(August 18, 2016) Patrick Creighton has a new sports talk radio show in Houston, Nate & Creight, co-hosted by Fox 26 morning sports anchor Nate Griffin. It airs daily from 1 to 3 pm on 1560 SB Nation Radio (formerly Yahoo Sports Radio). Two hours. Monday through Friday. Short but sweet. Cut and dried.
Creighton’s path to the opportunity, though, has been anything but simple. It is with both excitement and relief that he says, “I’m very excited to finally get a shot at a full-time show.”
Creighton’s mixed emotions are understandable. His has been a long, long road.
In the mid 2000’s, Creighton thought he was on the fast track to a sports talk career. In a contest hosted by WFAN in New York to find the next great host, Creighton finished runner-up three straight times. “It was a running gag each year how I would make it to the finals and then somehow lose. I was the Buffalo Bills of WFAN,” Creighton smiles.
Creighton’s reward after the third year was to host a show on the station during Christmas week. “I thought having a tape from WFAN would help me land a job pretty fast. Apparently I also would have bought the Brooklyn Bridge at that time because I couldn’t have been more wrong. One tape is nice but in the grand scheme of things, if you’re being considered for a full-time role, you better have a good amount of demo material.”
After struggling to parlay his WFAN experience into a full-time gig elsewhere, Creighton accepted an opportunity to volunteer as a co-host with Marc Ryan in Atlanta. One thing he learned there was that his accent wasn’t going to fly in other markets.
“Coming from New York, I had a very heavy accent to people in Atlanta,” Creighton says. “Plus, I spoke too fast. People weren’t even listening to what I was saying. They couldn’t get past ‘Who is the blasted Yankee on my radio!?’
“I began working to soften my accent and slow down the pace at which I spoke. Within two months, listeners had accepted me as much as any northerner could be expected to be accepted. I’m still me — I still get riled up and energetic. I still crack jokes on everything, but just working on my sound a little bit made a huge difference in how I was perceived.”
After six months in Georgia, Creighton earned his first paid sports radio work in March 2013 at 610 KILT in Houston. It wasn’t full-time, but finally getting paid for his efforts was worth it. Creighton worked as a host, anchor, reporter and producer. He would love to have stayed at KILT indefinitely. However, the station has a deep, veteran roster and Creighton eventually realized that his opportunity to host a daily show would have to come elsewhere. Hoping to stay in Houston, Creighton contacted programmer Craig Larson at Gow Media.
“I had reached out to Craig early this year about the idea of adding the Nate & Creight show to Gow Media’s other station in the market in the 2-4 pm time slot,” says Creighton. “We had a great discussion and things just progressed from there. Eventually, they weren’t able to offer us the spot on the other station but they really liked our show. They proposed doing the show on 1560 from 1-3 pm.”
One of the most important things Creighton has learned through his sportscasting journey is the importance of budgeting time and money.
“You have to be very judicious and disciplined with your time. Juggling multiple jobs can be a tedious task but a necessary one. Plus, your station is going to call on you unexpectedly sometimes, and you need to be able to answer the bell when your name is called. The more you step up, the more chances you will get, so be prepared at all times,” says Creighton. “You can’t be prepared if you aren’t disciplined and managing your day properly.
“Also understand the economics,” he advises. “You are not getting rich in your first job. It’s important to understand that whatever money you make in your first job isn’t likely to be all that much. You will need to network, make relationships, do other things to supplement your income. I have been doing play-by-play for high school and college sports to add income for a long time. I love doing it, but that extra income was really important too.”
Creighton encourages sportscasters to take pride in every assignment, regardless of how unimportant it might seem at the time. “If it has your name on it, make it representative of how great you want to be,” he says.
Creighton is grateful for many people who have helped shape his journey. He especially appreciates Mark Chernoff, Mike Francesa and Steve Somers at WFAN, Ryan and Chad Potier from Creighton’s time in Atlanta, John McClain and Marc Vandermeer in Houston, and ESPN sportscaster Adam Amin.
“I’m very grateful to Adam for referring me to STAA when I met him calling NCAA Elite 8 softball in Virginia,” he says. “STAA has not only helped me get better organized and prepared for job searches and how to present myself to employers, but they’ve provided valuable resources that I still use for both hosting shows and doing play-by-play. [CEO Jon Chelesnik] has even served as mentor/therapist for me more times than I should admit. STAA has been a big part in helping me get where I am and keeping faith in myself when I became overly frustrated. For everything, thank you.”
(Visit Patrick’s STAA Talent Page).