53 episodes

Philadelphia's morning news guy for 6abc Action News talks to the "true" people of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. They are tough, they are frank, they fascinating and they are ours!

The True Philadelphia Podcast with Matt O'Donnell With Matt O'Donnell

    • News
    • 4.7, 38 Ratings

Philadelphia's morning news guy for 6abc Action News talks to the "true" people of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. They are tough, they are frank, they fascinating and they are ours!

    S3 E14 Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Coard on Why "The Angriest Black Man in America" is More Hopeful Now

    S3 E14 Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Coard on Why "The Angriest Black Man in America" is More Hopeful Now

    When you ask Michael Coard what he thinks about anything, he will give you an answer - unfiltered. The longtime Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer has been talking for decades about racial issues that we now see at the forefront today: inequities in how African-Americans are treated in the judicial system, by police, in the workplace and with history.
    Coard joked that as fewer and fewer people see him as a "radical" maybe he needs to start acting crazier. Throughout our conversation, he gave thoughtful answers and powerful metaphors to express what it is like to be a Black man in America and why everyone needs to work together to reform our society.
    Not only a veteran lawyer and civil rights activist, Coard is also a journalist, a radio host and a teacher.
    We spoke via Zoom on July 6, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    Coard reveals what he would have told himself if he could go back to December of last year (1:25), what he thinks lit the spark among Americans to take an honest look at our country's race relations (2:00), if he was a radical before, what is he now? (2:45), why he "plays the race card" when fighting for equal rights (4:03), Coard presents a hypothetical situation that brings clarity to the struggles of African-Americans in the criminal justice system (4:25), if the "Angriest Black Man in America" is still angry (5:30), the story behind acknowledging the fact that President George Washington kept slaves at his house in Philadelphia (7:50), the poignant speech Coard gave at the opening of the President's House Memorial at Independence Mall in 2010 (11:10), why Coard is hopeful but also not naive about the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement (13:10), if a re-examining of the Founding Fathers, particularly those who owned slaves (which includes 10 of the first 12 presidents) is next (14:30), when America will be ready to move forward and put our dark history of slavery behind us (17:30), what Coard wants from Philadelphia's mayor and police commissioner over the tear-gassing of protestors on the Vine Street Expressway (18:10), how to balance police reform with protecting citizens from crime (20:00), the story of why Coard believes he became a successful man and how luck plays into our success (20:56), the commonalities he sees in the thousands of Black men accused of crimes he has represented over the years (22:14), how Coard wants to reimagine the Martin Luther King Day of Service (24:50), his response to the phrase "All Lives Matter" (27:30), where he thinks this country will be in a few years (30:05), how we can get people to listen to each other (32:10), the problem with echo chambers (36:00), why he thinks it's ridiculous when people tell protestors to stop "yelling and screaming" (37:55), what he has learned during the pandemic (39:45).

    • 44 min
    S3 E13: Historian Garrett Graff on Pennsylvania's Mysterious Mountain Bunker and Planning for Armageddon

    S3 E13: Historian Garrett Graff on Pennsylvania's Mysterious Mountain Bunker and Planning for Armageddon

    The idea of the US government spending several decades preparing to ride out an apocalypse by building an entire city in a hollowed-out mountain is fascinating - and terrifying, all the same. This city is contained within a massive bunker carved out of an Appalachian mountain known as Raven Rock. Historian, author and journalist Garrett Graff wrote the definitive book about it.
    I spoke to Garrett via a Zoom connection from his home in Vermont about the analogies he's seeing between preparing for a nuclear holocaust and enduring a viral pandemic. We also talked about 9/11 and what similarities and differences he is seeing there. We talked about anticipating the craziest election in American history (Garrett worked on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign). And yes, we talked a lot about the mountain, Raven Rock.
    Recorded on Zoom on May 26, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    I asked Garrett if writing a book about the US preparing for Armageddon helped him prepare for this ongoing pandemic (1:45), why it is so hard to anticipate "low probability, high consequence" events (2:40), Garrett describes Raven Rock and its two mountain counterparts in Colorado and Virginia (5:15), how Raven Rock has changed over many decades and what is happening there right now (7:25), why it is so hard for the US government to prepare for the End of Times (8:42), what the inside of Raven Rock would look like (10:42), what Garrett thinks should be our government's greatest fears: massive grid and power failures along with catastrophic earthquakes (13:45), what similarities and differences he's noticed by living through 9/11 and this current pandemic (21:30), what the pandemic will mean for our country in the near, middle and long term (23:45), thoughts on the upcoming 2020 presidential election (30:10), if the pandemic is hurting or helping Joe Biden politically (31:20), the chances either President Trump or the former vice president would not appear on the ballot in November (32:00), if he finds social media a useful tool or a hindrance when it comes to unexpected events (32:27), we riff on our home states Pennsylvania and Vermont (35:06).

    • 38 min
    S3 E12: Former Philadelphia FBI Agent on Post-Truth, Bad Guys and Reinventing Yourself

    S3 E12: Former Philadelphia FBI Agent on Post-Truth, Bad Guys and Reinventing Yourself

    Jerri Williams spent 26 years as an FBI agent, mostly in the Philadelphia division. You might remember seeing her on Action News as the spokeswoman for the FBI and later on SEPTA before her retirement. Williams was able to remold herself post-retirnement as a successful author of fiction and non-fiction and as a podcaster. How did she figure out how to do this? She just learned, worked hard and did it.
    I spoke to Williams through a Zoom connection from her Gloucester County, New Jersey home about creating that "second act" in life, her days investigating white collar crime with the FBI, how some criminals clearly underestimated her, plus what the idea of a "Deep State" and an age of post-truth means for the FBI and the criminal justice system.
    Recorded on Zoom on May 18, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    Why her "FBI Retired Case File Review" podcast has become so popular, now with more than three million downloads (1:25), why she joined the FBI in the first place (2:45), how rare it was for a black woman to work in the FBI (4:00), why she thinks it is rare for women in general to join the bureau (4:30), the craziest case she ever worked on with the FBI - the New Era Philanthropy Ponzi scheme (5:30), if it was ever boring to be constantly working on complex white collar crimes (6:45), the criminal suspect who tried to charm her by saying she looked like singer Gladys Knight (8:00), how she became a successful author (9:10), how she became a successful podcaster and what the secret is to a great podcast (11:00), the skill of listening (12:10), if it was scary to have to figure out her life post-retirement (12:45), what she thinks about the conspiracy theories that the country is run by a "Deep State" that exists in the FBI (14:40), what she thinks about a post-truth world and the technology to create "deep fakes" to fool the public (16:20) her optimism that detection technology will help (17:20), if people are born evil or become evil (19:10), why she sees an increase in scams during this pandemic (21:15), why she is hopeful about coming out of this crisis (22:25), her favorite things about Philadelphia (23:10).

    • 25 min
    S3 E11: NYT Best-Selling Sports Journalist Jeff Pearlman on How the Pandemic May Change Sports

    S3 E11: NYT Best-Selling Sports Journalist Jeff Pearlman on How the Pandemic May Change Sports

    Jeff Pearlman and I were classmates at the University of Delaware and colleagues at the independent campus newspaper The Review. Jeff was the editor-in-chief our senior year and let's just say, that was a pretty crazy year. We explain why during this podcast.
    Jeff is a New York Times best-selling author. His latest book coming out this fall details the Kobe Bryant-led era of the Los Angeles Lakers. That begins our discussion, which then leads into a breakdown of what amateur and professional sports may look like in the near future.
    Jeff now lives in Southern California with his family. We spoke during a Zoom call on April 21, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    How the death of Kobe Bryant impacted Jeff and the release of his book on that Lakers dynasty (2:50), our time working together at the campus newspaper at the University of Delaware (4:30), how important it was to make mistakes early in a journalism career (7:10), how the internet has made it so much more difficult to survive one's mistakes on television these days (8:40), the time Jeff was a newspaper reporter in Tennessee and walked into a murder scene (9:50), how a sports journalist deals with a sports shutdown and what it means for the sportswriting industry (10:50), the chances of seeing professional sports being played anytime soon (12:50), if PGA Tour golf, as a sport with the least amount of contact between players, has a chance to resume (15:10), why Jeff says the NBA and the MLB seem to have different ideas about risk (16:30), what a baseball game without fans might be like (18:50), which major professional sports will have the most difficulty recovering (20:15), what he thinks about the prospects for pro soccer and hockey (22:00), the impact on college athletes and the NCAA (23:00), the chances of high school football games being played in the fall (23:45), if he would buy a ticket to next year's Super Bowl (25:00), if major sports will have to rework their broadcast contracts (26:40), how excitement over The Last Dance ESPN documentary is somewhat of a prelude to the return of professional sports (28:00), Jeff's favorite athlete as a player and as a person (30:45), his least favorites (he has three) (32:47), if he's working on his next book (33:45).

    • 35 min
    S3 E10: 6abc Health Reporter and Registered Nurse Ali Gorman on the Many Unknowns of COVID-19

    S3 E10: 6abc Health Reporter and Registered Nurse Ali Gorman on the Many Unknowns of COVID-19

    Ali Gorman has been our go-to for all things health, medical and wellness for more than 12 years. The South Jersey native's expertise has never been more needed or valued now.
    The registered nurse started her medical career with the Navy as a Nurse Corps officer. She knows what people on the front lines are dealing with right now. Ali opens up her knowledge bank to offer her thoughts on the whole host of uncertainties about this novel coronavirus.
    Recorded through Zoom on April 20, 2020
    In this podcast:
    We talk about Ali's background in growing up, education and her career (1:10), why she joined the Navy (2:05), why she became one of the first at Action News to work from home (3:12), how being at home can actually make you do more work (4:20), what her health care worker colleagues are going through on the front lines (5:15), how nursing to her is a not just a profession, it is a "calling" (6:05), what Ali thought and feared back in January, before the United States had its first confirmed COVID-19 case (7:30), the teleconference call she was on with the CDC in mid-February that had a "change in tone" (8:25), if she ever thought she would live to see a full-on, world pandemic (9:50), if Ali worries the country could be "stuck" where we are going back and forth between stay-at-home orders (10:55), her thoughts on some of the conspiracy theories floating around (12:50), if she thinks we'll ever find "patient zero" (13:20), how the virus might have been around much earlier, with more community spread, than we had earlier thought (13:50), why it impacts people in a variety of ways from being asymptomatic to being fatal (14:20), the "cytokine storm" (15:15), why the coronavirus is a truly odd one (16:20), why the virus is so effective when it comes to its fatality rate and its symptoms (17:25), why this pandemic is so different from SARS, MERS, H1N1 and West Nile (18:30), what would have happened if we didn't apply social distancing and stay-at-home orders (19:50), if Ali fears large portions of the public will reach a breaking point and begin violating the distancing requirements (20:40), what she is most hopeful about with a vaccine, with a treatment and with increased testing (22:05), what the picture of the woman diving behind her at home is all about (24:00).

    • 25 min
    S3 E9: Why Is My Dog Bailey Acting Strange? - With Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn's Ryan Veterinary Hospital

    S3 E9: Why Is My Dog Bailey Acting Strange? - With Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn's Ryan Veterinary Hospital

    When concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and the stay-at-home orders went into place in March of 2020, my entire family was suddenly at home a lot more than usual. My dog Bailey, a generally happy-go-lucky eight-year-old Shichon, immediately knew something was wrong. He seemed spooked, he acted stressed and he watched us more closely. Bailey might have even picked up on our general concern as parents - I mean, remember the early days of the pandemic when everything seemed to happen all at once and confusion was rampant? I became curious about Bailey's response and wanted to know more.
    Dr. Carlo Siracusa is a veterinarian and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Ryan Veterinary Hospital. He studies animal behavior and seeks to understand our pets' stress level and why certain animals can turn aggressive. The Society Hill resident owns a cat Elsa and yes, Elsa also noticed a drastic change in her owner's work life and even became confused.
    Bailey and I spoke to Dr. Siracusa through a Zoom connection on April 8, 2020. I asked most of the questions while Bailey sat on my lap and occasionally ate treats.
    In this podcast:
    Dr. Siracusa introduces himself and explains his research at Ryan Veterinary Hospital (1:30), I introduce him to my dog Bailey (2:35), Dr. Siracusa asks about my experience with Bailey when our family observed the stay-at-home order (2:55), he explains why Bailey began acting different (4:45), how changes in the outdoor environment can also trigger stress in pets (6:40), why some pets may not like a sudden boost in attention from their owners (7:00), why it is important for pets to have their safe spaces and not be in a constant "state of activation" (9:15), how a drastic change in the home environment can kick in a pet's "survival mode" (9:45), how pets need quiet time at the end of the day, just like humans (11:15), why a dog or cat's resting time can be very different from their owners' (13:15), best advice: make sure you give your pet some space (14:00), Dr. Siracusa explains how his cat Elsa responded to a change in his routines (16:35), Bailey and I bid farewell and thank Dr. Siracusa for his time (18:20).

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Deep Six ,

Can’t wait to hear more!

Matt does Action News Mornings and then finds the time to conduct in-depth but fun interviews. So true!

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Generation X

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