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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 ...
 
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 talks to Josh Noel of the Chicago Tribune about some access issues with Bourbon County beers this year, discusses the need for more public restrooms in Chicago with Courtney Cobbs of Streetsblog Chicago, and learns about the great work of West Town Feeds from board member Lauren Young. And Mike reminds us that if we really want this ye…
 
CLEWS takes you to Tokyo in spring, where a beautiful woman commits the rarest crime in the calendar. Meet Sada Abe and her modern sisters in castration. Sources: Laura James, The beauty defense, 2020. www.naomiclifford.com/ann-crampton/ William Johnston, Geisha, harlot, strangler, star, 2005. Judith Knelman, Twisting in the wind, 1998. Christine M…
 
Mike Stephen learns about a people's history of Uptown through the Dis/Placements project from its co-founders Gayatri Reddy & Anna Guevarra and discovers the Secret History of 1980s alt-rockers Stark. And Mike thinks we should open up the fast food drive-thru lanes to bicycles. What could go wrong?
 
CLEWS takes you to Botswana, known for its diamonds, democracy, elephants, and low crime rate – until a June night in 1996, when gunshots announce the shocking murder of a well-to-do woman in her own home. The police are stumped. Then a wedding, a housemaid, and a sister-in-law reveal the secrets of Marriette Bosch. Sources: Botswana, Bosch v The S…
 
Mike Stephen chats with Batavia native Kevin Jakubowski, the screenwriter of the upcoming film 8-Bit Christmas, talks to Oak Park & River Forest High School senior Jelena Collins about her experience at the UN Climate Change Conference, and learns about local musician Guy King’s new music. And Mike remembers the joys of old-school Nintendo from the…
 
CLEWS takes you to the French Riviera, where a Miss America runner-up is in a knock-down, drag-out battle with her millionaire husband that doesn’t end until the shooting starts. It’s the story of Fred and Charlotte Nash Nixon-Nirdlinger - just the sort of thing that happens when fifty marries twenty. Sources: Laura James, The beauty defense, 2020.…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Erik Esse, the producer of a new documentary about the internal divisions in the co-op movement called Co-Op Wars, learns about the struggles of Afghan refugee youth in Chicago from ProPublica reporter Melissa Sanchez, and discovers the Secret History of 1970s one-hit wonder Jamestown Massacre. And Mike ponders the question: d…
 
CLEWS takes you to the Old Bailey for the trial of killer Emma “Kitty” Byron, a beauty who stabbed a stock broker to death in broad daylight. The mandatory penalty for murder is death by hanging. It should have been an open-and-shut case. But Miss Byron is lovely, and her attorney is the son of Charles Dickens, who once said that some murders are h…
 
Our inaugural interview is with Harold Schechter, whose first true crime book came out in 1990. Back in the day, true crime was mass market paperback and hard to find. You had to sneak to the back of the bookstore, and a special order got you a long look. Today, true crime tops the charts in every format, every channel. We can’t get enough. How did…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Anne Elizabeth Moore about her new book called Gentrifier: A Memoir, discusses the issues facing hockey culture with Evan F. Moore, the co-author of Game Misconduct: Hockey's Toxic Culture and How to Fix It, and revisits a segment from four years ago that takes us underneath Read-Dunning Park on the northwest side of Chicago. …
 
CLEWS takes you to Salem, Massachusetts, and the modern trial of a witch accused of poisoning her husband. Things sure look bleak for this dark-haired beauty, but Jessie Costello will cast a spell – on the jury. It’s a case that has been called the most luscious trial as any in the gaudy annals of American jurisprudence. Sources Laura James, The be…
 
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…
 
CLEWS takes you 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 true stories of two beauti…
 
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 …
 
"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 …
 
"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…
 
"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…
 
"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…
 
"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…
 
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