Shaker’s Aaron Goldhammer talks sports.
By Julie Hullett
If you’ve ever listened to “The Really Big Show,” you’ll know Shaker resident Aaron Goldhammer. He is the wildly enthusiastic and boyishly charming co-host and producer of this ESPN WKNR 850 sports talk show. Although “The Really Big Show” is mostly geared toward sports, this fast-paced, four-hour broadcast is as fun and funny as it is informative, and for that reason, it has broad audience appeal.
Goldhammer hosts the show with Tony Rizzo, whom he affectionately calls “Riz.” Part of the show’s energy comes from the differences between the two personalities. Riz is from Cleveland, he’s Italian, and he’s middle-aged. Goldhammer is from Denver, he’s Jewish, and he’s young. The is contrast makes for entertaining banter. The two bicker back and forth, but they’re great friends and they love working together.
“We talk sports but we definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try to have fun with each other every day,” Goldhammer says. “We do a show that appeals to the general Cleveland public.”
It is no surprise that Goldhammer, a sports enthusiast since childhood, spends his days (and plenty of evenings) immersed in all aspects of the sports world. In addition to producing the show, Goldhammer manages various team members at the Cleveland station, works closely with ESPN, and hosts an afternoon sports talk show called “The Insiders.” He also is tasked with choosing how to commemorate significant moments (and there are many) in Cleveland sports history.
Goldhammer has landed some memorable interviews during his career, including with former NBA player Magic Johnson and former NFL running back Marcus Allen. Not just a sports enthusiast, Goldhammer’s range extends beyond interviews with athletes to include conversations with actors Willem DaFoe and Dennis Quaid, and local chef Michael Symon.
It would be hard to talk about a career in the Cleveland sports arena without noting the king-sized impact of LeBron James. Cleveland’s love-hate relationship with their home-grown superstar impacted Goldhammer’s career in a way he will never forget or take for granted.
“It’s a story of forgiveness and moving on; it has nothing to do with sports. It’s all about life, and it’s quite the tale,” Goldhammer says.
“Shaker’s such a cosmopolitan community. The values of the people here and my values jive really well.”
In 2016, the Cavaliers won the city’s first championship sports title in 52 years and Goldhammer and Riz were in the building to witness the winning shot in Game 7. Talk about a significant moment in Cleveland sports history!
So what brought Goldhammer to Shaker Heights? He heard about the City even before his job brought him to Cleveland. He says Shaker’s national reputation as a diverse community, its strong emphasis on education, and residents’ appreciation for the arts were particularly enticing. In addition, Shaker’s proximity to Cleveland was vital for his job.
“I like to be able to jump on the Rapid and go downtown,” he says. “Shaker afforded me the opportunity to do that.”
Looking ahead, Goldhammer says he wants to raise kids in a diverse and accepting community, and especially in one that values education. Shaker checks all the boxes.
“Shaker’s such a cosmopolitan community. The values of the people here and my values jive really well,” he says. “The residents are all from different parts of the country and the world. Shaker should be proud of that. It’s a unique place in that sense.”
For now, Goldhammer is eagerly awaiting the completion of the Van Aken District. “My wife and I are excited to see what comes of the construction project. We believe it’s going to help every resident of Shaker because it’s going to increase property values and make Shaker a more desirable place to live,” he says. “It’s been a painstaking process, but when it’s done, it’s going to be a home run.”
Julie Hullett is a senior Journalism major at John Carroll University. She serves as Managing Editor of The Carroll News and as News Director of WJCU.
Originally published in Shaker Life, Fall 2017.