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#626: Combatting climate change in IL, The City podcast, The Secret History of Otis Rush

    Mike Stephen learns about Illinois’ efforts to combat climate change with the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, gets the lowdown on a story about Chicago with the creator of a new podcast called The City, and discovers the Secret History of legendary Chicago Bluesman Otis Rush with local music historian Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave).  The local music this week is brought to you by Scamlines. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #625: Violence Interruption, Chicago Home Movie Day, Mayoral transportation platform

    Mike Stephen learns about the incredible story of violence interrupter Angalia Bianca and her new book called In Deep: How I Survived Gangs, Heroin, and Prison to Become a Chicago Violence Interrupter, previews the upcoming Chicago Home Movie Day 2018, and discusses a 2019 mayoral transportation platform with local transportation guru Steven Vance. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #624: Dear Black Voter, Banned Books Week, The Secret History of The Spoils of War

    Mike Stephen sits down with WGN Radio’s Dometi Pongo to talk about his new podcast on African-Americans and voting called Dear Black Voter, learns about the significance of Banned Books Week from Jamie LaRue of the American Library Association, and discovers the Secret History of 60s rockers The Spoils of War with local music historian Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave).  The local music this week is brought to you by Daydream Review. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes […]

  • OTL #623: Why is diner coffee so bad?, Helping homeless women, Logan Square Chi Hack Night

    Mike Stephen explores why diner coffee can be so bad with Chicago Tribune food reporter Nick Kindelsperger, learns how Deborah’s Place assists homeless women in Chicago, and gets the lowdown on how open data can make Chicago a better place with Eric Sherman, creator of the Logan Square Chi Hack Night.  The local music this week brought to you by Swatches. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #622: The Secret History of Megon McDonough, Girls Rock Chicago, Photo-Curio performs live

    Mike Stephen kicks off a local music-themed show by giving some love to the new show Instagram page, learns the Secret History of folk-rocker Megon McDonough with the great Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave), discusses the important work of Girls Rock Chicago, and welcomes the local band Photo-Curio into the studio to rock out on the air. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #621: The parallels between 1968 and 2018, Finding your roots, The return of Derek Erdman

    Mike Stephen discusses the parallels between the sociopolitical climate of 1968 and 2018 with journalist Mick Dumke, learns about finding the roots of the Black Chicago experience with The Triibe’s editor in chief Tiffany Walden, and welcomes artist Derek Erdman back to Chicago to get the skinny on his new show.  The local music this week brought to us by Brian Sangmeister. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #620: Knocking on doors for votes, WFOV-LP serves Flint, The Secret History of Larry Sturm

    Mike Stephen walks part of Chicago’s 33rd Ward with first time aldermanic candidate Katie Sieracki to get a behind-the-scenes view of running for office, connects with WFOV-LP in Flint, MI, to chat about the important work that radio station does for the community, and learns the Secret History of Chicagoland musician and producer Larry Sturm.  The local music on this week’s show is brought to you by Dance Bullies. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #619: The story of tied houses in Chicago

    On a special edition of the program, Mike Stephen explores the history of tied houses/bars in Chicago.  Joining him at Toons Bar and Grill and at the Happy Village bar is local historian Liz Garibay. The two chat about the history of tied houses over a pint. Then Mike heads to Lakeview to talk to Mike Schuba, operator of Schuba’s Tavern, about the special history of that building.  And to round out the show, Mike and Producer Collin try to […]

  • OTL #618: Expressway moratorium, Civic engagement with your neighbors, The Secret History of Kristin Lems

    Mike Stephen discusses the possibility of enacting a moratorium on the expansion of expressways in Chicagoland with Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance, previews a community-building event called the CivicLab Harambee with Tom Tresser, and learns the Secret History of Evanston activist folk singer Kristin Lems.  The local music this week flows from J P J. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #617: Saucy Porka expands, Park District life hacks, The Tim Gleason Band plays live

    Mike Stephen drops by the new Saucy Porka restaurant in Hyde Park and chats with owner and chef Amy Le about what it’s like as a restaurant owner in the city, learns about some tips and tricks to navigating the Chicago Park District’s signup process, and rocks out to live music from Tim Gleason and Kathleen Riordan in the studio. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.