More than 15 years ago, Dan Patrick left ESPN to take control of his own career. Since then, the 66-year-old radio host and longtime broadcaster has built up his own empire with The Dan Patrick Show.
While there is an end in sight, as Patrick casually and surprisingly announced his four-year retirement tour, the announcement stems from the fact that he signed a four-year contract extension with iHeart and Fox Sports Radio, which he has already decided will be the final radio deal of his career.
But Patrick didn’t get in the radio business to talk about just sports, even if that’s where his expertise may lie. Recently participating in a Q&A with GQ’s Pete Croatto, Patrick was asked about leaning into the role as somebody who can listen and give advice more than spew off hot takes and talk about “This what the Lakers need to win this year.”
His answer may surprise some.
“Well, I don’t do a sports show. I do a show. Women will say, ‘My husband has your show on, and you’re talking about things that I actually enjoy or I can relate to.’ My goal is just to have a show and talk about whatever’s going on. I promised that I would not get political, but I will give you opinions. It could be I went to see this movie, Asteroid City, and I walked out after an hour. Or I went to see Hamilton on Broadway because those are the things that I’m doing. And then it just morphed into me talking about having three daughters, and I just can’t imagine walking them down the aisle. Then what’s it like when you drop your daughter off? And then I can say, ‘Well, I dropped three of ’em off and this is how I acted, and this is my suggestion for you: Don’t let her see you cry. You be proud of her.’
I’m not a voice in your radio. It’s like that guy is talking to me. Every time, I feel like I’m talking to one person. It’s just there are a lot of them in the audience that I’m talking to. I hope I’m touching on things with these people that they can take with them or remember. And that’s what it’s about. The game of radio is, Did you hear that interview? Oh, did you hear what he said? That’s what I want, because then you pass it on to people. I never want it to be nuts and bolts. Let’s talk about the Dodgers bullpen. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested if there’s an interesting story with somebody in the Dodgers bullpen, but not the Dodgers bullpen. So it’s almost trying to find the story within the story—and sometimes within that story as well—that makes it, I think, far more impactful.”
While Patrick still has another four years of his retirement tour to go, he’s made it inherently clear that his show is not just about sports. There’s a bigger picture at play here. And if Patrick wanted to focus solely on sports, perhaps he’d still be at ESPN, where he said he struggled to be himself and was what “corporate wanted.”
Patrick’s claim seems to indicate that he was masking his own personality in favor of what corporate wanted, and his current show gives him the opportunity to dig deeper into the story rather than what’s on the surface. It’s given him the opportunity to offer life advice, and perhaps his thoughts on some things that may have not been appropriate over at ESPN radio.
Patrick thinks that finding the story within the story is far more impactful, and that’s probably why he’s become one of the more influential radio personalities of his time.