Lowry Mays, founder of largest U.S. radio group, dies at 87

Sep 13, 2022, 1:47 AM | Updated: 2:45 pm
FILE - Lowry Mays, chairman of the Board of Clear Channel Communications, accepts the distinguished...

FILE - Lowry Mays, chairman of the Board of Clear Channel Communications, accepts the distinguished service award from the National Association of Broadcasters convention on April 18, 2005, in Las Vegas. Mays, whose accidental purchase of a San Antonio radio station propelled him into the nation’s largest owner of radio stations, died Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, according to his alma mater, Texas A&M University. He was 87. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File)

(AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Lowry Mays, whose accidental purchase of a San Antonio radio station propelled him into the nation’s largest owner of radio stations, has died. He was 87.

Texas A&M University, Mays’ alma mater and site of the Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business, announced that the San Antonio businessman Mays died Monday. It did not specify where Mays died or the circumstances of his death.

Mays was a prosperous petroleum engineer and investment banker when he agreed to co-sign a note to purchase a San Antonio FM radio station in 1972 but ended up owning the channel, according to a biography on the Mays Family Foundation website.

The purchase grew into Clear Channel Communications as it continued to buy other radio stations and billboard companies. Now named iHeartMedia, the San Antonio-based company owns more than 860 radio stations and syndication networks that carried such conservative talk show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

The Mays family sold its interest in what was then Clear Channel Communications in 2008 when it was taken private.

Mays served two non-consecutive terms on the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and chaired the board in 2003-05.

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Lowry Mays, founder of largest U.S. radio group, dies at 87