44 episodes

On Background is WBEZ Chicago’s weekly political podcast. Each week, our top-notch team of political reporters brings you the backstory on the week’s big story. We’ll take you inside the back rooms of Chicago and Illinois government to explain the story, and why it matters.

On Background: WBEZ's Politics Podcast WBEZ

    • News

On Background is WBEZ Chicago’s weekly political podcast. Each week, our top-notch team of political reporters brings you the backstory on the week’s big story. We’ll take you inside the back rooms of Chicago and Illinois government to explain the story, and why it matters.

    Chicago Elects First Openly Gay Black Woman As Mayor

    Chicago Elects First Openly Gay Black Woman As Mayor

    What the heck just happened, Chicago? Lori Lightfoot won the mayor’s race by a gargantuan margin. City Council veterans got the boot. Here’s what Tuesday’s results might mean for the future of the city. Reporting by Becky Vevea, Claudia Morell and Dan Mihalopoulos. Editing by Al Keefe. Production by Justin Bull and Becky Vevea. Each week at On Background, WBEZ’s team of political reporters brings you the backstory on the week's big story. Host Becky Vevea and guests take you inside the back rooms of Chicago and Illinois government to better understand the people, places and forces shaping today’s politics.

    • 25 min
    Who Is Lori Lightfoot?

    Who Is Lori Lightfoot?

    Lori Lightfoot was catapulted into the spotlight in the fallout from Laquan McDonald’s murder. But before that, she was hardly a household name in Chicago. WBEZ’s Claudia Morell zooms in on three pivotal moments in the life of the unlikely mayoral frontrunner — moments where she defined her circumstances, and moments where she was defined by them.

    • 15 min
    Who Is Toni Preckwinkle?

    Who Is Toni Preckwinkle?

    There are a lot of ways people describe Toni Preckwinkle. Progressive pioneer. Party boss. Prickly county board president. But the image of her in the race to become Chicago’s next mayor doesn’t tell the entire story of her long career. WBEZ’s Becky Vevea digs into Preckwinkle’s life and just a few of the moments that tell voters something more about the kind of mayor Preckwinkle might be. An update has been made to this podcast.

    • 17 min
    COMING SOON: Who are Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle?

    COMING SOON: Who are Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle?

    There have been so many soundbites and headlines about the remaining two candidates for Chicago Mayor. But maybe you find yourself still wondering: Who exactly are these people? This week we’re taking a break, because next week we’ll have two episodes to help you get to know Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle before you cast your vote on Tuesday, April 2. Check back next week Wednesday.

    • 1 min
    The Politics of Chicago’s Lincoln Yards

    The Politics of Chicago’s Lincoln Yards

    The plans to build a mini-city along the North Branch of the Chicago River have been winding their way through the byzantine City Council process for the last year. The $6 billion project, known as Lincoln Yards, is one that Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to lock in before he leaves office in May. But with the clock ticking, public money on the line, and a heated runoff election just weeks away, the development along the muddy riverfront is leading to a lot of political mudslinging at a pivotal moment in Chicago.

    • 20 min
    Illinois’ Bad Bet On Video Gambling

    Illinois’ Bad Bet On Video Gambling

    A decade ago, Illinois politicians legalized video gambling in hopes of generated much-needed money for the state. But like so many stories in Illinois, this one didn’t turn out to be that simple. WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos and ProPublica Illinois’ Jason Grotto have spent months digging into what happened.

    • 23 min

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