Under the Influence

About Under the Influence

About Under the Influence

About Under the Influence


Under the Influence returns to the airwaves January 6, 2022 for a brand new season at our usual times - Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:30 on CBC Radio One.


Fridays at 4:00 p.m.

WBEZ91.5 Chicago

Saturdays at 6:30 a.m.


As the marketing world shifts from a century of overt one-way messaging to a new-world order of two-way dialogue, we leave the age of persuasion and enter the era of influence. 

The first 50 years of modern advertising was based on hard-sell. The next 50 years was persuasion through creativity and media tonnage. But as advertising squeezed into the 21 century, it was forced to shed its elbowing ways and become a delicate dialogue. The goal is no longer to triumph by weight, but to win by influence. 

Welcome to Under the Influence. An exploration of that critical shift.


Terry O'Reilly, CBC Host, author, serial entrepreneur (Debbie O'Reilly)

Host Terry O'Reilly

At age four in 1963, he was plucked out of Romper Room to be in TV commercial.

Ad-libs line. Director laughs. Ad-lib stays. Fate sealed.

After finishing Ryerson's RTA program in 1981, Terry promptly sends out 60 resumes to 60 advertising agencies. Gets back 61 rejection letters, with one agency rejecting him twice. Applies to small radio station in Burlington, Ontario, as a last resort - is miraculously hired. Begins career as copywriter, falls in love with radio. Station has over 100 on-going retail clients. Discovers that, with hard work and diligent organization, you can still fall flat on your face. Three years later, he is finally hired by a top advertising agency, Campbell-Ewald Toronto. Goes on to work for some of the most creative shops in Canada including Doyle Dane Bernbach and Chiat/Day.

Co-founds Pirate Radio & Television in 1990, specializing in radio and television commercials. Pirate grows to include eight recording studios in Toronto and New York City.

Won a few hundred awards for writing and directing. Has worked with many top actors, including Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Alan Arkin and Bob Newhart. In demand as a speaker promoting the power of ideas. Chosen as one of Canada's "Most Influential" marketing people by Marketing Magazine. When he is not creating advertising, he's talking about it as host of the award-winning CBC Radio series, The Age of Persuasion, judged Best Radio Program by the New York Radio Festivals two years in a row. The follow-up series, Under The Influence, was voted Best New Podcast by iTunes in 2011. The advertising industry has given Terry a lifetime achievement award, and he is in possession of an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from McMaster University (2012) as well as a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree from Humber College (2014) and a Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws Degree from St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Has a wonderful wife and three lovely daughters. Who like some of his work.