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 #644: Winter Tavern Tour visits Richmond’s, Finishing a campaign for alderman, The Secret History of Willie Big Eyes Smith

    Mike Stephen stops by Richmond’s Sports Bar in Humboldt Park to learn about that establishment’s history, checks in with 33rd ward aldermanic candidate Katie Sieracki, and learns the Secret History of local Bluesman Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.  This week’s local music is brought to you by Obeko. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #643: Winter Tavern Tour visits Cody’s, Little Village’s environmental justice, Chicago’s population decline

    Mike Stephen stops by Cody’s bar in Lakeview to kick off the Winter Tavern Tour with @ChicagoBars, learns about Little Village’s fight for environmental justice, and discusses the statistics that show Chicago’s declining population with local demographer Rob Paral.  The local music this week is powered by Minor Moon. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #642: Lincoln Yards’ impact on local music, Justice 13 mayoral survey, The Secret History of Lefty Dizz

    Mike Stephen discusses the potential impact of Lincoln Yards on the local music scene with journalist Mark Guarino, learns the results of the Chicago Justice Project’s Justice 13 mayoral survey, and discovers the Secret History of the late local Blues guitar rocker Lefty Dizz.  This week’s local music is brought to you by Derek Clegg. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #641: Chicago United for Equity, Cityscape Chicago

    Mike Stephen discusses the importance of racial equity work in Chicago with Niketa Brar of Chicago United for Equity and then learns how we can use open data to discover more information about local development projects through Cityscape Chicago. ALSO: Let us know about your favorite cozy winter neighborhood bars/taverns here!  The local music this week is powered by Plastic Crimewave Syndicate. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #640: Trek Talk in Logan Square, Organizing Black Chicago, The Secret History of Lil’ Ed Williams

    Mike Stephen beams over to Logan Square to geek out about Trek Talk, discusses the readiness of Black Chicago to organize for the upcoming mayoral election with Tiffany Walden of The Triibe, and learns the Secret History of Chicago Bluesman Lil’ Ed Williams.  This week’s local music is brought to you by Twin Talk. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #639: The Outside the Loop 2019 Podcasting Summit

    Mike Stephen hosts the annual Outside the Loop Chicago Podcasting Summit to talk about all things new and exciting in the world of local audio storytelling. Joining him for this summit are podcasters Robin Amer of The City, Laura Austin of Always Andersonville, and Shannon Cason of Homemade Stories and The Trouble. Special thanks to Flora for powering this week’s local music. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #638: Pollution in NW Indiana, Chicago Puppet Theater Fest, Neighborhood affordability study

    Mike Stephen learns how the government shutdown canceled an EPA pollution hearing in East Chicago, previews the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival with artistic director Blair Thomas, and discusses a study analyzing increasing housing prices in Chicago neighborhoods and the impact of those price increases.  The local music this week is brought to you by Noiseferatu.  ALSO: Let us know about your favorite cozy winter neighborhood bars/taverns here! To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #637: Austin coming together, Flaws of the FOIA, How the line helps define Chicago

    Mike Stephen chats with Austin Coming Together’s Darnell Shields about a new plan to improve the Austin community, learns about the flaws in the state’s Freedom of Information Act with ProPublica Illinois’ Mick Dumke, and explores how lines help define and impact Chicago with the co-president of the Chicago Architectural Club Carlo Parente.  The local music this week is brought to you by Hearts and Minds. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #636: Heartland Cafe closes its doors, Equity in Chicago parks, The Secret History of Dysfunctionells

    Mike Stephen talks to the owner of the Heartland Cafe about the imminent closing of that Rogers Park institution, discusses equity when it comes to supporting all Chicago parks, and discovers the Secret History of a unique folk rock band called Dysfunctionells with local music historian Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave).  The local music this week is brought to you by Jumpsuit. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

  • OTL #635: Chicago beer in 2018, IL Election Data, A helping hand to a local musician

    Mike Stephen looks back at local beer in 2018 with author and Chicago Tribune reporter Josh Noel, discusses the data gathered from the midterms and previews the mayor’s race with Scott Kennedy of IL Election Data, and learns how we can help out Tim Ryan, front man of The Black Oil Brothers, after his near fatal accident.  The delightful local music this week is brought to you by City Mouth. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

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