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.
OTL #833: The Italian beef sandwich defines Chicago, City Council semi-independence, Jonny Untch rocks Chicagoland & beyond
Mike Stephen discusses the story of the Italian beef sandwich (and how it’s hard to get a good one outside of Chicagoland) with Los Angeles Times food columnist and Oak Park native Lucas Kwan Peterson, chats about the semi-independence of the Chicago City Council with Geoffrey Cubbage of the Better Government Association, and talks to Jonny Untch about being a local musician and educator.
OTL #832: Assisting with your neighbor’s utility bill, The Push Puppets’ new music, The Secret History of Erwin Helfer
Mike Stephen learns about Community Utility’s neighborly efforts to bring us together through mutual aid from co-founder Anson Tong, previews Palatine’s The Push Puppets’ new music with frontman Erich Specht, and discovers the Secret History of Chicago blues pianist Erwin Helfer.
OTL #831: Student gun violence trauma, Disparities in school discipline, Illinois Muslims assets and needs
Mike Stephen discusses the residual trauma for students impacted by gun violence with Mauricio Pena of Chalkbeat Chicago, learns about the disparities in school discipline in the northwest suburbs from Jennifer Richards of the Chicago Tribune, and explores a new report detailing Illinois Muslims assets and needs with Dr. Joe Hoereth, director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at UIC.
OTL #830: Local immigrant assistance, The Secret History of The Kelderons
Mike Stephen talks to Cristina De La Rosa, executive director of Chicago’s Erie Neighborhood House, and learns how that organization helps immigrants arriving to Chicago and then discovers the Secret History of the 1970s Chicago soul group The Kelderons.
OTL #829: Celebrating local labor history, Teflon Softball, Andy Pratt’s new music
Mike Stephen discusses the importance of learning labor history with Larry Spivack, president of the Illinois Labor History Society, learns how Teflon Softball provides a positive impact in Pullman with founder India Steward, and talks to local singer-songwriter Andy Pratt about his new music.
OTL #828: Coaching Chicago’s creative community, Beekeeping in Chicago, The Secret History of Richard Davis
Sharon Woodhouse, discusses the importance of local beekeeping with Chicago Honey Co-Op founder and farm manager Michael Thompson, and discovers the Secret History of local bass phenom Richard Davis.
Great way to experience Chicago
Love listening to this show, it’s a great way to learn about one of the best cities in the world!
What a Blast
Truman's Ridge, Chicagoland's up and coming bluegrass band had a total blast perfoming on "Outside the Loop," on Chicago 720am radio on Dec. 30, 2017. It was an honor to play in front of the window in Tribune Tower. Mike Stephen, host, Collin Seaman, producer and Bob Ferguson, engineer are not only professionals in every sense of the word, but are also down-to-earth, sincere and extremely accommodating. The response to our band from the radio audience has been phenomenal and we can't wait to join "Outside the Loop" again. Thanks so much for the opportunity - bless you all in 2018!
Independent Chicago Podcast
Mike's been at this since 2006 and continues to feature great local stories, communites, and the music of Chicagoland. I find it to be one the best independent podcasts dedicated to reporting all things Chicago.