Pride in the Media is an ongoing series on local LGBTQ media personalities and ally representatives of queer-affirming local media outlets.
When Eric Braate secured his position as a weather executive producer for KPRC Channel 2 in December 2006, he was venturing into his second career—one that fit the handsome meteorologist like one of his well-tailored suits. As an avid triathlon athlete, Braate thrives under pressure, lives by the clock, and loves a challenge. Anyone who has worked in a TV newsroom knows that there is no better description of the profession than that.
“I’ve completed over 30 marathons now!” he states proudly. “I’ve also completed three Ironman triathlons—a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon, back-to-back. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.”
So just what is a weather executive producer, you ask? “I report the weather, but I also fill in, when necessary, in other positions. Wherever I am needed. I’m sort of a utility player,” Braate says with a laugh.
When he originally graduated from college in Michigan, Braate held a degree in chemical engineering. Personable and hard-working, he was quickly offered a position with GE in Idaho.
“I was an engineer for six years there, and spent a lot of time in a plant or an office. As the days wore on, it became evident to me that I was not made for corporate America. I decided I needed a change, so I sold my house, quit my job, and returned to college to earn a master’s degree in meteorology. It was a bold move, but I don’t regret it for a second!” he says, flashing a smile.
In 2006, when Braate assumed his position at KPRC, he was already in love with his adopted city. Houston offered all sorts of opportunities for an active athlete, plus a year-round climate in which to enjoy them.
He also loved Houston’s food, its people, its diversity, and his friends at Channel 2. What Braate did not know at the time was that he’d find the love of his life in Houston, as well. He wasn’t even looking when he met his husband-to-be, Huy Nguyen.
“On our first date, we ate sushi together,” Braate says, smiling at the memory. “I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but it was ‘like’ at first sight. I was not in an emotional place for a committed relationship at that point. I was lucky that Huy gave me the time and space to get there. Today, we are in a strong, healthy, happy marriage. I am so fortunate.”
In 2014, life handed Braate an unexpected challenge. While training for a triathlon, he was running along a quiet road when a truck hit him and broke his neck in two places.
“In the emergency room that day, I vowed to battle back and cross the finish line in 2015. I kept that promise. Traversing that finish line was a moment I’ll never forget!” he exclaims.
When and where did Braate and Nguyen tie the knot? The two married in New York City in October of 2014—back when New York was one of the few states where gay marriage was legal.
“My neck injury caused me to think about Huy’s well-being and the future. There was no legal way in Texas at the time to make sure he would be OK if something happened to me. We were sitting in my doctor’s waiting room during a checkup on my injury when I said, ‘You know, we should get married.’ Huy smiled and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ So we flew to New York, and we did,” Braate recalls.
Today, the couple has no definite plans for a family, but they absolutely dote on their dog, Pickle—“The sweetest little dog in the world,” says Braate.
Pickle is a terrier-mix rescue dog who is 18 years old, going deaf, and is having trouble navigating stairs these days. When Pickle finally crosses the rainbow bridge, the couple will be heartbroken. Lost. With so much love to give, we are guessing there will be new family members in the future for this couple, be they two-legged or four.
This article appears in the June 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.