(March 21, 2013) The only thing greater than the perseverance Patrick Creighton has demonstrated in the sportscasting job market is the payoff. An STAA client since 2011, Creighton has joined Sports Radio 610 KILT in Houston, TX as a sports talk show host and update anchor.
“I have the chance to be on air hosting on the top sports station in the sixth biggest market it the country,” says Creighton. “SportsRadio 610 is not only the top station ratings-wise in Houston, but also the flagship station for the Houston Texans.”
When Creighton finished runner-up in 2010 in a contest for a sports talk position at WFAN in New York, it looked like he was on the fast track. Alas, things are rarely as easy as they seem.
Following the contest, Creighton applied unsuccessfully for many jobs. He first applied at KILT in 2011 and has been building relationships there ever since. “While I made it to the final cut [in 2011], I ultimately was not chosen. I continued to stay in contact with the APD at 610, Laura Reynolds, inquiring about positions, sending demos, and staying on her radar.”
In the meantime, Creighton took a job last June co-hosting a morning show in Atlanta with fellow STAA client Marc Ryan. That lasted until October, when Ryan moved to another station.
When another position opened at KILT late last summer, Creighton applied again. “I heard from Laura after Halloween that I should expect a call from (then) PD Gavin Spittle. I did not hear from anyone throughout all of November and December, but continued to maintain contact with Laura to stay in the loop.”
Finally, in late January, Creighton’s phone rang while he was sitting in a doctor’s office. On the other end were Spittle, Reynolds, and Sports Director Rob Henslee. “I had an impromptu 20 minute phone interview,” says Creighton. “And three days later I was going through the background check.”
Creighton got started in sportscasting at Long Island University-Post (formerly CW Post campus of LIU) in 1991. He started out calling football and basketball games and participating in a talk show on the campus radio station. After many years away from the business, Creighton returned to LIU in 2009, hosting sports talk and broadcasting play-by-play for various LIU Post teams. In the years since, Creighton has faced several challenges in the job market.
“First of all, there are so many people who are broadcasters, good broadcasters, who are looking for an opportunity, and there aren’t nearly as many opportunities as there are applicants,” he says. “Early on, I struggled to differentiate myself from other candidates. Also, having limited commercial experience, most small to mid market jobs aren’t going to pay big market dollars, and I have a wife and two children to support. There were several positions that I was offered, but weren’t financially viable.
“Being older, and having greater financial responsibilities created a lot of extra difficulty in breaking through because the kind of jobs that most broadcasters ‘cut their teeth’ at weren’t positions I could accept because I needed to provide for a family.”
When Creighton decided to return to school in 2009 after having been a casualty of the economic collapse, he did so with the determination and motivation that he was going to break into the sports broadcasting business, and that there was no other alternative. Still, his motivation was tested many times in the ensuing years.
“When you are continually told that you aren’t the right person or that you have to decline an opportunity because you cannot make it work financially, you have those days where you ask yourself, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Is it time to let it go? Am I as good as I think I am? Will I ever get the opportunity I have worked so hard for?’
“Those emotional thoughts will creep into anyone’s head. It’s only natural. However, when you step back and think logically about all the time, effort, determination, etc that you have put into refining your craft, and you realize how much you love sports radio, you can’t let it go. You stay with it because it’s what you love, it’s your belief in yourself, the support of your family and friends, and the support of your teachers, mentors and other professionals you meet along the way. Staying positive does take a support system, but it also takes a deep belief in yourself and your abilities, and the determination to understand ‘no’ means ‘you can be better’ and to work tirelessly to be better every day, every show.
“Two people I worked with who really helped me stay positive and work to get better were Marc Ryan and Chad Potier, one of my former producers.”
Creighton has been an STAA client since 2011.
“The first thing STAA helped me with was getting organized. That is one of the biggest necessities to success and something that so many people, including myself, really have trouble with in the beginning. Getting your talent page up, getting your demos online so you can send prospective employers a link instead of a bunch of attachments that may or may not get through. Everyone likes easy, especially employers. The easier to get your info, the more likely your demos will be heard.
“[STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik has] been an invaluable resource to me. All the phone calls that we have had, the advice, the recommendations, settling me down when I became flustered, were so important. I cannot thank [him] enough.
“[KILT] is a tremendous opportunity in a great market,” says Creighton before adding with a smile, “And the weather in February and March is like being on vacation.”
(Visit Patrick’s STAA Talent Page).