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. Show co-founder Andy Hermann has returned to produce Phase III of OTL Radio. http://outsidetheloopradio.com
OTL #529: The solution to IL's money problems, The Night Ministry does great work, Cocktails for Ding Dongs

Mike Stephen talks with The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois professor David Merriman about the Fiscal Futures Project plan for getting Illinois back on the path to financial stability, chats with The Night Ministry advocacy and community affairs manager Tedd Peso about working with the local homeless community and the "Covers for Cover 8" concert benefiting the Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program (RAPPP), and visits with Cocktails for Ding Dongs illustrator Alexandra Ensign about putting together a unique guide to making awesome drinks. Meanwhile, we reminisce about work holiday parties past as we enter the season of office-related debauchery! This week's local music is provided by Donnie Biggins.

Direct download: otl-ep529-161203.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #528: Arts in the classroom, Feral cats help with rat control, The Secret History of Silver Abuse

Mike Stephen talks with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) executive director Amy Rasmussen about bringing art to public school classrooms and making a positive impact on the lives of students, checks in with Tree House Humane Society Cats at Work program manager Paul Nickerson about how feral cats can help control the local rat population, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about protopunk weirdos Silver Abuse for this week's "The Fall of Punk" edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we discuss throwing your trash in the garbage bins -- whether they're "your" bins or not. Just don't contaminate our recycling! This week's local music is provided by The Artist Formerly Known as Vince.

Direct download: otl-ep528-161126.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #527: The Resurrection Project, Volunteering makes a difference, Learning how to recycle

Mike Stephen talks with The Resurrection Project VP of Community Ownership Jose Munoz about protecting immigrants in uncertain political times, talks with Chicago Cares CEO Jenné Myers about how to cause change in the community through volunteering, and chats with Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network (CSLN) lead organizer Seva Gandhi about efforts to improve recycling in Chicago. Meanwhile, we reminisce about the time when Mike, as a young radio intern, drove to Indiana for a ridiculous hamburger. This week's local music is provided by wellthen.

Direct download: otl-ep527-161119.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #526: Film crew parking, Funding charter schools, The Secret History of The Imports

Mike Stephen talks with Chicago's 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins about media production companies paying for lost parking and extending The 606 past the Kennedy and the river, checks in with 33rd Ward Working Families spokesman Nick Burt about his organization's successful referendum against charter schools in the election, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about moody Hyde Park band The Imports for this week's "The Fall of Punk" edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, let's take action. Now is the time to get your skin in the game. This week's local music is provided by The Claudettes.

Direct download: otl-ep526-161112.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #525: The CTA gets new buses, Preparing to vote with BallotReady, A proposed Chicago River Bike Trail

Mike Stephen checks in with DNAinfo Chicago City Hall reporter Heather Cherone about the CTA's upcoming new buses and improved service and why Chicago aldermen were upset about not getting World Series tickets, talks with BallotReady co-founder Alex Niemczewski about educating ourselves about political candidates and how she's helping to make voting easier, and chats with Active Transportation Alliance advocacy director Jim Merrell about proposing a riverfront bike trail for Chicago... with some of it possibly floating! Meanwhile, we realize that the city is still standing after the Cubs won the World Series, and we warn our listeners that businesses rewarding voters on election day is an illegal act. This week's local music is provided by Pool Holograph.

Direct download: otl-ep525-161105.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:30am CST

OTL #524: Cook Co. back-taxing local music venues, Press START to Drink, The Secret History of Rude Guest

Mike Stephen checks in with independent journalist Lee V. Gaines for an update on Cook County's ruling on what is "fine art" and their pursuit of back taxes from small music venues; talks with Chicago Loot Drop chairman Mike Chuck about "Press START To Drink," their 7th annual holiday fundraiser for University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital; and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about early '80s ska band Rude Guest for this week's "The Fall of Punk" edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we play a voicemail from #1 OTL fan Mrs. Stephen... who's always looking out for her son's safety! This week's local music is provided by Gramps The Vamp.

Direct download: otl-ep524-161029.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #523: Chicago's Equality Index score, Local parking and transit roundup, A new fun kids book inspired by the CTA

Mike Stephen talks with Human Rights Campaign legislative counsel Xavier Persad about how Chicago ranks in the fifth annual Municipal Equality Index, a nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law and policy; chats with The Expired Meter blogger The Parking Ticket Geek about Wrigleyville parking restrictions, raising parking meter rates around Wrigley Field, and the closing of all the Chicago vehicle emissions test facilities; and welcomes local author Patrick McBriarty to the studio to discuss City Railways Go Above and Below, his latest children's book about riding public transportation. Meanwhile, we learn how long you should #FlyTheW flag after a Cubs win! This week's local music is provided by riverhorse.

Direct download: otl-ep523-161022.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #522: Vacant buildings in Chicago, It's Filmed There, The Secret History of Savage Beliefs

Mike Stephen talks with Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce president Brian Nadig about the Vacancy Fraud Investigative Unit Act and how some Chicago landlords are exploiting a tax reduction for vacant buildings, checks in with It's Filmed There website creator Chas Demster about researching and meticulously documenting television and movie filming locations around Chicago, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about early local hardcore band Savage Beliefs for this week's "The Fall of Punk" edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we share the feel-good story of Toons Bar & Grill recovering its beloved smoker Black Pearl! This week's local music is provided by i.e. kokoro.

Direct download: otl-ep522-161015.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #521: Religion and politics, Ruckus Entrepreneurs, Chicago food truck struggles

Mike Stephen talks with U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom chair Fr. Thomas J. Reese, SJ about his upcoming "Religion & Politics 2016" Albertus Magnus Lecture at Dominican University, chats with Concordia Place teen program manager Gwyndolyn Siebert Moss and teen program instructor Rene Pineda about teaching kids to run a business via the Ruckus Entrepreneurs program, and checks in with Illinois Food Truck Association head Gabe Wiesen about the struggles to run a food truck business (like his very own Beavers Donuts) in the city of Chicago. Meanwhile, we celebrate the CTA testing non-fabric plastic seats on its buses and trains! This week's local music is provided by The Gold Web.

Direct download: otl-ep521-161008.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #520: Hunting bobcats in IL, The Secret History of The Crucified, Getting personal with Therapy Sessions

Mike Stephen talks with Marc Ayers, Illinois State Director of The Humane Society of the United States about why Illinois' first bobcat hunting season in decades is a bad idea; checks in with former Homeroom program director Seth Vanek about his new venture hosting "Therapy Sessions" at the Hungry Brain; and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about Chicago's very own '70s protopunk band The Crucified for this week's "The Fall of Punk" edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we tell the tale of eating, drinking, and being merry with our friend Lou Manfredini last night at the Hofbräuhaus Chicago; and Mike recaps breakfast with his parents after OTL's 10th anniversary show! This week's local music is provided by Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquestra.

Direct download: otl-ep520-161001.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #519 (10th Anniversary Edition): Inner-City Education, Preventing violence with ALSO, Potts and Pans Steelband

It's the Outside the Loop 10th Anniversary Show... live from the United Center in Chicago! [photos]

In this very special episode, Mike Stephen talks with Inner-City Education (ICE) Program founder and executive director Brad Erickson about providing educational and hockey opportunities for low-income kids in Chicago, catches up with ALSO (Alliance of Local Service Organizations) executive director Lori Crowder about working to end violence in the city and beyond, and chats with Potts & Pans Steelband members and executives Matt Potts and Anthony Jay Houston about the magic of the steel drums and vibraphone. Meanwhile, we reflect on Outside the Loop RADIO's 10th year of pod/broadcasting and how we got to where we are today. This week's live local music is provided by the aforementioned Potts & Pans Steelband.

 

 

Direct download: otl-ep519-160924.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #518: Suburban Unity Alliance, DIY Musician Conference, The Secret History of George and Gerry Armstrong

It's the Outside the Loop 10th Anniversary Show... live from the United Center in Chicago!

In this very special episode, Mike Stephen talks with Inner-City Education (ICE) Program founder and executive director Brad Erickson about providing educational and hockey opportunities for low-income kids in Chicago, catches up with ALSO (Alliance of Local Service Organizations) executive director Lori Crowder about working to end violence in the city and beyond, and chats with Potts & Pans Steelband members and executives Matt Potts and Anthony Jay Houston about the magic of the steel drums and vibraphone. Meanwhile, we reflect on Outside the Loop RADIO's 10th year of pod/broadcasting and how we got to where we are today. This week's live local music is provided by the aforementioned Potts & Pans Steelband.

Direct download: otl-ep518-160917.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #517: Building a better peace, Positive work in local education, Chicago Greeter

Mike Stephen talks with The Catholic University of America associate professor Maryann Cusimano Love about her Albertus Magnus Lecture at Dominican University about Building a Better Peace, catches up with Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep math and science teacher Alex Kmicikewycz about receiving a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant to Singapore, and chats with Choose Chicago manager of greeter services Katie Law about the Chicago Greeter program and how she's celebrating International Greeter Day this year. Meanwhile, we reveal the hottest new band to play the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival! This week's local music is provided by Pearls Mahone.

Direct download: otl-ep517-160910.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #516: Is Riot Fest a good thing?, More government transparency hurdles, The Secret History of Hamid Drake

Mike Stephen talks with Concerned Citizens of Riot Fest in Douglas Park co-founder Sharaya Tindal about her organization's concerns about the annual music festival in their neighborhood, checks in with Chicago Justice Project executive director Tracy Siska about filing suit against the Chicago Emergency Management and Communications office for more government transparency, and chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about world-renowned drummer Hamid Drake for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we discuss real estate prices around CTA stops. This week's local music is provided by Law of Keanu.

Direct download: otl-ep516-160903.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #515: Back taxes for Chicago music venues?, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Visiting Studio Gang's rooftop garden

Mike Stephen talks with freelance reporter Lee V. Gaines about Cook County attempting to define "fine art" while going after small venues for supposed back amusement taxes, chats with Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project executive director Dave Benjamin about how his organization is working to prevent drownings in Lake Michigan through education, and stops by a landmark building in Chicago to chat with Studio Gang model shop co-workers Schuyler Smith and Lydia Meyer about the wheat they're growing in their rooftop garden and where it ends up in the community. Meanwhile, via a listener tip, we run through some of the Chicago Transit Authority sounds featured on the Chicago "L".org website. This week's local music is provided by The FeverTones.

Direct download: otl-ep515-160827.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #514: The Secret History of Charley Organaire, Mick Dumke on the Chicago violence epidemic

Mike Stephen chats with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about reggae and ska harmonica innovator Charley Organaire for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music, and welcomes Chicago Sun-Times staff reporter Mick Dumke to the studio to talk about his special report on Chicago's murder victims in first half of 2016 and addressing the crime problem at a community level. Meanwhile, we discuss how Cook County is going after small venues for back amusement taxes. This week's local music is provided by Yellōjaket.

Direct download: otl-ep514-160820.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #513: Guided Meditation VR, Another way to fund CPS, A local Syrian-American sings his heart out

Mike Stephen chats with Cubicle Ninjas CEO Josh Farkas about transporting yourself to exotic locations without leaving your home via the brand new Guided Meditation VR app, talks with Center for Tax and Budget Accountability executive director Ralph Martire about funding Chicago Public Schools via taxes on services, and checks in with local musician Bassel Almadani about his smooth funky tunes and his experiences as a Syrian-American artist. Meanwhile, we discuss what it's like running into a genuine "Chi-lebrity." This week's local music is provided by the aforementioned Bassel & The Supernaturals.

Direct download: otl-ep513-160813.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #512: Turning the Page Chicago, Saving the monarch butterfly, The Secret History of Sunshine Sequence

Mike Stephen talks with Turning the Page Chicago managing director Kylia Kummer about engaging families with public schools to ensure a high-quality public education, chats with Keller Science Action Center at the The Field Museum social science coordinator Alexis Winter about "A Monarch's View of the City" and the conservation efforts to save this important pollinator, and checks in with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about 1960s all-girl garage band The Sunshine Sequence for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we discuss the fact that O'Hare International Airport is really stepping up its food game. This week's local music is provided by Jaime Rojo.

Direct download: otl-ep512-160806.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

Mike Stephen stops by Fort Knox Studios on the northwest side of Chicago to talk with Amor Montes de Oca about the arts business incubator 2112 and with Dan Mahoney about the massive studio that is changing the face of the local entertainment industry. He then chats with Chicago Free For All tour guide Lynn Neils about finding cool free stuff to do around the city... often at places where you wouldn't expect it. And finally, he checks in with Homegrown Arts and Music Festival organizer Aaron Williams about the 4th annual independent day-long celebration of music, art, and community in Lisle. Meanwhile, we share some red light camera ticket advice received from The Expired Meter blogger The Parking Ticket Geek. This week's local music is provided by Jackson Mud.

Direct download: otl-ep511-160730.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #510: Divvy bike equity, Legendary Dudas, The Secret History of Joe Daley

Mike Stephen talks with Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield about the Divvy bike sharing system investing in Chicago's west and south sides via their Divvy for Everyone outreach effort, chats with Batavia-born multimedia writer Kevin Jakubowski about creating the live-action Legendary Dudas kids television show for Nickelodeon, and checks in with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about free jazz pioneer saxman Joe Daley for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we update OTL #503 with the news that the Chicago City Council ruled to protect our urban coyotes. This week's local music is provided by The Socialists.

Direct download: otl-ep510-160723.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #509: Chicago Monumental, The Chicago property tax makes some IL politicians richer, The North Branch Trail grows

Mike Stephen chats with local photographer Larry Broutman about Chicago Monumental, his new coffee table book tribute to the city's monuments; talks with Illinois Policy Institute writer Austin Berg about the political twists and turns in Chicago's property-tax hike; and checks in with Forest Preserve District of Cook County general superintendent Arnold Randall about nature, cycling, wildlife, and the North Branch Trail System extension. Meanwhile, we spread the word that Chicago street festivals are technically free! This week's local music is provided by The Black Oil Brothers.

Direct download: otl-ep509-160716.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #508: New tobacco laws, Preserving Chicago bungalows, The Secret History of T.L. Barrett

Mike Stephen talks with Illinois Retail Merchants Association vice president Tanya Triche about how changes in Chicago's tobacco-selling laws impact local businesses, chats with Historic Chicago Bungalow Association deputy director Gillian Wiescher about protecting and preserving an important part of the city's architecture and character, and checks in with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about influential gospel funk musician Pastor T.L. Barrett for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we aspire to build a better future by simply listening to each other. This week's local music is provided by the ions.

Direct download: otl-ep508-160709.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #507: BookClub Chicago, The Chicago Sketch Seminar, Spoiler Alert: Fireworks are illegal in Chicago

Mike Stephen visits with BookClub Chicago co-owners Amanda Love and Kyra Termini at their Wicker Park studio to learn about loving literature and the art of making books, chats with Urban Sketchers Chicago co-administrator Wes Douglas to get a preview of the Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016 next weekend, and checks in with DNAinfo Chicago reporter Patty Wetli about which fireworks are legal in the city of Chicago. Meanwhile, we discuss the recent police stings in Chicago to catch drivers who don't yield to pedestrians. This week's local music is provided by CrashDive.

Direct download: otl-ep507-160702.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #506: City Council oversight from Project Six, Re-imagining city garages, The Secret History of Off Broadway

Mike Stephen talks with former Chicago Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan about Project Six, a new independent organization created to provide City Council oversight; chats with Future Firm architects and partners Ann Lui and Craig Reschke about their "Rebel Garages" plan to remake our city alleys into places of commerce and meeting spaces; and checks in with Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about power poppers Off Broadway for this week's edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music. Meanwhile, we celebrate the new "towing bill of rights" recently passed by the Chicago City Council. This week's local music is provided by James Rawson.

Direct download: otl-ep506-160625.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST

OTL #505: Chicago storyteller Jack Zimmerman, Visiting the Bike a Bee apiary

Mike Stephen welcomes local renaissance man and raconteur Jack Zimmerman to the studio to share Chicago tales and to preview his latest show FAMILY PHOTOS -- six stories of fathers, sons, barkeeps, and philosophers, and visits with Bike a Bee creator and head beekeeper Jana Kinsman at the apiary at Plant Chicago about starting a business and keeping honeybees in the city. Meanwhile, we discuss inequities in the dress code at an upscale pizza joint in ChicagoThis week's local music is provided by Jackie Islands.

Direct download: otl-ep505-160618.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am CST