History

A Delta Force Original: Mike Vining

One of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Delta unit, Mike Vining, joins Tim to talk about his highly decorated career that started in Vietnam and ended in the late 1990s, encompassing many historical missions. Mike was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operator in the Delta Force, among many other responsibilities. He tells us what goes through the mind of an explosives specialist when time is tight and it could be a matter of life and death.

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Big Pharma: How it Got this Way

Author and investigative journalist Gerald Posner joins Tim to talk about his new book that traces the pharmaceutical industry back to its roots and takes a hard look at just how medical drugs have become one of the most powerful industries in the nation. His book is called, “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.”  In this episode, Gerald details the pharmaceutical industry’s origins, how it became a marketing machine, and the current state of the industry and its relationship with society.

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The 1st Amendment: 45 Words that Shaped America

Gene Policinski joins Tim to talk about the First Amendment and how it continues to influence American society. He’s a Senior Fellow for the First Amendment at the Freedom Forum and he’s President of the Freedom Forum Institute. In this conversation, Gene details how the First Amendment has shaped America and will continue to do so, as long as it is protected.

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Who was Christopher Columbus?

Professor William J. Connell, who is an expert on Italian history, joins Tim to talk about the life of Christopher Columbus. Bill is an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and holder of the La Motta Endowed Chair in Italian History at Seton Hall University. He’s also the co-editor of the Routledge History of Italian Americans.  In this episode, we’ll learn about Christopher Columbus, and as cliché as it may sound, the man, the myth, the legend.

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Antitrust Showdown: Teddy Roosevelt v. John D. Rockefeller

Attorney and author Ron Schuler joins Tim to talk about an amazing story from his most recent book that continues to resonate as America wrestles with the balance of power between government and business. The Standard Oil antitrust case pits President Theodore Roosevelt against tycoon John D. Rockefeller in a legal battle that continues to influence antitrust thinking today, and just how big and powerful one company should be.

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The U.S. Capitol: Home to the American Story

Professor Greg Jackson joins Tim to tell the American story through the story of a building, the U.S. Capitol. From the day the cornerstone is laid by George Washington in 1793 through today, the Capitol building is the anchor for the American republic. Greg walks us through the Capitol’s halls and tells us the stories they can’t tell for themselves. This is our special annual Independence Day episode. Have a Happy July 4th!

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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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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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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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Live Music! Coming to a Quarantine LiveStream Near You

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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First Person: How “Business Casual” Became a Thing

PR veteran Rick Miller joins Tim to talk about helping Dockers change the way people dress in the office. He and his team played a part in the launch of the now ubiquitous “business casual” dress code. In this episode he talks about some of the keys to getting society to change its mindset about fashion and other things.

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COVID-19: How You Can Reduce Fear & Panic Right Now

In this special episode, it’s a break from format in response to unfolding developments in the COVID-19 outbreak. As a veteran crisis manager, Tim recently wrote a blog post on how to reduce panic and fear in the wake of recent events. The post has been broadly picked up and shared in the public relations and communications industries. In this episode, Tim shares that content with you in the hopes it can help you become a calming force for those around you.

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Leaving Venezuela: A Millennial on Socialism

Daniel Di Martino joins Tim to talk about socialism and how it has and continues to affect the people of Venezuela. Daniel was born and raised in Venezuela and fled his homeland in 2016. He is now a freedom activist and economist. Daniel explains socialism’s impact on his homeland’s economy, quality of life, individual freedoms, and how it affected the future for the millennial generation in that country.

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Do Political Campaigns Really Change Voters’ Minds?

Author and cognitive scientist Hugo Mercier joins Tim to talk about an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal where he sheds light on research that answers the question: “Do political campaigns change voters’ minds?” Hugo is the author of, “Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe.”

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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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1989 Protests: She was There in Tiananmen Square

Born and raised in China, author Anna Wang was in Tiananmen Square during those protests in 1989. She joins Tim to talk about what she saw, what she experienced, and what she learned since the events, the government crackdown that followed, the ripple effect those protests continue to have today.

 

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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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A Remarkable Peace: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Historian and author Terri Crocker joins Tim to talk about the still remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 at the outset of the First World War. Terri wrote the book, “The Christmas Truce: Myth, memory and the First World War.” In this episode, we look at the Western Front where against all odds and their commanding officers, German and British troops, and others stepped out into no man’s land on Christmas Day for a day of peace.

 

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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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He Reshaped the World After World War Two

Author and historian Rachel Yarnell Thompson joins Tim to talk about the man with a plan, George Marshall, whose “Marshall Plan” reshaped Europe and the world after World War Two. After playing important military roles in winning both World War One and World War Two, he was tapped for what would become his most well-recognized legacy, the rebuilding of the free world. Rachel is the author of: Marshall—A Statesman Shaped in the Crucible of War.

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Building The Bomb

Richard Rhodes won a Pulitzer Prize for his definitive book on the development of nuclear weapons called “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” It’s one of 26 books he’s written, several of them focused on the world in the nuclear age. He joins Tim to talk about the wartime effort that changed everything, The Manhattan Project.

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Iowa Caucuses: The Breakfast Place

David “Stoney” Stone, the owner of the Waveland Café in Des Moines, Iowa, joins Tim to talk about how his humble little diner has become the go-to destination in for anyone who wants to become President of the United States as they compete in the Iowa Caucuses.

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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 Ludlow Massacre & The Birth of PR

Veteran public relations consultant, author and professor Fraser Seitel joins Tim to talk about a horrendous moment in American business history and how that spurred the need for the public relations profession and PR practitioners to serve as the “conscience of the organization.” This story centers on John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the striking workers of the Ludlow Camp in 1914, and one of the fathers of the PR profession, Ivy Lee.

 

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Richard Nixon After Watergate

Historian and author Kasey Pipes joins Tim to talk about the Richard Nixon that may get lost in a world of tweets and social media posts, and that is the 20-year post-presidency of Nixon that had a meaningful impact on the United States’ foreign policy and place in a changing world. Kasey tells of Richard Nixon’s years in exile, and then his unlikely comeback that few if any could have predicted. By the time he died, Nixon had become an elder statesman and an advisor to other presidents, both Democrat and Republican.

 

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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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Breaking IN to Auschwitz

Former war correspondent and author Jack Fairweather joins Tim to talk about the one man who elected to volunteer to be taken prisoner to fight the Nazis from inside of Auschwitz during World War II. Jack tells Tim why the world is only learning more about Witold Pilecki now, and how his story of bravery, heroics and the ultimate sacrifice almost was lost to history. Pilecki took on one of the most daunting tasks anyone would take in the war.

 

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September 11 – A Pentagon Story

Captain Bill Toti, a retired Naval officer, joins Tim to discuss his firsthand experiences from the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Bill remembers the attack on the Pentagon moment for moment, and what he did in the immediate aftermath and throughout the recovery. One thing we talk about is how the Pentagon’s story may be the least known in the conversation on 9/11.

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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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Fred Smith & FedEx: A Gamechanger

College professor and author Dr. Jim Wetherbe from Texas Tech joins Tim to discuss the story of FedEx and how it changed the game in overnight shipping, in time management and e-commerce, and just how Americans shop online and conduct business. Jim is the author of the book, “The World on Time,” the story of Fred Smith and the company he founded FedEx.

 

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The Famine that Changed Ireland & America

Christine Kinealy joins Tim to talk about a tragedy that reshaped the landscapes of Ireland and the United States and Canada. The Great Hunger, The Great Famine, or better known as the Irish Potato Famine, but it was about anything but potatoes. If you’re of Irish descent in America, there is a good chance your ancestors were spurred to come to America due to blight and famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s. Christine is the Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, an author, and a member of the Irish American Hall of Fame.

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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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WWII: Cracking the Enigma Code

Julia Parsons joins Tim to talk about her role as a code-breaker during World War II. Julia was part of a a team of Navy women stationed in Washington, D.C. during World War II who worked to decipher German submarine messages that were sent in secret code using the Enigma machine. Her work relied on the now legendary Bombe machine invented by Alan Turing.

 

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Social Issues, Activists & Companies

Educator and well-respected author Dr. Tim Coombs joins Tim to talk about one of the more prevalent types of crises businesses and organizations face today – the social issue crisis. Boycotts, social media backlash, protests and other activities centered on social issues, and no organization is exempt, even if it’s not involved in the controversy.

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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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The Father of the Motivation Industry: Napoleon Hill

College professor, researcher and entrepreneur Dr. Lloyd Corder joins Tim to talk about the story of the father of the motivation industry, Napoleon Hill, and how his principles continue to provide the foundation for the self-help movement.


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Presidential Speechwriter – Episode 71

Former presidential speechwriter Noam Neusner joins Tim to talk about what it was like to create news-making and sometimes history-making speeches for the President of the United States. A seasoned communicator, journalist and book author, Noam shares his insights on the craft of speechwriting and the power of an effective speech.

 

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Breaking the Story: Boston Priest Abuse Scandal

Veteran journalist, author and college professor Alison Bass joins Tim to talk about her time as a reporter with the Boston Globe and her work in the earliest days of breaking and covering the Catholic priest abuse scandal in Boston.

 

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