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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mike McGuff talks to Pat Gray of the Glenn Beck Show

Pat Gray was a popular fixture on the Houston airwaves during the last decade. His shows aired on 950 KPRC and most recently 700 KSEV. In the summer of 2009, Gray left KSEV for the national airwaves of The Glenn Beck Program. Gray and Beck have a friendship and working relationship that goes back to the 90s.

Gray was nice enough to answer my questions about his new radio gig with Beck and how life has been since leaving Houston.

Mike McGuff: So how has the transition from living in Houston to the NYC area been?

Pat Gray: It’s a huge transition…a whole different world. It’s hardest on the kids…but they’re handling it really well. For me, the toughest part is the commute. We live about an hour away from Midtown Manhattan, where I work, in Connecticut. Well, the drive in at 6am takes an hour…the drive home at 7pm…usually takes 1½, 2 hours…and on a few occasions…even 3. Then there’s the cold. And the fact that New Yorkers are not Texans. TV stations here don’t carry Texans games on Sunday. I couldn’t watch the Astros during baseball (which actually, was probably a good thing, given the season they had) and there’s no “Taste of Texas” at which, we can eat. (By the way, I miss Edd [Hendee], too) Did I mention it’s cold? But…I strongly believe in what we’re doing, so…it’s worth it.

MM: What is the difference between the Houston radio audience and the national audience? Do you miss tackling local subjects?

PG: Texans…Houstonians especially…really “get it”. There’s a certain feeling, attitude, and understanding about liberty and freedom there, that others across the country sometimes have…but it’s just maybe not quite as prevalent elsewhere. There have been a lot of things that I’ve seen happen in Houston that I’ve thought… ‘I’d love to get into that today’…but…can’t.

MM: Your contribution to the Glenn Beck Program has been from the serious to the comical with your dead on impressions. For an AM talk show, it sometimes has the levity of an FM morning show. Is this on purpose? Or do you all just have that kind of chemistry that naturally makes that happen?

PG: It’s absolutely on purpose, but it also happens naturally because Glenn and I have always had that chemistry together…so I guess the answer is yes, to both.

MM: What is it like working with Beck again after the years have passed since you last worked together in Connecticut?

PG: It’s been fantastic. From the time we first met at BWI Airport over 20 years ago, working in Baltimore/Washington together and then Connecticut, we’ve always had so much fun that, even though the hours are long, it doesn’t feel like “work”. With everything so amplified this time around, the attention, the criticism, constant attacks, the workload and the seriousness of what’s going on in the country…it would be really tough to get through, if we didn’t have such an incredible team of people to work with.

MM: Why did you part ways originally?

PG: Many reasons. I didn’t like the environment at the radio station (WKCI-FM)…my wife and I wanted to take our family back out west…Glenn didn’t want to leave (his kids were there) and so…we left. That was in ’95…and we considered getting back together to do a show many times after that…it just never worked out. Then in 2001, he went national and when the show really took off…and I loved where I was and what I was doing…we just figured, well, it’ll never happen now. Then, suddenly…it did.

MM: Are you working on the Fox News TV show or on any of the books?

Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big GovernmentPG: Yes. I write for TV every day. Often the first 20 minutes or so are what I wrote…sometimes it’s another part of the show. I also wrote one of the chapters in “Arguing With Idiots” while I was still in Houston. And right now, I’m working on an upcoming book.

MM: Do you have a message for your Houston audience?

PG: It would be hard to describe how much I loved our 8 years there…and how much I miss them now. Houston will, to my family and me…from now on, always be considered…home.

MM: I noticed now directs to Is there another way your Houston listeners can follow you online?

PG: Yeah, it got to a point where, about September or October I realized that I hadn’t even had time to LOOK at my own website, let alone DO anything with it. So, I decided to shut it down. We’re talking about adding a Pat Gray section to…similar to what Stu [Burguiere-producer of Glenn Beck radio show] has…where I could blog from time to time. Listeners can still always contact me now at too.

MM: Anything else you want to add?

PG: Just that, again…my time in Houston, especially with Edd at KSEV, and Russell our producer there, and of course Dan [Patrick], who gave me the chance to be there…was some of the very best of my career. On a personal level for my family…it was the best time of our lives. We’ll always be grateful we had the amazing opportunity to discover that there is no better place on earth than Houston, Texas.

Pat Gray leaving Houston's 700 KSEV for Glenn Beck

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