55 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
    • 4.6, 42 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 E16: Philadelphia Ad Man Brian Tierney on Voting For Yourself, Risk-Taking and the Mysteries of Marketing

    S3 E16: Philadelphia Ad Man Brian Tierney on Voting For Yourself, Risk-Taking and the Mysteries of Marketing

    TRUE PHILADELPHIA PODCAST:
    Brian Tierney is Philadelphia's ultimate "Ad Man." The list of companies he's represented in strategizing, marketing and crisis management is long and diverse: Independence Blue Cross, Uber, Aramark, IBM, Verizon to name a few. He's the former owner and publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and (what was then known as) Philly.com. He has a deep resume in campaign politics: Sam Katz and George H.W. Bush are among the names who have listened to Brian's advice. And he shares his traditional conservative viewpoints as a panelist on 6abc's Inside Story, of which I am a frequent host.
    My conservation with Brian comes at a time when uncertainty is the only certain thing. A major company like Hertz can suddenly disappear. A trip to a nearby state like North Carolina may require you to quarantine for two weeks upon your return. You may not get exact change back at a Wawa if you pay in cash and coins. Your neighbor may believe in a laughably absurd conspiracy theory surrounding a shadowy character named Q'Anon who may or may not exist. You may not even be able to bid a personal goodbye to a dying relative. Despite the feeling that a crazy, Black Swan-event is now always around the corner, Brian offers a measured, thoughtful and optimistic view of our new future. During this pandemic, I have been seeking voices like his to find comfort in our ultimate goal as humans; to make our tomorrows better. Brian believes we will make it out of this. I do too.
    Recorded via Zoom on July 28, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    Brian talks about being a panelist on Inside Story since 1988 and how he was selected (1:11), running for class president in the first grade and why he didn't even vote for himself (2:57), why he never ended up as a career, elected politician (3:52), his journey back to "Bal-uh Sinwood" for a career in public relations (6:54), I ask Brian the simple but complex question: How do you successfully marketing something? (8:16), why immediately loving an idea could be a bad sign (10:28), as someone who has built and sold three advertising firms, what he believes is the secret to his success (11:30), we look back at the "recent peak" of Philadelphia with the Papal Visit in 2015 and where the city is headed now (12:35), what "Philadelphia Grit" means to him (13:50), why we should be handling the coronavirus pandemic like we would an incoming blizzard (14:50), how to save the journalism industry (18:04), social media's early impact on the newspaper industry (20:05), why Facebook needs to change its attitude on addressing its many negative impacts on society (21:58), Brian's worry about the emerging political threat of China (23:30), how the ad industry is the key to forcing change with Big Tech (24:55), what kind of boss Brian is (26:15), what he thinks about employees who like to tell him why something can't happen (27:30), taking risks (27:55), why he insisted that one of his earlier companies needed to charge $15 more than any other competitor (31:25), what the "2025 Education Cliff" is all about and why it worries him (34:35), his successful campaign to find a new slogan for Philadelphia, which ended up being "Philadelphia: The Place That Loves You Back" (38:09), bringing U2 singer Bono to Philadelphia and why it proves "everyone is a human being" (41:00), why despite everything that is going on, Brian remains optimistic (43:10), why people who are struggling with their mental health should not be embarrassed (45:20).

    • 47 min
    S3 E15: Maribel Aber on Doing the Little Things, Pandemic TV and Meeting Susan Lucci

    S3 E15: Maribel Aber on Doing the Little Things, Pandemic TV and Meeting Susan Lucci

    Maribel Aber of CNN Newsource has been providing Action News with early morning financial reports for eight years. Typically she reports live from the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square, New York. She moved her broadcast operation to a home in Florida when the pandemic began to set in and has been there ever since.
    Maribel's deep knowledge of Wall Street, business and stocks is apparent. So is her positive, uplifting personality. We had always talked about meeting in-person for a podcast interview. But since doing Zoom calls has become the norm these days, we decided a virtual interview would suffice.
    Maribel gives us insight on reporting from her remote location, her background and earlier career dreams, what helped her succeed, her financial advice and making remote learning work better for students, teachers and parents. Plus, I try a brand new concept (for this podcast, at least): the "Speed Round."
    Recorded July 10, 2020.
    In this podcast:
    Maribel talks about leaving New York in the spring (2:00), setting up her remote broadcast operation (2:28), her background and original career plan (4:27), how she ended up meeting "All My Children" star Susan Lucci and why it meant so much to Maribel's mom (7:00), the day CNN called with interest in hiring her (8:26), how the Tom Hanks movie "Splash" mirrors how Maribel's mom (who is from the Philippines) learned English (8:48), Maribel's key to early career success (9:30), what financial advice she would give to a novice (11:20), her investment philosophy: buy what you know (12:30), why the stock market recovered much of its pandemic losses so quickly (14:30), what advice she would give people who have struggled financially during the pandemic (17:25), her great idea on how to make virtual learning better: making teaching more like a Peloton class (19:40), our "Speed Round" starts (22:10), Maribel's worries about how New York City will emerge from the pandemic (25:15), "Speed Round" continues.

    • 32 min
    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 protesters 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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
42 Ratings

42 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!

chulita138 ,

Generation X

Great Article!!! Interesting Matt is great.

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