Pat died last week, unexpectedly, at his home in Michigan. I’ve known Pat for more than 30 years, and he was a legend in the media business, as an investigative reporter at CNN and NBC, and as the D.C. bureau chief of the media trade rag “Radio and Records.” It was during that last position we became friends and allies, I was involved in some ground breaking stuff which he admired, and he gave me generous media coverage, which helped me launch my venture.
Later, long before the germ of an idea for Sirius / XM appeared, we proposed a global satellite radio to Motorola, using their Iridium satellite system. They liked the idea but turned us down, because they said the system would be up to capacity with phone usage. Motorola? Really? Whoops.
In any way, Pat was a physically big guy, which fit his larger than life reputation and personality, and we enjoyed sharing meals around the country from time to time.
There was nearly always a “current affairs” or historical journalistic significance to where we dined, whether it was having a half-smoke on the streets of DC or a fine dining experience at the Old Ebbits, a tour of Italian restaurants and former mob hangouts in South Philly, or at Machus Red Fox in the Detroit area where Jimmy Hoffa was last seen.
One of the last times we ate together was with a group of our media peers in Los Angeles, where we successfully and not very gracefully, closed up a notable French restaurant for the note – and I mean “closed up” in that they asked us to leave. Feeling a little rowdy that night.
Never one to shy from controversy, Pat served as PR flack for the scientist accused in the anthrax scare in 2002. Pat was a staunch libertarian and ran for local office.
Pat was a good friend to all who came in contact with him, and loyal to a fault.
We stayed in touch over the years, and lately had lively dialogues about politics on Facebook. He hadn’t been posting the past week, and yesterday I found out why.
Gonna miss you, Pat. Perhaps you’ve bumped into Jimmy Hoffa up there, and the mystery has been solved for you once and for all!
Pat Clawson Obituary in the Flint paper.