry Tichenor and Genevieve Beryl (Smith) Tichenor.
Tichenor attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and earned a B.B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After a two-year enlistment in the United States Navy during the Korean War, he returned to the University of Texas at Austin to earn a law degree and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” during his senior year. Tichenor married Carolyn White of Dallas in 1954. They had four children; Mac, Jr.; Warren; Jean; and Bill. In 1979 Tichenor married Doreen Lane, and they had a son, David, that same year.
After he received his law degree in 1956, Tichenor returned to the Rio Grande valley and went to work in the family broadcasting business started by his father. He was employed first in sales and later worked in management at the company’s CBS television station and its Spanish-language radio station, both with the call letters KGBT.
At the age of thirty-five, Tichenor became president of his family’s company, Tichenor Media System (TMS), in 1967. He oversaw its expansion in both English and Spanish-language media and its growth into a thirty-eight radio station Hispanic group. When TMS merged with Heftel Broadcasting in 1997 to form Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, it was the largest Hispanic radio group in the nation.
In 1982 Tichenor stepped back from his day-to-day role in the business to focus on company strategy as its vice-chairman of the board. He also took time to enjoy his hobbies—sailing and astronomy. During this time, he resided in Jensen Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he was a member of the Lowcountry Presbyterian Church. During his final years, Tichenor pursued his dream of bringing a professional NFL sports franchise to the Rio Grande valley. He also continued his lifelong practice of philanthropy.
In 2005 the Tichenor Family was inducted into the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s “Giants in Broadcasting.” In 2006 Mac Tichenor received the Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Pioneer Award which was presented at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention.
Mac Tichenor died at age seventy-six of natural causes in Round Rock, Texas, on January 3, 2009. He was buried near his parents at Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito, Texas. He was survived by his five children, numerous grandchildren, and his longtime companion, Priscilla Flores.