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.
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.
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.
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.
Pamela Whitenack, Director Emeritus of the Hershey Community Archives, joins Tim to talk about the story behind Hershey, the iconic candy brand, the company and the small town in Pennsylvania, all the vision of one man, Milton S. Hershey.
New York Times bestselling author David Fisher joins Tim to talk about his collaboration (Lincoln’s Last Trial: the murder case that propelled him to the presidency) with Dan Abrams on the murder case that put Abraham Lincoln on a path to the presidency. David tells the story of how Abraham Lincoln took on a controversial case less than a year before the Republican Convention and the start of one of the most pivotal periods in American history.
Historian Andy Masich joins Tim to discuss the battle of Little Bighorn, one of the most well known and possibly misunderstood battles in the history of the American West. An author, speaker and college educator, Andy also serves as CEO of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. In this episode he puts the story of Little Bighorn into perspective for today and how America changed afterward.
Silicon Valley legend and high-tech marketing pioneer Regis McKenna joins Tim for a complete hour to talk about his path to become one of the foremost marketing thinkers in the tech era. Regis is most widely known for his work with Apple from the very beginning, and for helping to grow Intel and Genentech. In this wide-ranging conversation, Regis talks Apple, Steve Jobs, marketing and the future, and in the process he puts on a Marketing Masterclass.
Sheila Tate, First Lady Nancy Reagan’s Press Secretary and Press Secretary for candidate and President-elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, joins Tim to discuss her new book “Lady in Red” about Nancy Reagan, her impact on Ronald Reagan’s presidency and her own legacy.
O’Brien Communications’ Shaping Opinion Podcast is an award-winning podcast about people, events and things that have shaped the way we think. It sits at the corner of culture, history and communication.
We publish new episodes on Mondays. Each episode features a conversation between Tim O’Brien and a guest.
Our favorite thing is to hear from you, telling us where you like to listen. At work, in the car, working out? Use our Contact Form to get in touch. We love to hear from listeners!
Tim O’Brien is a Pittsburgh-based communications veteran with experience in complex matters that have ranged from marketing and C-suite issues, to crisis and issues management. He’s the producer and host of Shaping Opinion, where he talks to guests on a wide range of topics at the intersection of communications, history and culture. He’s available for consulting and speaking, and is always interested in what you think of the podcast. Just get in touch.