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 #606: Following money in IL politics, WPNV-LP serves Peoria, The Secret History of Master Plan Inc.

    Mike Stephen follows the GOP’s money on Chicago’s northwest side with friend of the show and trusted political sleuth, Mick Dumke, connects with WPNV-LP station manager Garry Moore of Peoria for another Low Power to the People segment, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) and learn about funky soul super group Master Plan, Inc. as part of this week’s Secret History of Chicago Music. The local music this week is powered by Sùbele. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit […]

  • OTL #605: Every Lot Chicago, Lowering the voting age to 16 in IL, Afrofuturism

    Mike Stephen explores the urban art project @EverylotChicago with creator Neil Freeman, talks about lowering the voting age with Vote16 Illinois state board member Pooja Patel, and dives into the topic of Afrofuturism with author Ytasha Womack.  The local music this week is powered by New Drugs.  To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #604: Chicago Mini Maker Faire, The Folded Map Project, The Secret History of The Weaker Sex

    Mike Stephen stops by Schurz High School in Avondale to bring us the experience of the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire with creator Christina Pei, learns about the #FoldedMap Project from its creator and Englewood artist Tonika Johnson, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) and learn about 60s soul-rockers The Weaker Sex as part of this week’s Secret History of Chicago Music. The local music this week is powered by The Funs. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #603: Past and current West Side issues, Landmarks IL works to save buildings, Cops in local public schools

    Mike Stephen questions political authenticity on social media, dives into the history of Chicago’s Westside in the face of the proposed police academy with Tiffany Walden creator and editor/chief of TheTriibe.com, learns about endangered buildings in Illinois with the president of Landmarks Illinois, and chats with local reporter Yana Kunichoff about police training for police officers stationed in schools. The local music this week is powered by Ludlow.  To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #602: Cook Co.’s rental market, WELT-LP serves Fort Wayne, The Secret History of Deacon Jones

    Mike Stephen talks with Geoff Smith, executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University, about the state of rental housing in Cook County, connects with John O’Rourke, station manager at WELT-LP (95.7) in Fort Wayne, to learn about that station’s community programming, and connects with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) to learn about the Secret History of Chicago organ player Deacon Jones. The local music this week is powered by soul-shakin’ blues powerhouse Curio. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #601: Fritz Kaegi’s plans, Racial equity and local transportation, Pope Francis as a merciful leader

    Mike Stephen wonders about video games these days and then chats with Democratic nominee for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi on how he plans to remove politics from influencing the Assessor’s Office, talks to Olatunji Oboi Reed, founder of Equiticity, about Car2Go’s car sharing pilot that excludes of the south and west sides of Chicago, and calls over to Rome to check in with the editor of Crux, John Allen Jr, about the mercy of Pope Francis. The local music this […]

  • OTL #600: The OTL 600 Spectacular

    Mike Stephen celebrates the 600th edition of the show by taking the production on the road to The Friendly Tap in Berwyn!  Youth leaders from VOYCE drop by to discuss combatting local educational inequities, Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) gives us the Secret History of Chicago blues rocker Cash McCall, and Chicagoland NASA Solar System Ambassador Mark Benson gets us fired up about all things space-related.  Also Mike’s dad, Mike Stephen, Sr., jumps on the mic to chat about a life of activism.  […]

  • OTL #599: Loyola University strike, Secret Chicago, Chi Teen Lit Fest preview

    This week Mike Stephen reveals his debut on the local podcast Improvised Star Trek, dives into the contract negotiations between the Non-Tenured-Track (NTT) faculty and Loyola University Chicago, chats with local author Jessica Mlinaric about her new book Secret Chicago, and previews the Chicago Public Library’s ChiTeenLitFest. Local music for #OTL599 is powered by Melody Angel. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #598: Local transportation update, KTWH-FM anchors Two Harbors, MN, The Secret History of Joe Carter

    Ramble on!  Mike Stephen chats with Chicago Reader transportation columnist John Greenfield about the latest local transportation issues, connects with volunteers from KTWH-FM (99.5) in Two Harbors, MN, to learn about that community radio station, and enters the lair of Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) to learn about the Secret History of Chicago blues guitarist Joe Carter. The local music this week is powered by Groovy Louie and the Time Capsules. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #597: Improvised Star Trek, Chicago Latino Film Fest, Emily Jane Powers plays live

    Mike Stephen promotes the upcoming OTL 600th episode live event at The Friendly Tap, talks with a representative from the Chicago Latino Film Festival, drops by the Cards Against Humanity studios to learn about the local sci-fi podcast Improvised Star Trek, and welcomes local indie pop artist Emily Jane Powers into the studio to play some sweet jamz. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.