Former Browns nose tackle Bob Golic left Cleveland in 1988, a move that led to Los Angeles and a post-NFL career in television and radio. Now, he's back in Northeast Ohio with a new afternoon drive-time radio show that goes beyond sports talk.
Bob Golic admits that anyone who gets to know him finds out he likes to talk — a lot.
The former Cleveland Browns nose tackle recalls the time in 1990 when a reporter asked the then-Los Angeles Raider for a post-game locker-room interview. Golic's teammate, Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, answered for him.
"Howie said, 'Bob would talk to the wall if it had a notepad attached to it,' " the 46-year-old Golic recalls with a laugh. "My friends know my propensity for speech."
Golic, who played for the Browns from 1982 to 1988, recently returned to Northeast Ohio to make a living off his gift for gab. He started hosting "The Bob Golic Show" in early January. It airs from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays on Akron-area talk-radio station WNIR 100 FM and is a welcome change for the former syndicated sports-talk radio host.
"Unless there's a good story breaking, sports talk can be very repetitive, even in L.A., where you have Shaq and Kobe to talk about all the time," Golic explains. "I like getting into things that are deep."
The Willowick native started his entertainment career almost as soon as he retired from pro football following the 1992 season. He was offered bit parts as football players on episodes of CBS's forgettable sitcom "Good Advice" and the long-running ABC hit "Coach." Those stints led to a role as a retired pro football player-turned-postgraduate student and college dorm adviser on NBC's "Saved by the Bell: The College Years."
When the prime-time series was canceled after a single season, he found work at NBC as an NFL announcer and on The Family Channel's "Home & Family," as the resident expert on sports and — we're not kidding — sewing. ("It's just like building: You take a couple of parts and you put 'em together," the self-taught domestic god declares.)
Golic then appeared on pregame shows for Fox Sports Net and CNN/SI cable channels. He also hosted a couple of syndicated sports-talk-radio shows, one of which was aired on more than 200 stations across the country.
Golic was contemplating his next career move following his last job — co-hosting a Los Angeles sports-talk radio show with Fox sports commentator Chris Myers — when his mother called in late August to inform him that WNIR was conducting a "Radio Idol" contest to find a replacement for retiring afternoon drive-time personality Joe Finan.
"My family knew that if I could find some work, something to interest me in Ohio, I would come back," says Golic, who was eager to move closer to a daughter from his first marriage who still lives in the Cleveland area. He and wife Karen had also wanted to move their two children out of the Los Angeles area. Even though they lived in affluent Manhattan Beach, they were still confronted by small home lots, substandard public schools, waiting lists at private schools and concerns about kidnappings and carjackings.
"I want my kids to be in a place where they can feel safe and I know that they're going to be around good people," Golic says. "There are strange people everywhere, but there aren't as many here."
Golic contacted WNIR vice president and station manager Bill Klaus and was invited to host the 7-to-11 p.m. slot one Monday during a trip home to Cleveland last September. "I had a riot," Golic says. Klaus offered him the job that night.
The beloved former Brown, who was bunking with his parents and trying to sell his California home at press time, prepares for his show every morning by "grabbing the newspaper and turning on CNN or the local news." He describes himself as "more to the right but inching towards the middle" politically and says the tone of his show is "more conversational than confrontational."
"There's always two sides to a story," he says. "I think it's better if we discuss it."
When asked whether he has any reservations about going head-to-head with Cleveland talk-radio kingpin Mike Trivisonno of WTAM 1100, he replies that he's been so busy enjoying his "new avenue of expression" that he hasn't even thought about it.
"The one thing that I've learned in radio," Golic says, "is that there's a market for everybody."