Entertainment

Monty Alexander: Gifted

Jazz great Monty Alexander joins Tim to end 2020 and look ahead to a New Year. In this episode Monty talks about his own life, career, holiday traditions, and some interesting experiences with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett and many others. Ultimately, he talks about his gift and the act of giving. In this episode, we have a relaxed conversation with a man who’s enjoyed nothing less than a dream career in jazz.

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A Mall Santa Story

Santa Butch from Montana is a mall Santa and has been one for most of the past 20 years. He joins Tim to tell what it’s like to actually be Santa in the eyes of a child, and some of the stories from his years as spreading holiday cheer as Santa Claus.

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A Christmas Special featuring Jonathan Butler

International recording artist Jonathan Butler joins Tim to talk about Christmas and how despite all of the adversity he’s faced in his life, his story is one of hope, of inspiration, and of happiness. Jonathan is an accomplished jazz creator and performer who gained fame in pop music, R&B, jazz and worship music.  In this episode, Jonathan recalls his own holiday memories and how he taps spirituality in his own music.

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Tammy Haddix: Creating Hallmark Keepsakes

Hallmark artist and creator Tammy Haddix joins Tim to talk about one of America’s more lasting holiday traditions, our holiday ornaments and decorating the Christmas tree. Tammy tells her own story as a member of the Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Studio, as a mother and a wife, and how all of that comes to play when she helps make the holidays that much more special for Americans across the country.

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The Mayflower

New York Times best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick joins Tim to talk about the story behind those pilgrims and the Mayflower in a way that covers much more than that first Thanksgiving. Nathaniel has authored many best sellers, but the one we’ll focus on in this episode is must-reading for anyone who wants to get the full story of Thanksgiving’s origins in America. The book is called simply, “Mayflower.” This episode marks the 400th anniversary of that world-changing voyage.

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John Beasley: A Jazz Renaissance Man

Jazz Renaissance man John Beasley joins Tim to talk about his multifaceted career and life in jazz music.  He’s a jazz pianist, a composer, an arranger, a music director and a producer. And chances are you’ve heard some of his work through film, TV or commercials. In this episode, John talks about his a one-of-a-kind music lineage and how he balances his many music loves.

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Bob Mintzer: Big Band Jazz

Jazz great Bob Mintzer joins Tim to talk about  his career in jazz, his body of work, his life in music. Bob is one of the world’s leading jazz saxophonists. He’s classically trained, but a self-taught jazz artist, who talks about the music and how the current pandemic is setting the stage for what’s next.

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Cal Thomas: The Fall of Empires, the Future of US

Best-selling Author and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas joins Tim to talk about the rise and fall of empires and super powers and what history can tell us about America’s future. Cal recently released a book called, “America’s Expiration Date: The fall of empires and superpowers, and the future of the United States.”

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Kurt Elling: A Jazz Singer for Our Time

Influential jazz vocalist Kurt Elling joins Tim to talk about his life in jazz music and the unique role the vocalist plays, along with his multifaceted career in theatre and as one of jazz music’s poets.

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FATIMA: The Miracle of the Sun

Veteran Hollywood producer Rose Ganguzza joins Tim to talk about her latest project. The picture is called, Fatima.  In this episode, Rose tells the story at the center of her most recent film, Fatima, and the creative process for bringing that story to today’s audiences and making it relevant and relatable, all while working to overcome a pandemic in the process.

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The ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke Island is Found

Historian and author Scott Dawson joins Tim to talk about his team’s discovery of what actually happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks. He has spent the past 11 years working with a team of archaeologists, historians, botanists and geologists to try to uncover the truth behind the story of the Lost Colony.

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“Cancel Culture” with Eric Dezenhall

Author and veteran crisis communicator Eric Dezenhall joins Tim to talk about a new phenomenon that is emerging in the public arena that’s causing many to refrain from engaging in public dialogue for fear they can be “cancelled.” The topic is “cancel culture” and what to do about it.

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Stefano Bollani’s Fresh Take on “Jesus Christ Superstar”

One of the world’s elite jazz pianists Stefano Bollani joins Tim to talk about music innovation, artistry, and his most recent project, “Piano Variations on Jesus Christ Superstar.” Get inside the mind of a creative improvisationist through a very relaxed and fun conversation.

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Napa Valley: Growing Tourism Again

Linsey Gallagher, the President and CEO of Visit Napa Valley, joins Tim to talk about what she and her team are doing to bring travelers back to one of the most popular wine country destinations in the world.  Linsey has had to regroup and pivot with Napa Valley’s 400-plus vintners to help the region’s second-largest economic drivers – tourism – recover after the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown.

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After COVID-19: Get Ready to Play

UPMC Sports medicine physician Dr. Jeanne Doperak joins Tim to talk about how athletes of all ages can get back to playing sports again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s one of the people behind the new UPMC Youth Sports Playbook designed to help get young athletes back to competition. In this episode, Dr. Doperak details the thinking behind that playbook, and how to get your young athlete back into sports with confidence, with the right approach and the right mindset.

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John Scofield: A Jazz Master

Jazz legend John Scofield joins Tim to talk about his life as one of the world’s leading jazz guitarists. He talks about the creative process, performing, and how his music has defied labeling. John is a true jazz innovator.

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Podcast Gumbo: Why We Listen

Paul Kondo joins Tim to talk about why we listen to podcasts, what’s the appeal, and some of the podcasts he likes. Paul is the editor of the leading podcasting industry newsletter for listeners called Podcast Gumbo, and new in 2020, the Podcast Gumbo Podcast.  Podcasting has shaped the way we think, but there’s something more to it. In this episode we explore the appeal of podcasting.

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Larry Gatlin: A Life in Country Music

Country music star Larry Gatlin joins Tim to talk about a life in country music, as a songwriter, as a performer and as a member of one of the most famous vocal groups in the history of country music. Larry is the oldest of the three Gatlin Brothers who hale from West Texas. He is an award-winner, a chart-topper and a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Fred Hersch: A Jazz Story

Jazz piano legend Fred Hersch joins Tim to talk about his life in and out of jazz, his new virtual concert series called Fred Hersch at Home. Fred was one of the first to live stream his performances daily on Facebook, entertaining tens of thousands who may never have had the chance to see him in person. And we talk about the new world in which we’re living and how jazz is making a positive impact.

 

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The Business Side of TV News

TV news industry veteran and consultant John Altenbern joins Tim to talk about the business of TV news. John runs a consulting firm named Crawford Johnson & Northcott, Inc., that specializes in helping TV news operations get better ratings and grow their audiences. John tells what it takes for TV news operations to compete against each other for your time and attention. He gives a glimpse of some of the methods and strategies those news directors, producers and reporters use to keep us tuned in.

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Marilyn Monroe: A Bombshell Story

Author Charles Casillo joins Tim to talk about the most iconic sex symbol in the modern era Marilyn Monroe. Charles is the author of the novel “The Marilyn Diaries” and a non-fiction work “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon.” In this episode, we about Marilyn Monroe, her legacy in the entertainment industry, in society and her imprint on pop culture.

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Miss Manners to the Rescue

Judith Martin, better known to millions of readers as Miss Manners, joins Tim to talk about good manners, an understanding of etiquette and civility are as important as ever. Judith is an author and a syndicated columnist. In this episode, she talks about her career at the Washington Post, about how etiquette and manners in society have evolved, and about her new book called, “Minding Miss Manners: In an Era of Fake Etiquette.”

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Story Behind a Song: Wagon Wheel

Ketch Secor joins Tim to talk about his long journey in roots music, his band the Old Crow Medicine Show, that now iconic song he co-wrote with Bob Dylan, and how the nation’s COVID quarantine has created a new phenomenon – an explosion of live music on the Internet. Coming to a live stream near you!

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Carol Roth: Using Humor to Make a Point

Carol Roth joins Tim to talk about a wide range of things, most notably how to use humor to make a point. Carol is a 2020 version of a renaissance woman, a national media personality, a former investment banker, a New York Times best-selling author, and now an investor, business advisor and entrepreneur. We talk with Carol about her career and the niche she has carved for herself providing tough love on business, entrepreneurship and how she leverages the power of humor to make a point.

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Meme Culture: How “Buckle Up, Baby” Became a Meme

Tyler and Hilary Avolia join Tim to talk about the time a spontaneous moment at a hockey game when Tyler was two turned into a meme that is now known around the world. In this episode, we look back to the time a local TV news clip from a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game in 2014, made Tyler’s baby face one of the most shared memes on the Internet. The topic? Meme culture.

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One Fun Mess: Double Dare with Marc Summers

Television host and producer Marc Summers joins Tim to talk about the classic Nickelodeon show that put him and the Nickelodeon cable network on the map, Double Dare. Before Double Dare, kids didn’t have their own game show and the Nickelodeon network was not as widely known as it would become after this crazy, messy, green slimy “party” that millions of millennials would rush home after school to watch.

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Singing is Good for You: Choirs are on the Rise

Susan Medley joins Tim to talk about new research that revealed that singing is good for you, mentally and physically, and America’s participation in choirs is on the rise. Susan is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at Washington & Jefferson College and is the music director of the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. Today, one in six Americans sing in community choirs.

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The Story of a Song: “Play That Funky Music”

The founder of the band Wild Cherry and the creator of the iconic song “Play that Funky Music,” Rob Parissi, joins Tim to do an anatomy of a funky song. That funky song, which has been named one of the top 100-performing songs of all time. Rob tells stories and gives a hint why new generations are embracing it even today.

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The Rise of Rush Limbaugh & Conservative Talk Radio

Brian Rosenwald joins Tim to talk about the rise of Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio. Brian is the co-editor of a daily Washington Post history blog called “Made by History.” He’s a Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also the author of a new book called: “Talk Radio’s America: how an industry took over a political party that took over the United States.”

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The Philosophy of Mister Rogers

Bill Isler joins Tim to talk about his friend and colleague and Fred Rogers and the film “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks and where Bill serves as an important character in the movie. Bill sheds light on  Fred Rogers the man, his philosophy and his unquestionable legacy.

 

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YouTube Creator: The Kavalier

He’s an up and coming YouTube creator better known to his 100,000 subscribers as The Kavalier. Jon Shanahan joins Tim to talk about what it was like to come up with this YouTube concept, and then come up with a successful strategy to build a large following as a full-time YouTuber.

 

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Our Top 10 Moments of 2019

In this episode, Tim revisits the Top 10 moments in the Shaping Opinion Podcast for 2019. Which one was your favorite? Find out if your fellow listeners selected it in their Top 10!

 

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Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights

Rabbi Seth Adelson joins Tim to talk about the story of Hanukkah, its history, its traditions and its meaning. Rabbi Adelson serves the Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh.

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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Jim Temple is the grandson of Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote a letter to the New York Sun that would lead to an editorial that would cement Santa Claus in the minds of children of all ages for generations.  Jim joins Tim in this episode to talk about the lasting impact of that letter and the editorial. This is that now iconic editorial that features those legendary words, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

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She was Cousin Catherine in “Christmas Vacation”

Miriam Flynn is an actor and voice actor best known as Cousin Catherine in the National Lampoon Vacation series of motion pictures. She joins Tim to talk about here work on the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation movie, her own memories and how the film has found a way into America’s holiday season entertainment traditions.

 

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He Directed “Christmas Vacation”

Plan on watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation this holiday season? Listen to the film’s director Jeremiah Chechik talk about the impact that movie has had on him and on our holiday entertainment traditions. He’ll talk about the making of the film and why the Griswold Family have become a staple in holiday viewing.

 

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Why We Eat What We Do at Thanksgiving

Food PR expert Mary Barber joins Tim to tell the origin stories behind our Thanksgiving foods, from regional favorites, to some items that trace their “roots” back to that first Thanksgiving in 1621. Listen to the story behind your Thanksgiving table.

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Post-game Staple: The Locker Room Interview

Veteran sports columnist Gene Collier joins Tim to talk about the ubiquitous locker room interview and how it changed the way the world learns about and sees sports. Gene tells stories of his own memorable experiences as a journalist interviewing athletes and coaches before and after some of the biggest events of their lives. In this episode we talk about the first locker room interview pioneer, and the time when female journalists gained access to team locker rooms.

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The Fortune 500

Fortune Magazine CEO Alan Murray joins Tim to tell the story behind the Fortune 500, its history, its significance today, and what it has said over the years about America’s and the world’s business evolution.

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The Last Pirate, The First Celebrity Gangster

Author Rich Cohen joins Tim to talk about his latest book called The Last Pirate of New York. As the title would suggest, it’s about the end of the days of pirates in New York, and the birth of the celebrity gangster, all in the story of one man, Albert Hicks and the grisly case in 1860 that changed the way Americans saw crime.

 

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E.B. White’s Timeless Words on Democracy

Writer and editor Martha White joins Tim to discuss her work on the new book called, “E.B. White On Democracy,” a collection of her iconic grandfather’s essays, poetry and letters on democratic society. E.B. White wrote the children’s stories of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. His work on the book The Elements of Style is iconic. But he was best known during his lifetime as an essayist, a poet and a writer for The New Yorker and others.

 

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Time Machine: RCA Studio B

Country music historian John Rumble joins Tim to talk about Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio B, where music history was made on a regular basis. John is a senior historian at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In this episode, we talk about a humble little recording studio that changed the course of country music history, and made the careers of many entertainers within and outside of country music.

 

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Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe

The COO and General Manager of Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café Erika Wollam Nichols joins Tim to talk about the Bluebird, its storied history and how this little place in a strip mall has impacted country music, songwriting and our culture.

 

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MTV: When Video Killed the Radio Star

Los Angeles Times music editor and author Craig Marks joins Tim to talk about the birth of MTV and how it changed culture, music and television. Craig is a co-author of the book, “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.”

 

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In Search of Kindness

Mary Latham is on a mission to collect stories of kindness from all 50 states in the country for a once-in-a-lifetime journey. She joins Tim to talk about what and who inspired her mission and tells many stories she’s learned 41 states into her trip.

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America’s First Family of Fireworks

Dr. George Zambelli, Jr., Chairman of Zambelli Fireworks, joins Tim to talk about fireworks, America’s 4th of July tradition, his family’s role as the “First Family of Fireworks,” and the American dream. Since 1893, Zambelli Fireworks has dazzled millions, including every president since JFK. There is a good chance that if you watch fireworks this July 4th, you’ll be enjoying that “Zambelli magic.”

 

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The American Flag: A Biography

Historian, professor, and podcaster Greg Jackson joins Tim to discuss the story of the United States flag, its history, its meaning and what it represents, and just why and how it stirs such strong emotions throughout society. Later in the episode we have a special feature you won’t want to miss.

 

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Hollywood Confidential: America’s Celebrity Crisis Manager

Hollywood publicist, crisis manager and author Howard Bragman joins Tim to talk about what it’s like to handle public relations for celebrities, particularly when those celebrities find themselves at the center of controversy. For decades, Howard has been the go-to guy in Los Angeles and nationwide for celebrity crisis management.

 

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America’s New Arrivals

The host of the popular new podcast ‘How To Be American,’ Brendan Murphy joins Tim to talk about America’s immigration heritage as seen through the rooms of a couple old tenement buildings on the Lower East Side of New York City. Brendan is an educator at the Tenement Museum.

 

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Grammy Winner Tim O’Brien: American Bluegrass

Grammy Award-winning bluegrass songwriter and performer Tim O’Brien joins our Tim O’Brien to talk about his own musical journey and about America’s bluegrass musical heritage.

 

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