Familiar voice to take over Grayling Vikings sports broadcasting
Carlie Wilson | Staff Writer
As they say in show business, “the show must go on.” Following the recent retirement of the award winning broadcast team of Tom McCord and Rich Calkins, Blarney Stone Broadcasting has hired a new Sports Talk host for coverage of Grayling Vikings sports.
Just announced in the last week, Chad Patterson, 47, of Grayling, will be taking over for McCord and Calkins. Patterson is probably best known for running the Acting Up Theater Company for elementary school students.
While Patterson has limited work with radio and broadcasting, Sheryl Coyne, owner and CEO of Blarney Stone Broadcasting, believes that Patterson will bring “enthusiasm and passion.”
“He has a strong sense of passion and enthusiasm for the school and the players. That is the greatest asset he’ll bring to Q-100, most definitely,” said Coyne.
Patterson is a “dynamic personality who cares about the community and the kids. I believe he is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, and I believe that genuineness will come through on the radio as well,” said Coyne. “Tom and Rich were amazing; as you know, they were award winning Michigan High School Athletic Association broadcasters, and we were so lucky to have them as long as we did, and Chad will bring a different enthusiasm to the coverage of Grayling Vikings sports.”
“He works at the school, he knows the coaches, he knows the kids, so we know that this is not just a stop in his career, he’ll be with us for years to come. He is the new voice, and we are incredibly excited to have him,” said Maureen Barkume, one of the other operators at the studio.
Before selecting Patterson, the owners of the studio went through a long process of selecting a new host.
“We were not necessarily looking for someone who had broadcasting experience, because we knew that we could train them on how to broadcast the games. We were looking for someone who genuinely cared about the Vikings. We wanted somebody who would not just go in and broadcast the games, but would care for the players and understand the challenges they are going through,” said Coyne.
“That was the main thing we were looking for, which is why some of the resumes we got that had those big names, for example a former Detroit Lions player, did not fit the bill. They don’t know much about Grayling, and they do not have a passion for Grayling. Chad does. He is extremely gracious and we are excited to work with him,” said Coyne.
Patterson was offered the job shortly after Tom and Rich’s departure from the station.
“They knew I was loud and that I could talk. I have some experience working with Blarney Stone; I’ve done their Christmas time radio plays the last couple of years and they’ve seen me emcee the Canoe Marathon. I’ve had a great relationship with them since they first purchased the station,” said Patterson.
“When they were looking for someone to take on the sportscasting job, I believe that Alice Snyder suggested me, and I got a text from Maureen that asked if I was interested in the job. It’s one of those things where I feel like I need to pinch myself. The opportunities I’ve been given just by living here are unbelievable. You know, I didn’t finish community college, and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to be able to do theater residencies in elementary schools, to direct high school plays, to emcee the Canoe Marathon, and now I get to do this job. I have to pinch myself, honestly, I think whatever I did in my childhood, I must have done it right because I keep getting these incredible opportunities and I could not be more thankful,” said Patterson.
For the last 20 years Patterson has been working with Acting Up, and this is his final year performing with elementary students. For the past six years Patterson has been the director of the fall play productions at the high school, with hopes of continuing that in the future. Patterson also works as a full time paraprofessional at Grayling High School and all of this has led up to his position with Blarney Stone.
Patterson admits to being nervous about taking the job.
“I think what makes me the most nervous is not the concept of talking on air or making a mistake when broadcasting; I think people will forgive mistakes that get made on air. I think what I am most worried about is pushing the wrong button or thinking I’m on the air and I’m not. I’m less worried about the talking and more worried about the technological aspect of the job,” said Patterson.
“You know, I was at Blarney Stone the other day and they said ‘Nobody dies,’ and it’s funny because I think I might carry that into the theater with me. I think we feel that way in theater sometimes too, if I miss an entrance, if I miss a line, what am I going to do? You feel like you’re going to die, but at the end of the day you’re not in an operating room, you’re not going to die, everyone makes mistakes but none of them end up being fatal. I’m hoping that with experience I will get better at it and once that happens, I know I’ll be fine,” said Patterson.
“I don’t take any of this lightly. I know that it’s a real responsibility and there are people that listen to those broadcasts and they want to hear a quality broadcast,” said Patterson. “Mrs. Tobin told me that she listens to all of the away game broadcasts and I never want to disappoint that woman.”
On the flip side of nerves, Patterson shared his excitement about working with Blarney Stone.
“I think what excites me the most about this job is that I’ll be able to tell a story. Every game is a new story, and I get to paint the picture for the people sitting in their cars or sitting at home. I get to animate those games for the people who could not make it to the game. With my background in theater I love telling stories. Being able to give them the down and distance at a football game, or relay the excitement of the game, or if it’s a close game and it’s 24-27 and we have the ball and we’re at the seven-yard line with 32 seconds to go, I want to be able to do that; I want to be able to share the excitement of what’s going on during the game. I want to make them feel like they are there,” said Patterson.
“One of my goals is to pronounce names right; that is extremely important to me,” said Patterson. “Aside from that, trying not to – no pun intended – drop the ball. I know it’s kind of a lame cliche but Tom and Rich have done such a great job taking care of the ball for the last 20 years and they’ve really built the station’s reputation as professionals. I really hope I don’t let down Blarney Stone, I hope I don’t let down Tom and Rich’s legacy, I hope to do a great job and keep the tradition going and I hope to be able to hold on to this job for a long time.”
Patterson will make his debut as the voice of Viking athletics beginning in August 2017 during the football off-season. The first game of the 2017 football season is on August 24 against Roscommon at Grayling High School.