Outside the Loop Radio is a weekly audio magazine featuring fun segments and interviews with local newsmakers, artists, musicians, and others who are doing some cool stuff around the Chicago area. The show covers topics that don’t always get the proper attention in the media, all with a strong and independent Chicago slant. OTL provides for discussion that goes beyond just the headlines in our local papers.


Recent Articles
  • OTL #574: WRFU serves Urbana, Chicago Books to Women in Prison, The Secret History of Stumpwater

    Mike Stephen crosses radio waves with WRFU-LP station manager DJ BJ Clark in Urbana, IL for another installment of Low Power to the People, chats with Vicki White, President of Chicago Books to Women in Prison, about the organization’s efforts to bring a little humanity to female inmates all over the US, and visits Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) to learn about the Secret History 1970s folk-pop band Stumpwater. http://traffic.libsyn.com/outsidetheloopradio/otl-ep574-171014.mp3 To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #573: Fighting to end gun violence, Homewood Hobo Night, Keya Trammell plays live

    Mike Stephen brings the national gun headlines closer to home and chats with Colleen Daley, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, turns south to learn about the unique history of railways with Allisa Opyd, Community Events Manager for the Village of Homewood, IL, and welcomes Keya Trammell into the studio to perform as our live musical guest and talk about her journey as a Chicago artist. http://traffic.libsyn.com/outsidetheloopradio/otl-ep573-171007.mp3 To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #572: Fighting domestic violence, Beardsgaard Barbers grows, Local urban farming with The Gardeneers

    Mike Stephen chats with Bethany Gomillion, Marathon Campaign Coordinator at Run Domestic Violence Out of Town, and Elizabeth Gray, marathoner and domestic abuse survivor, about fighting domestic violence; checks in with Natalie Anderson, co-owner of Batavia’s Beardsgaard Barbers, about that booming small business; and discusses educating CPS students about healthy eating with May Tsupros, Executive Director and Co-founder of The Gardeneers. This week’s local music provided by Fire Garden. http://traffic.libsyn.com/outsidetheloopradio/otl-ep572-170930.mp3 To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #571: The future of journalism, Digital maps and local art, Chicago Book Expo preview

    11 years of Outside the Loop Radio have brought Mike Stephen a myriad of laughs, debates, tacos, and gray hairs to his head. To celebrate OTL’s 11th birthday, Mike features three stories connected to a topic near and dear to his heart: DIY media. His anniversary guests include Bob McChesney, Professor of Communication at the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana and Outside the Loop’s inaugural guest back in 2006, local artist Carla Fisher-Schwartz, who’s installation “True North” is featured at the SUB-MISSION space […]

  • OTL #570: Chicagoland Youth Football, The Secret History of Master Plan, Local restaurants closing in 2017

    Mike Stephen talks with Geoff Meyer, President of The Chicagoland Youth Football League, about where youth football stands in a CTE-aware world, visits Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) to learn about the influential ’80s house musicians Master Plan in another installment of the Secret History of Chicago Music, and chats with Chicagoist Food Editor, Anthony Todd, about the wave of restaurant closings this year in Chicago.  The crew also waxes poetic about free chips and salsa in local taquerias. This week’s local music is […]

  • OTL host Mike Stephen checks out the unique backyard art space in Oak Park called Compound Yellow.

    OTL #569: DACA’s impact in Chicago, Chicago State University’s revamp, Inside Compound Yellow arts space

    This week Mike Stephen, with the help of his wife Jenny, drops a baby delivery bomb on the show by welcoming Joey Stephen to the world, checks in with Ere Rendon of the Resurrection Project concerning the recent news on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, discusses the state of Chicago State University with interim president Dr. Rachel Lindsey, and explores a unique backyard community art space in Oak Park called Compound Yellow. This week’s local music is provided […]

  • OTL host Mike Stephen admires Radio Harbor Country in Three Oaks, Michigan in 2013.

    OTL #568: Radio Harbor Country, African Arts Fest, The Secret History of The Front Lines

    It’s a new day on OTL as Mike Stephen welcomes his new producer Collin Seaman, debuts a new segment entitled “Low Power to People,” featuring  WRHC in Harbor Country, MI, chats with Julian Roberts about the 28th annual African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park, and learns about 1980s pop punk punkers The Front Lines with Plastic Crimewave for another installment of The Secret History of Chicago Music. This week’s local music is provided by Monobody. (And don’t forget to take our listener survey!!) http://traffic.libsyn.com/outsidetheloopradio/otl-ep568-170902.mp3 To subscribe […]

  • OTL host Mike Stephen and producer Andy Hermann say goodbye after a 16-year professional and personal relationship.

    OTL #567: Chicago Fringe Fest, Bars of Chicago, Goodbye to Andy Hermann

    Mike Stephen checks in with Chicago Fringe Festival executive director Anne Cauley about seeking out the weird and unique in the performing arts, visits with Bars of Chicago creator Katherine Hodges about Instagramming as many taverns as she can in the city and beyond, and bids farewell to Outside the Loop co-founder Andy Hermann as he leaves the city he’s called home for almost two decades. Meanwhile, we play a voicemail from #1 OTL fan Mrs. Stephen… who wishes Andy the best in New York City. This […]

  • OTL host Mike Stephen reviews the Outside the Loop Listener Survey.

    OTL #566: Rust Belt Chicago, The importance of high school libraries, The Secret History of Ritz

    Mike Stephen talks with Belt Magazine senior editor Martha Bayne about collecting stories for the new book Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology, checks in with Hinsdale South High School librarian Ellen Lawrence about the importance of libraries in high schools, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about arena-ready rockers Ritz for this week’s edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we present the Outside the Loop Listener Survey. We’d love your feedback! This week’s local music is provided by Kerosene Stars. To subscribe to […]

  • OTL host Mike Stephen III, son Mike Stephen IV, and wife Jenny Stephen I enjoy The 606 park system. [circa summer 2015]

    OTL #565: Improving public schools, Affordable housing near The 606, Fritz Kaegi runs for Assessor

    Mike Stephen talks with Generation All associate program officer Misuzu Schexnider about their plan for improving neighborhood high schools and the new Chicago Public Schools app, checks in with Logan Square Neighborhood Association former president Lissette Castañeda about the fight for affordable housing in areas by The 606 park system, and chats with Cook County Assessor candidate Fritz Kaegi about his vision for transparent and competent assessments for everybody. Meanwhile, we discuss how the Chicago Triathlon is introducing a one-mile Underwear Run along the lakefront this year! This […]