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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 ...
 
EPIDEMIC is a weekly podcast on the science, public health, and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Hear from some of the world’s leading infectious disease, public health, and other experts. We’ll help you understand the latest science, the bigger context, and bring you diverse angles—from history to politics to virology—depth and texture you won’t get elsewhere. Hosted by Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist who worked on tuberculosis and HIV in su ...
 
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CLEWS

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CLEWS

Laura James and Christopher Ray

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CLEWS is a library devoted to top-shelf, literary, culturally significant true crime stories from around the world. Our chairs rest at the intersection of history, journalism, law, and murder. Every episode is the product of meticulous research and analysis that will inform, entertain, teach, and surprise even the most knowledgeable true crime aficionado. Episodes featuring true stories alternate with episodes devoted to interviews of today's best-selling true crime authors. Lead author Laur ...
 
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show series
 
Mike Stephen gets on update on the local craft beer scene from Chicago Tribune reporter Josh Noel, chats with local musician David Stowell about his new music, and learns the Secret History of the 1960s group The Opals. And Mike hopes we can take a step back from looking at everything through a political lens and do what's right when it comes to th…
 
The World’s Worst Woman – Countess Marie O’Rourke Tarnowska (In Stereo) CLEWS tells of the most prolific femme fatale known to mankind and the most celebrated murder trial in the history of Venice. Countess Marie Nicolaevna O’Rourke Tarnovska was the “Russian Delilah” – a woman who orchestrated scenes worthy of Tolstoy. Except - Anna Karenina was a…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Tracy Baim, the co-publisher of the Chicago Reader, about that publication’s 50th anniversary and what it means to the city. Then, we learn about a proposal to fight homelessness in Chicago from Edrika Fulford, a member of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless' Grassroots Leadership Team. And Mike tells the story of a high sc…
 
Mike Stephen learns about a new local Black-owned brewery called Funkytown from co-owners Richard Bloomfield, Zachary Day, and Gregory Williams, discusses the loss of affordable housing in Chicago with executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University Geoff Smith, and discovers the Secret History of the local country rock…
 
CLEWS takes you back to ancient Greece. When a beautiful courtesan is charged with shameless revelry, a famous trial lawyer comes to the rescue of the damsel in legal distress. This is the amazing but true story of Phryne (or Frine) and her attorney, Hypereides, and the most shocking closing argument of all time. For more including the comments sec…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the impact of mass incarceration in Illinois with Meredith Nnoka of IL Humanities, learns about community participation in redrawing ward maps from Chaundra Van Dyk of CHANGE Illinois, and gets the lowdown on some new rock and roll from the local band The Footlight District with vocalist and songwriter Sarah Scarbrough. And M…
 
Adult audiences only. CLEWS takes you back to the gin-fueled, jazz-filled nights in Chicago, Illinois when a good-looking woman could kill a man for no reason whatsoever -- other than to get her picture in the paper. Here is the story of the shocking murder epidemic that caused the deaths of three hundred husbands and boyfriends, and the scandalous…
 
Mike Stephen learns about the Black Fives Era of basketball from journalist Ade Adeniji, discusses the passage of new climate legislation in Illinois with Colleen Smith of the Illinois Environmental Council, and discovers the Secret History of gospel musician Rev. Marvin Yancy. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Producer Collin says farewell and turns in h…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the future of media and democracy with Nikki Usher, associate professor of journalism at the University of Illinois and author of News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism, and talks to civic educator and public defender Tom Tresser about the latest in the Chicago TIF saga. And in the…
 
Mike Stephen learns about Takeout 25’s evolution into a non-profit from founder and board president Ravi Parakkat, gets the lowdown on The Iconic Chicago Restaurants Map from Chicago Reader columnist and Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield, and learns about the wonderful resources of area ethnic grocery stores from Fooditor editor Mike Geber…
 
Mike Stephen gets an update on environmental policy in Illinois with Colleen Smith of the Illinois Environmental Council, learns about Edgewater’s local environmental work with Tricia Van Eck of the Edgewater Environmental Coalition, and discovers the Secret History of 1980s new wave rockers The Odd. And in the The OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer…
 
Mike Stephen learns about the South Side Home Movie Project with Assistant Director of Public Programming Sabrina Craig, discusses vaccine requirements to see live music in Chicago with Billy Helmkamp, the owner of Sleeping Village, and checks in with Mike Soffer, teacher and the creator of the Holocaust Studies class at Oak Park & River Forest Hig…
 
Mike Stephen discusses how local industrial real estate is booming with AJ LaTrace of RE Journals, talks to local musician Julian Daniell about his new EP and upcoming show, and learns the Secret History of 1980s punk-pop band The Veil. And the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer Collin recap the show, think about how to repurpose commercial …
 
Mike Stephen discusses a new report about how the city could have prevented residential fires with Madison Hopkins of the Better Government Association, learns about a local nonprofit called Your Passion 1st that focuses on mentoring youth, and revisits a 2015 conversation with high school students about their experiences in Chicago neighborhoods. …
 
Mike Stephen learns how North Lawndale residents are improving their community with Reshorna Fitzpatrick of the Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, talks to local singer-songwriter Dina Bach about her new music, and discovers the Secret History of the late, great Joe Cassidy. And the OTL Wrap Party segment is on vacation this week. Rest up, Wra…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the new study about Chicago’s garbage with Chicago Sun-Times reporter Brett Chase, explores a critique of CPD union leadership with Chicago Justice Project executive director Tracy Siska, and digs into the OTL archives to rediscover the Museum of Classic Chicago Television with founder Rick Klein. And in the OTL Wrap Party, M…
 
Mike Stephen remembers the proposed Crosstown Expressway from the 1970s with local writer Mary Wisniewski, learns about housing assistance in the wake of the pandemic with Anthony Simpkins, president & CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, and discovers the Secret History of Chicago tenor sax man Ari Brown. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mik…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Cook Co. Commissioner Larry Suffredin about the future of the county forest preserve, gets an update on local street vendors, and talks to Hillel Frankel of the trailblazing Chicago Ska band Heavy Manners. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin discuss tax increases and ska music.…
 
Mike Stephen learns how COVID-19 is impact local prison reentry facilities with freelance journalist Michael Murney, pays tribute to gymnast Dianne Durham by featuring his interview with her from 2006, and learns the Secret History of Chicago-born musician Jim Holvay. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin get ready for their 4th of Ju…
 
Mike Stephen chats with Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) about COIVD relief money, learns about the inclusive work of the Brave Space Alliance with director of programs Brittney Thomas, and discusses local history though the lens of the dance community in Chicago with Jenai Cutcher, executive & artistic director of the Chicago Dance History Project. And …
 
"It's a really interesting question: how do we get closure in this pandemic? I think a lot of people have hurt and loss that's not been acknowledged. I think acknowledging that loss is very important." - Andy Slavitt In this final episode of season 1 of EPIDEMIC, we look back on the coronavirus pandemic and how we can move forward with one of our f…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the significance of Juneteenth with Black Remembrance Project co-founder LeCreshia Birts, learns about one City Council committee’s inaction from Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project, and discovers the Secret History of the local Reggae group Skanking Lizard. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin recap the…
 
"Pregnant women who have SARS-CoV-2 are more likely to be admitted to the ICU, to need a ventilator and are more likely to die than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Pregnancy definitely makes getting COVID-19 much more dangerous." -Andrea Edlow Some of the most persistent myths about coronavirus and the vaccines developed to fight it hav…
 
Mike Stephen talks to freelance reporter Michael Murney about his piece that covers the Chicago Police Department's Private Sector Camera Initiative, gets an update on Illinois' environmental policy from Jen Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council, and learns about public participation in drawing Chicago ward maps from Adam Alonso, CEO of BUI…
 
"The pandemic has given us an opportunity to finally change this and if we don't, the economic impact from the fallout of women in the workforce is going to be devastating." -Erika Moritsugu The pandemic has upended caregiving and what it means to be a working mom. More than 2 million women have left the workforce because of the cost and effort of …
 
Mike Stephen gets an update about the local hospitality industry's rebound with the scribe behind the Chicago Bars Twitter feed, learns the story of biking to a Waffle House in Indiana from Chicago Reader columnist and Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield, and discovers the Secret History of local rocker Ron Haydock. And in the OTL Wrap Party…
 
"When you're building a system like a vaccine passport you're potentially excluding millions of people because they don't have this thing that once was optional, but has now become indispensable." -Albert Fox Cahn How do you let people who are fully vaccinated get back to normal life without creating super-spreader events for those who haven’t yet …
 
Mike Stephen chats about diversity in local journalism with Brandon Pope, the new president of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, learns about a new bill that strengthens civics education for incarcerated youth from Ami Gandhi, senior counsel at the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and gets the lowdown…
 
"You can't fight scarcity with scarcity. The only way out of the vaccine problem is by making a lot more of it." -James Krellenstein India is the world's largest supplier of vaccines but the government there suspended the export of all COVID-19 vaccines after a devastating outbreak this spring. This is just the latest reason why global health leade…
 
Mike Stephen learns about the expansion of Takeout 25 Oak Park from its creator and Oak Park trustee Ravi Parakkat, talks to Shawn Maxwell about his new jazz album, and discovers the Secret History of local soul singer Jackie Ross. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin recap the show and Mike shares his story of taking harmonica lesso…
 
"It's a triumph of science and engineering that we now have multiple effective COVID vaccines. We just need to find the political will to invest a bit more money and deploy them around the world." -Chris Morten President Joe Biden said the United States would be the world's "arsenal of vaccines" but critics say current plans to donate 80 million do…
 
Mike Stephen gets the story behind the increase of carjackings in Chicago with University of Chicago sociologist Dr. Robert Vargas, discusses the impact of the pandemic on working mothers with Frank Manzo of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, and chats with Keya Trammell about her new music. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin …
 
"They benefit from traffic no matter if it's good information or malignant misinformation. " -Imran Ahmed During the pandemic, disinformation campaigns have been targeting people of color with lies like African Americans can't get COVID or denying the pandemic is even real. In this episode, we’re going to hear more about how these disinformation ne…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the future of the Thompson Center with New City writer Philip Barash, talks to local musician Jared Rabin about his new album, and learns the Secret History of The Fabulous Turks. And in the OTL Wrap Party, Mike and Producer Collin recap the show, discuss the role of local government in administering the Thompson Center, and …
 
"What we really need to be doing is not belittle people. Don't wag your finger at them. Don't make them feel stupid or small for not having gotten the vaccine yet. Talk to them about why it's safe." - Gov. Chris Christie Conservatives have emerged as the group least likely to say they’ll get vaccinated. Getting more conservative Americans comfortab…
 
"Disinformation is a deliberate falsehood put out to mislead an audience. But what we see more of are true bits of information where necessary context has been removed or manipulated in a way that makes it technically true but wildly misleading." -Bret Schafer In this episode of EPIDEMIC, we’re going to look at disinformation during the pandemic. S…
 
"I don't think that herd immunity is a possibility for SARS CoV-2. I think there's going to be a different kind of equilibrium that we reach in the future where humans and SARS-CoV-2 co-exist in a much milder, more benign way." -Jennie Lavine The end of the pandemic might not mean the end of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, many scientists think COVID is here …
 
"The messaging that we've done in West Virginia is, look, we are leading the country, and that has really given people a sense that we can dispel a lot of negative stereotypes. We can be a world leader in a positive way." -Chris Martin Rural America's vaccine rollout has bucked expectations. A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found t…
 
"This virus does not discriminate. The vaccine is what is going to help to get us out of this crisis and stop the depth and the harm and the pain, which is what we're suffering two to three times more than our white counterparts." -Sandra Lindsay Reports show that Black Americans are less likely to get vaccinated than the general population but Bla…
 
"We have to have a conversation where we take people's fears seriously and try to figure out what is going on there." -Vanessa Gamble Black Americans are twice as likely to die from COVID as white Americans. Despite this, polls show that African-Americans are less interested in receiving the vaccine than other groups. But for people of color who do…
 
"I think a lot of people don't understand how fearful Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans are in this moment" -Toby Chow On March 16, a gunman in Atlanta killed eight people. Six of them were women of Asian descent. During the last 12 months, anti-Asian hate crimes were up 150% in the United States but the coronavirus pandemic is not the fi…
 
"This is an invisible war and if we don't use our weapons we are not going to win it." -Ester Sabino In the fall of 2020, the Brazilian city of Manaus had the highest SARS CoV-2 infection rate in the world — possibly as high as 75 percent. Some speculated that with rates of infection this high, there would not be enough people left for the virus to…
 
"We easily have never had as high a level of vaccination acceptance as we have now but we've asked a lot more of the public. The resistance that we see today is a response, in part, to that compounded request over time." - Elena Conis The vast majority of Americans accept vaccines but concerns about the effect vaccines could theoretically have on k…
 
"Every generation has generated its own anti-vaccinationism based on very similar concerns." -Jonathan Berman Vaccines are a safe and critical public health tool. They prevent crippling childhood diseases like polio. They’re responsible for the eradication of one of the deadliest diseases ever — smallpox — and, today, they’re one of the most import…
 
"When we think about a virus we don't think as much about the immune response to the virus but it is just so, so critical." -David Fajgenbaum Where do treatments come from when there's a new disease like COVID-19? The vast majority of drugs prescribed to treat COVID during the pandemic are actually old drugs. Some of the most effective have been ar…
 
"It just shows how difficult it is to be reactive with this virus. By the time you've detected something and understood the significance of it you're already several steps behind the virus." -Richard Lessells This is the second in our series on variants of concern. Our previous episode looked at the UK variant, and today we’re looking at the varian…
 
"I had been assuming that my life and everyone else's life would get closer to normal in March. This [variant] has me worried that it won't be March, that we'll have a spring wave and I don't know how big that will be." -Trevor Bedford This winter a new, more contagious variant of SARS-CoV-2 arose in the United Kingdom: B.1.1.7. The CDC estimates t…
 
"When we interact with nature there are unpredictable and weird mechanisms by which pathogens might be able to move between the species." -Tony Goldberg There’s a lot we don’t know about the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus but there is a consensus that it came from animals. This is called zoonosis. HIV, Zika, and Ebola were all viruses in animals be…
 
"This is not like a lot of the other disasters that people have studied. It looks a lot more like what you'd expect to see in people who have lived through a war. " -Roy Perlis This is the second in our two-part series about deaths of despair during the pandemic. We speak with experts and review the latest data on how the pandemic is affecting rate…
 
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