Show cover of Outside the Loop RADIO

Outside the Loop RADIO

Outside the Loop RADIO is Chicago's Almost Above-Ground Audio Magazine. Founded as a podcast in September 2006 and picked up for broadcast by Chicago Sound Alliance WLUW 88.7-FM in March 2007, "OTL" now airs on Chicago's Very Own 50,000-watt heritage powerhouse station WGN Radio 720-AM. Storyteller and urbanologist Mike Stephen hosts this weekly program featuring fun segments and interviews with local newsmakers, artists, musicians, and others doing cool stuff around the greater Chicago area. The show covers topics stories that don't always get mainstream media attention... and it's all presented with a strong and independent Chicago slant. http://outsidetheloopradio.com

Tracks

OTL #918: A failure of local government, Simon’s Tavern turns 90, New local music from Brett Ratner
Mike Stephen learns how the Chicago Housing Authority allows for nefarious deeds on some of its vacant properties from Block Club Chicago investigative editor and reporter Mick Dumke, celebrates 90 years of Andersonville’s Simon’s Tavern, and chats with local musician Brett Ratner about his new instrumental rock.
37:32 5/18/24
OTL #917: The Takeout 25 Effect, Chicago Truck Data Portal, The Secret History of Charlie Schmidt
Mike Stephen learns about a new book about the impact of the local nonprofit Takeout 25 called The Takeout 25 Effect: Mobilizing for Positive Change with author Ravi Parakkat, explores a project mapping high concentration of truck traffic in Chicago called the Chicago Truck Data Portal with Jose Acosta Cordova of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, and discovers the Secret History of local fingerpicking guitar master Charlie Schmidt.
48:07 5/11/24
OTL #916: Should Chicago lower its speed limit?, Is Mayor Johnson incompetent or inexperienced?, Revisiting Chicago as a cycling city
Mike Stephen discusses the possibility of Chicago lowering its speed limit with Active Transportation Alliance managing director of advocacy Jim Merrell, explores the debate around Mayor Johnson’s possible incompetence or inexperience with Chicago Magazine contributing editor Ted McClelland, and revisits the topic of Chicago’s bikeability.
39:10 5/4/24
OTL #915: Unpacking Chicago’s community map, The West Side Spring Book Fair, The Secret History of Plastics Hi-Fi
Mike Stephen learns about the significance of Chicago’s community map from and explores the possibility of updating it with Emily Talen, professor of urbanism and director of the Urbanism Lab at the University of Chicago, discusses the importance of literacy on the West Side of the city with founder of The Queen Within, Bridgett McGill, and discovers the Secret History of 1990s psychedelic rockers Plastics Hi-Fi.
42:23 4/27/24
OTL #914: Women Employed fighting for workplace equity, Arionne Nettles’ new book on Black culture in Chicago
Mike Stephen discusses the gender pay gap and efforts to combat it with Ibie Hart, director of business development at Women Employed, and then chats with local journalist Arionne Nettles about her new book entitled We Are the Culture: Black Chicago's Influence on Everything.
39:03 4/20/24
OTL #913: Unsafe water in Illinois prisons, The work of the Uptown People's Law Center, The Secret History of E. Parker McDougal
Mike Stephen learns about the deteriorating conditions inside Illinois prisons from Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People's Law Center, and then discovers the Secret History of Chicago tenor sax player E. Parker McDougal.
37:46 4/13/24
OTL #912: Paid Chicago school board members?, HelloBaby’s great work, Mark Lofgren’s new music
Mike Stephen discusses the possibility of paying Chicago school board members with Becky Vevea, bureau chief of Chalkbeat Chicago, learns about the important work of HelloBaby on the South Side from founder and executive director Debbie Frisch, and chats with local musician Mark Lofgren about his new album.
42:10 4/6/24
OTL #911: Vacant land near local transit, Preserving local history, The Secret History of Hip Linkchain
Mike Stephen learns about the significance of vacant land near local transit hubs from Geoff Smith, executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, discusses the historical significance of Stateville Correctional Center with Leila Wills, executive director of the Historical Preservation Society of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and discovers the Secret History of local blues guitar powerhouse Hip Linkchain.
43:06 3/30/24
OTL #910: The future of journalism, Share Our Spare helping families in Chicago and beyond
Mike Stephen discusses the future of journalism at the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association conference with Jason Block, multimedia communications teacher at Prospect High School, and learns about the important work of the Chicago-based organization called Share Our Spare. This organization helps families in need and executive director Alex Goodfellow discusses their efforts.
36:45 3/23/24
OTL #909: A new music venue in Forest Park, Dolph Chaney’s new music, The Secret History of Shanta Nurullah
Mike Stephen explores Robert's Westside, a new music venue in Forest Park, and talks to venue founder Donnie Biggins, learns about local musician Dolph Chaney’s new music, and discovers the Secret History of local sitar player Shanta Nurullah.
42:45 3/16/24
OTL #908: From prison to Ph.D, The challenges of keeping community media afloat
Mike Stephen learns about the incredible story of Dr. Stanley Andrisse, endocrinologist and assistant professor at the Howard University College of Medicine, who was formerly incarcerated and is now a scientist and executive director of From Prison Cells to Ph.D and then discusses the challenges of local community media with Justin Kerr, publisher of the McKinley Park News.
42:47 3/9/24
OTL #907: Public money for local sports stadiums?, Cosmic Bull’s new music, The Secret History of Dusty Brown
Mike Stephen discusses the civic issues around local sports teams using public money to build stadiums with civic educator Tom Tresser, chats with Mark Vickery, the frontman of Cosmic Bull, about that project's new music, and discovers the Secret History of Chicago Blues harmonica player Dusty Brown.
44:53 3/2/24
OTL #906: The city council on foreign affairs, The 50 most powerful Chicagoans, The Flamenco Quartet Project
Mike Stephen discusses the history of the Chicago City Council getting involved in foreign affairs with Chicago Magazine contributing editor Ted McClelland, dives into the list of the most powerful Chicagoans, and learns about the local Flamenco Quartet Project from Wendy Clinard, founder and director of Clinard Dance.
35:48 2/24/24
OTL #905: Chicago history through signs, The Illinois child tax credit, The Secret History of Kent Rose
Mike Stephen discusses the importance of signs in Chicago history with Kelsey McClellan, co-owner of Heart & Bone Signs and co-founder of the Chicago Sign Museum, learns about the Illinois child tax credit proposal from State Senator Mike Simmons (7th), and discovers the Secret History of local country musician Kent Rose.
43:46 2/17/24
Studying our water, Who is working from home?, Second Glance Productions inclusivity
Mike Stephen learns about the latest efforts in studying our local water systems from David Lampert, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, discusses a new report about who is working from home these days with the report's co-author David Merriman, and chats about inclusivity in the media with Second Glance Productions founder Anthony Williams.
38:48 2/10/24
OTL #903: A local journalism crisis, Electric vehicle challenges in Chicago, The Secret History of Bernard Reed
Mike Stephen discusses the local journalism crisis with Illinois Local Journalism Task Force member Mark Jacob, learns about the lack of electric vehicle infrastructure in certain areas of Chicago with Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Transportation Justice Program Manager Jose Miguel Acosta Cordova, and discovers the Secret History of local blues bass virtuoso Bernard Reed.
45:17 2/3/24
OTL #902: Quality of life in Illinois prisons, The Big Read, Jared Rabin’s new music
Mike Stephen explores the quality of life in Illinois prisons with Jennifer Vollen-Katz, the executive director of the John Howard Association, talks with Illinois Humanities executive director Gabrielle Lyon about the new initiative called The Big Read, and chats with local musician Jared Rabin about his new music.
37:16 1/27/24
OTL #901: City land and a local housing crisis, The Secret History of Mezz Mezzrow
Mike Stephen discusses the vast city ownership of vacant land during Chicago’s housing crisis with Block Club Chicago reporter and investigative editor Mick Dumke and discovers the Secret History of prewar jazz clarinet player Mezz Mezzrow.
41:31 1/20/24
OTL #900: Bridging the political divide, The state of climate media, Local food in the new year
Mike Stephen learns about the Crossroads America project from college students Lucas Kult-Banout and Ezekiel Wells, explores the state of climate media with Mike Fourcher, and chats about local food trends in 2023 and into 2024 with Mike Gebert, the editor of Fooditor.
40:21 1/13/24
OTL #899: School choice in Chicago, The Secret History of Johnny Drummer
Mike Stephen discusses the future of school choice in Chicago with Reema Amin, reporter at Chalkbeat Chicago, and then learns the Secret History of local bluesman Johnny Drummer.
38:46 1/6/24
OTL #898: The Neighborhood Business Roundtable
Mike Stephen sits down with four local business owners at Janik’s Cafe in Wicker Park to discuss the challenges of 2023 and how to make 2024 a better year. The panel features Katie Coleman of Mulberry & Me, Scott Weiner of The Fifty/50, Mario Ponce of Takito Kitchen, and Felipa Janik of Janik's.
42:31 12/30/23
OTL #897: Local youth climate advocacy, New music from Radio Free Honduras, The Secret History of The Lost Generation
Mike Stephen talks to Oak Park & River Forest High School seniors Kate Wallace and Katie Stabb about their recent experience at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, chats with musician Dan Abu-Absi about new music from Chicago’s Radio Free Honduras, and discovers the Secret History of the 1970s soul group The Lost Generation.
39:05 12/23/23
OTL #896: Decaying public housing, A new Holiday short film, New music from Skip Class & The Dropouts
Mike Stephen discusses the decaying properties of the Chicago Housing Authority with Block Club Chicago investigative editor Mick Dumke, talks to write Kevin Jakubowski, a Batavia native, about writing a new Holiday short film directed by Bryce Dallas-Howard called The Note, and gets the lowdown on Skip Class & The Dropouts' new music from lead singer Danny Jacobson.
45:35 12/16/23
OTL #895: Google and local journalism, A special international Secret History of Chicago Music
Mike Stephen talks to Justin Kerr, publisher of the McKinley Park News, and learns why that local news outlet severed ties with Google and then chats with local music historian Steve Krakow about his recent journey to Belfast.
42:47 12/9/23
OTL #894: Preserving Illinois Black Panther history, The Bronzeville Trail in the works
Mike Stephen learns about efforts to preserve the history of the Illinois Black Panther Party with Leila Wills, executive director of the Historical Preservation Society of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and gets a preview of the upcoming Bronzeville Trail on the South Side of Chicago from John Adams, executive director of the Bronzeville Trail Task Force, Inc.
39:20 12/2/23

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