Editor’s Note: This interview was written and submitted by Breitbart Texas News Contributor Kenneth Webster. Webster also serves as a producer for KTRH and KPRC radio in Houston.
To Constitutional-conservatives in Houston and through east and central Texas, Matt Patrick is our only news anchor. His familiar voice can be heard daily delivering the news each morning across the great state of Texas on KTRH, the biggest news radio station in the biggest city in the Lone Star State. Then every afternoon Matt gives commentary on his syndicated talk show that can be heard on KPRC in Houston and KXFR in Dallas-Fort Worth. He first hits the air-waves at 5am and stays on until well after 5pm.
The man is a triple threat; when he’s not anchoring and hosting on conservative news radio stations around Texas, he regularly makes TV appearances on Fox 26 Houston to defend conservative values against a laundry list of local liberal activists and politicians.
He’s traveled all over the country working in broadcast news, including spending time at the Mexican border where he reported on the immigration crisis in our country. He’s defended the honor of law enforcement agents against New Black Panther Party leader Quannel X and debated the 2nd amendment with Piers Morgan on stage in front of a live audience.
Matt is fearless. He’s a tough as nails defender of the Constitution who’s never too tired to stop fighting for truth, justice and freedom. His efforts inspire many, and those who disagree are often left speechless and dumbfounded after they cross paths/
But lately, Matt’s greatest struggle goes well beyond the scope of political discourse. On September 11, 2015 Matt learned from his doctor that he was suffering from stage 4 cancer that originated from his esophagus. For a broadcaster, this is no walk in the park. The esophagus is an essential tool for anyone who uses radio as their medium for mass-communication.
Faced with a health obstacle the likes of which Matt had never before encountered, he decided to share the story of his battle with cancer over the airwaves for his listeners. While some in his situation might consider a fight with this illness to be too personal to talk about in public, Matt has held nothing back. Rather than keep the situation to himself and his family, his open book policy of bringing his audience with him as he deals with the battle against cancer has created a sense of unity and inspiration to radio listeners across Texas, many of whom are dealing with similar problems.
Calling themselves the #Sandbox, many in Matt’s audience have bonded together through the world of talk radio and a tight-knit online community where they share their experiences in fighting cancer and being conservatives in the Lone Star State.
Now in an exclusive interview with Breitbart-Texas, Matt shares the story of how God, his family and the support of his audience are helping him win his fight to beat cancer.
Where are you originally from and how long have you been working in the media?
I’ve been in radio for 34 years. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where legendary rock and radio was a part of my childhood and young adulthood. I’ve always loved radio….it’s theater of the mind! Driving through downtown Cleveland one sunny afternoon with my window down and my radio cranked up, listening to a Hall of Famer broadcaster on my favorite rock station, I knew in that moment that being on the radio was my calling.
My first radio job was spinning country records at a small station in New York state, followed by a weekend gig at an AM in Akron, Ohio. That AM station morphed into FM and became NE Ohio’s leading hot A/C station for decades with me as the morning drive personality for nearly 30 years. My work ethic, drive to succeed, and quick wit and sense of humor must still be working because here I still am…. 34 years later. I stuck my toe in the water of talk radio almost 10 years ago, and quickly found my new passion. Listeners immediately responded to my no nonsense, entertaining way of breaking down everything politics, and then some.
In 2011, I was contacted by Houston-IHeartMedia [called Clear Channel at the time] to see if I wanted to have a conversation about coming to H-Town! Within several weeks of that first phone call, my wife Paula left her job as a Deputy City Manager, we sold our dream home, and as soon as Jake finished his last day of kindergarten, we were headed to Texas to take over the reins of Houston’s Morning News on NewsRadio 740 KTRH. The following year my long form talk show, The Matt Patrick Show, was added to the afternoon lineup on KPRC AM 950 (Houston). That show was then later syndicated into Dallas/Ft. Worth on KFXR 1190 AM.
What political philosophy do you most identify with?
True conservatism. I’ve often said, I don’t care where the ideas come from, as long as they’re GOOD ones! Nine times out of 10, I vote Republican. Defending and protecting the Constitution the way our founding fathers would have wanted… God, Guns, Country. My life experience certainly taught me to be a self-starter and to work for every single thing I ever achieved or owned. From the time I was a young boy, I earned my own money and paid for many things myself when other kids might still be relying on complete parental support and guidance. My father was absent much of my teen years, and by the time I was 18 years old, my father had died from alcoholism, and I was out in the world on my own, paying my way through college and earning a living while doing it. I NEVER gave up even when faced with tons of roadblocks and setbacks along the way. This taught me early on that in America, if you work hard, you can achieve whatever you want or need. This also made it very clear in my mind that running a country filled with entitlements and socialist principles NEVER WORKS and certainly doesn’t prepare our younger generations for what’s ahead for them.
What would you consider to be the greatest challenge in your life prior to your recent health diagnosis?
The greatest challenge in my life before cancer, was when I realized I was afflicted with Alcoholism and it had taken control of my life. I had known my drinking had become troubled long before I decided it was time for me to take my life back just as it had done when I watched my father go down the same path. I didn’t want to end up like him, or worse, die from alcoholism. By this time I had 2 young daughters, and that’s also when I met my wife, Paula, who I’ve been married to for 15 years now. She saved my life when she held the mirror up to me in a way that wasn’t judgmental or condemning but rather in a firm but clear way. With God leading my path out of those dark days of drinking, which had become a second “job”, Paula stood beside me as I clawed my way to sobriety. It was also at this time that our son, Jake, was born. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a better man for my son, and not be the same example to him, as my father had been to me. I’ve been sober ever since.
When and how did you first find out you were sick? I was diagnosed with cancer on September 11, 2015. I had just finished doing several shows that day honoring and remembering the victims of 9/11, and was already emotionally exhausted. That evening, my doctor who is also a friend, called and told me that the ultrasounds they had done after I went to him complaining of some “heartburn” type symptoms, showed something much more serious. It was cancer.
The Doctor said I needed to get in for further tests and procedures immediately, since it was already stage 4. I underwent several other scans, procedures, and biopsies and was finally diagnosed with stage 4 mucosal melanoma that had originated in my esophagus.
My family was sitting with me when I learned the news. We were shocked and paralyzed with fear but I knew I had one choice. I had to do what I had always done throughout my life….pick myself up, and start fighting.
You have been very open and public about your situation with your audience. Were you worried about their reaction when you first told them what was going on?
I have always been open and honest with my listeners. The listeners of my morning show on NewsRadio 740 KTRH, and The Matt Patrick Show on KPRC and KFXR, quickly became a very special part of my life. I consider my listeners to be my family and friends. I was never worried about their reaction, because I have always lived with transparency since getting sober. But the overwhelming support I was shown by the community, and throughout the nation quite frankly, was breathtaking and humbling. I know I am in Houston, Texas for this reason and I’m so grateful for the incredible support the folks here have shown to me and my family.
How did people react?
#SandboxStrong was born…..On NewsRadio 740 KTRH, 950 AM KPRC (Houston) and 1190 AM KFXR (Dallas/Ft. Worth), our listeners became ‘sandboxians” after I came up with the concept of calling this common ground THE SANDBOX, where we all come together to talk, solve problems, support each other, fight for this country. The Sandbox is a strong place now….especially now more than ever after my cancer diagnosis when the hashtag was born as another show of solidarity for each other and my commitment to my family, my radio family, and all the listeners to get healthy and strong again….#SANDBOXSTRONG! I get pics and tweets all the time of Sandboxians who have the #SANDBOXSTRONG on bumper stickers, decals, shirts, etc.
After I learned of my cancer diagnosis, M.D. Anderson became a big part of my show and my life. Sandboxians know that’s where I am going to get better. I talk about M.D. Anderson often on my show, and share my appreciation of how far I’ve come in a short time in my battle with cancer.
You are generally considered to be a very optimistic person. Your mood and personality on the air appear to be pretty consistent with how your personality was prior to finding out you were sick. How have you remained so upbeat?
At first, my wife and I struggled with this new part of our life. There’s no way NOT to feel that way. You have to allow for that part of the process. But slowly we accepted that cancer is part of our life now and we must WIN. There are 2 choices: fight or give up. I wasn’t about to give up now, and my wife, son, and daughters are warriors too! Staying optimistic, even when it’s difficult, and believing a positive outcome helps us cope. There’s real power in believing you will succeed. Just as true, if believe you will fail, you probably will.
Considering your cool demeanor on the air, it’s hard to imagine you ever being scared. Are you?
Yes of course. I still have my moments. So does my wife. So do my children. Staying fearful never prepares you for something that may or may not ever happen. So we push that fear aside and rely on our faith in God to carry us through. And He always has.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by others who have fought this battle against cancer. I’m inspired by my listeners of KTRH 740 AM, KPRC AM 950, and KFXR 1190 AM, who have shown unwavering support and love for me and my family. I’m inspired by the incredible doctors who are all working together to save my life. And I’m inspired by my family who have hung on tight throughout this roller coaster ride and have never left my side.
Who’s been the most supportive of you throughout this ordeal?
My wife, Paula, is my best friend and the biggest supporter. I love my wife Paula deeper than I have ever loved another human being. I never knew what love was until I met her, and she is literally saving my life. I can’t really describe how much she’s done to help me through all of this. She’s saving my life one day at a time….just like when I faced Alcoholism. Chris Hagerman at MD Anderson has also been the biggest support as my friend, patient advocate, and someone to bounce things off of. He’s been an angel to me and our family.
Do you consider yourself to be spiritual or religious?
I’m a Roman Catholic. I have a deep spiritual relationship with God. Without God, I wouldn’t be able to see the blessings in this journey I’m on now. I never thought I’d say this, but I do feel incredibly blessed, more than ever….even with cancer. I know God has everything handled in my life, and all I have to do is my part.
You look and sound like you’re getting better. Are you?
The latest scans have shown the cancer is shrinking significantly in several places and in some areas completely resolved! This is GREAT news. I plan to keep getting better and better. #SandboxStrong baby!
What do you attribute to your success with fighting this illness?
I’m stubborn but I’m no fool. I listen to my doctors and if a treatment plan makes sense I do it. I also have continued to lift weights every week and stay as strong as possible. I lost a lot of weight through all this so I eat lots of steak and chocolate….now I don’t know if that would work for anyone else, but it’s working for me.
What advice would you give to others who are dealing with what you’re dealing with?
Don’t give up. Surround yourself with good people who are positive and will help you… Even if you’re like me and not used to asking for help from anyone. Don’t go through it alone. Listen to your doctors. If you think something’s wrong (with your health), go get it checked out! I’ve had so many listeners reach out to me and tell me that they didn’t feel right, and after I shared my news they finally went to the doctor to get checked out. Many of those folks were relieved to learn it was nothing to be concerned with. However, there were a few who found out they had cancer and have told me that by sharing my story I helped save their life.