Best Radio Personality (2002)

Hank Goldberg

Manning the afternoon drive-time shift at WQAM-AM is no soft gig. It's easy to get lost in the afterglow of popular morning and midday hosts Neil "God" Rogers and Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich. And because he's "only" a sports-talk host, Hank "The Hammer" Goldberg doesn't get the style points he deserves. Hammer knows sports, all right, and with no illusions -- he knows that the bottom line often counts for more than the box score. But it's his character that makes the show special, the taste and attitude he dishes out in asides and digressions. Nightclub acts, bookmakers, and Joe's Stone Crab -- Hammer's idea of class is old-school Miami Beach. He's no square, you understand; he just loves the tried-and-true. And macho as the sports world can be, Hammer's got no patience with male chauvinism or gay-bashing, readily smacking down callers who show the slightest hint of either. Want an object lesson in "not suffering fools gladly?" Listen to the smolder in Hammer's tones as he feeds out the rope on a listener's thoughtless rant, then blisters him with "You're an idiot!" and coolly explains -- with flawless logic -- just why. A New Jersey boy -- and you can hear it in his voice -- Hank must have been one of those smart Jewish kids more drawn to the street than the shul. One word of Yiddish he probably knows, though, is heimisch. It means a guy you can trust.

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