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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 ...
 
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show series
 
Mike Stephen gets the lowdown about this year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup from the Chicago Tribune's Josh Noel, talks to ProPublica Illinois reporter Melissa Sanchez about immigrant teens working dangerous factory jobs in the suburbs, and chats about the empowering work of Girls on the Run Chicago with executive director Jill Eid. And in the OTL …
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on why expanding the College Football Playoff isn’t a great idea (2:00) before talking with actor-director Josh Duhamel about his new movie ‘Buddy Games’, his directorial debut, the real-life inspiration behind the film, maintaining relationships with childhood friends, Josh’s career, playing around with construction eq…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL awards for Week 11 (2:30) before talking with ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks about the Trail Blazers' impressive free agency haul, the fairly new trend of teams backing out of offers to players, Gordon Hayward's big contract, Serge Ibaka to the Clippers, Marc Gasol to the Lakers, Aaron Baynes to the Raptors, th…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the legacy of local disinvestment in East Garfield Park with Mick Dumke of ProPublica Illinois, talks with Ai-jen Poo, co-founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, about domestic workers rights, and learns the Secret History of local drummer Dave Tough. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer Collin refl…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on what value first-round picks actually hold in today’s NBA (2:00) before talking with Sara Walsh of NFL Network and Fox about the Buccaneers' rise to prominence since the addition of Tom Brady, what their recent loss to the Saints actually means, Antonio Brown, Bruce Aryans, and more (20:00). Then Ryen talks with The …
 
Russillo is joined by four-time NBA champion Tony Parker to discuss his book, 'Tony Parker: Beyond All of My Dreams,' his experience at the Nike Hoops Summit in 2000, the 2001 NBA draft, earning Tim Duncan’s respect, his NBA Finals battles with the Miami Heat, and more (4:00). Then Ryen talks with The Athletic’s Andy Staples about the college footb…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL awards for Week 10 (3:00) before he is joined by ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt to discuss Dustin Johnson’s historic win at the Masters, check in on Tiger Woods, talk about what makes Augusta National so special, and more (23:00). Then Ryen shares his thoughts on the rumored James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets trade (53:00) before h…
 
Mike Stephen learns about what it’s like to get out the vote with Janelle Rau-Clauson, chats about NewCity’s special “Best of Chicago” issue with guest co-editor Scoop Jackson, and gets some tips on enjoying winter during a pandemic from the Chicago Reader's John Greenfield. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer Collin reflect on the…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on the idea of trading for Russell Westbrook (2:00). Then he is joined by analyst and former NFL QB Brady Quinn to talk college football, including Notre Dame's strong start, Mac Jones vs. Kyle Trask, the top QB prospects for the 2021 NFL draft, Oklahoma's nice stretch of games, and more. They also discuss Brady's time …
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on rumors that Chris Paul may be headed to the Phoenix Suns, before briefly remembering Celtics icon Tommy Hinsohn (2:00). Then, Ryen talks with author Wright Thompson about his book, 'Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last.' They talk about the history of whiskey in America, the origins of…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL awards for Week 9 (2:00) before talking with ESPN’s Stanford Steve about the PAC-12’s late start, Stanford-Oregon, Michigan-Indiana, Notre Dame–Clemson, the competitive SEC, Oklahoma’s improvements, their favorite ‘College Gameday’ road trips, and more (17:00). Finally, Ryen answers a listener-submitted Life Advice questi…
 
Mike Stephen explores how restaurants are turning to sandwiches to survive with Nick Kindelsperger of the Chicago Tribune, learns about the City of Chicago budget process with City Bureau reporting residents Kelly Garcia and Corli Jay, and discovers the Secret History of local R&B band The Lovelites. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Prod…
 
Russillo rants about a recent encounter on an outdoor basketball court, before sharing his thoughts on the narrative that the Dolphins may look to move on from rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa depending on their 2021 draft position (2:30). Then, Ryen talks with top NBA draft prospect RJ Hampton and 2x NBA champion Mike Miller about RJ’s decision to forego …
 
Ryen Russillo shares his thoughts on PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott (1:30) before talking with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor about the rapidly approaching NBA draft, the lack of consensus on some of the top prospects, potential pick swaps, and more (7:00). Finally, Ryen answers some listener-submitted Life Advice questions (1:10:00). The Ringer's 20…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL Awards for Week 8 and updates his Brady/Belichick power rankings (1:45) before talking with Fox NFL analyst Michael Vick about Tua Tagovailoa’s first start for the Miami Dolphins, the short list of lefty QBs, Steelers-Ravens, Saints-Bears, the skirmish between C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Javon Wims, how QBs are getting “extr…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the possibility of downstate Illinois seceding from Chicago with Ted McClelland of Chicago Magazine, learns about a new book called Bullets for Dead Hoods that gives us a look into local mobsters of the 1930s from curator John Corbett, and reviews an analysis of how the state has spent COVID-19 funds with ProPublica Illinois'…
 
Russillo gives a little context on the issue of Nebraska’s cancelled game vs. Wisconsin over COVID concerns, as well as Nebraska’s friction with the Big Ten as a whole (2:00); Before talking with Domonique Foxworth about his ESPN cover story ‘Tyrann Mathieu is changing the game’, some stories from his NFL career, and a real discussion about player …
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on the Dodgers finally winning a World Series (2:00), before talking with The Ringer’s Kevin Clark about sports commissioners and the NFL trade deadline (13:00). Then Ryen is joined by Super Bowl champion Willie Colon to discuss the top AFC teams and share some great stories about Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Ben Ro…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on Steelers-Titans and whether it was a statement game for either team (2:00), before handing out his Week 7 NFL awards and updating his Brady-Belichick power rankings (8:00). Then Ryen talks with Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and The Athletic about the return of the Big Ten and the week in college football (24:00). Next,…
 
Mike Stephen learns how The Love Fridge works to combat hunger during a pandemic with co-lead organizer Lisa Armstrong, discusses Ballot Z’s mission of getting young people involved civically with founder Gretchen Coleman, and learns the Secret History of local 1960s funk and soul band The Artistics. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Prod…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on why it's not all that shocking that Mark Jackson was not tapped for an NBA head coaching position this offseason (2:00). He's then joined by the UFC's Jon Anik to discuss the scene on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje; and updates on Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and more (13:00). Finally Russillo a…
 
Russillo is joined by author Ben Fritz to discuss his new book ‘The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies,' as well as what he learned from the infamous Sony hack, plus the end of the DVD era, the rise of franchise films, and more. Then Ryen talks with renowned mental conditioning expert Trevor Moawad about his background in the field, wo…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL Week 6 awards before talking with The Athletic’s Mike Sando about the state of the NFC North after the Steelers beat the Browns. They discuss high expectations for the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans, Packers vs. Buccaneers, the 5-1 Chicago Bears, the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, and more. Then Ryen catches up on college foo…
 
Mike Stephen learns about Injustice Watch's judicial election guide with Emily Hoerner, discusses the push to create fair ward boundaries in Chicago with CHANGE Illinois' Madeleine Doubek, and talks about being a musician during the pandemic with Audrey Foxx. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer Collin reflect on the show and Collin…
 
Russillo briefly shares his thoughts on Daryl Morey’s exit from the Rockets before talking with SI’s Albert Breer about the disastrous Jets season and what the market would be for Sam Darnold if the Jets end up with the first overall draft pick, college coaches primed for NFL jobs, what the Patriots will do regarding Cam Newton, the 49ers’ QB situa…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on the Lakers' NBA title and LeBron James's ever-growing legacy. Then he talks with Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer about Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury, Andy Dalton stepping into the starting QB role for the Cowboys, how modern pass-heavy offenses can affect young QB development, the Raiders' win over the Chiefs,…
 
Mike Stephen learns about efforts to bring back live music in Chicago with Mike Jeffers of the Epiphany Center for the Arts, learns about a new book on LGBTQ history called Our Gay History in Fifty States from author Zaylore Stout, and discovers the Secret History of the band The Chicago Loop. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer Co…
 
Russillo is joined by USC legend and Fox Sports analyst Matt Leinart to discuss the PAC-12 getting its schedule in order, what's going on with USC, Alabama's hot start, concern in Texas, hanging out with Lane Kiffin, working with Urban Meyer on 'Big Noon Kickoff,' and more. Then Ryen answers some listener-submitted Life Advice questions.…
 
Russillo gives out his NFL awards for Week 4 before sharing some thoughts on Lakers-Heat Game 3. Then he talks with Fox NFL analyst Michael Vick about QBs learning a new “system," learning Andy Reid’s system in Philadelphia, Patrick Mahomes thriving in that system in Kansas City, the Browns getting Odell Beckham Jr. some opportunities on the field,…
 
Mike Stephen talks to a variety of local business owners about how they are surviving the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear from Joe Basilone, co-owner of Perkolator in Portage Park, Tyler & Natalie Anderson, co-owners of Beardsgaard Barbers in Batavia, and Jim & Kisha Williams, co-owners of Power Fitness Chicago in Roseland. And in…
 
Russillo is joined by Bill Simmons to discuss the Lakers shellacking of the Heat in game one of the NBA Finals, some tough injuries for Miami, the two headed monster that is LeBron and Anthony Davis, the Clippers parting ways with Doc Rivers, the upcoming NBA coaching carousel, and more (1:50). Then Ryen talks with CBS Sports and SiriusXM’s Danny K…
 
Russillo gives out NFL Week 3 awards (4:45) before he is joined by two-time Super Bowl champion and ESPN analyst Booger McFarland to discuss this week's games, including the showdown between the Cowboys and Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers keeping the Packers rolling vs. the Saints, another tough week for Carson Wentz and the Eagles, and Josh Allen learning…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Lucien Liz-Lapiorz of the Chicago DSA about a new interactive map that shows which landlords own what properties in Chicago, discusses lessons learned from the March primaries with City Bureau reporter Alex Arriaga, and discovers the Secret History of The Resurrection Band. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike and Producer …
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on Lakers-Nuggets Game 3, as well as the Lakers’ fourth-quarter performances throughout the playoffs (4:33). Then Ryen is joined by NYT-bestselling author Jeff Pearlman and Bill Simmons to discuss Jeff’s new book ‘Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty’ (20:39). Finally Ryen answe…
 
Russillo hands out his Week 2 NFL awards at the top of the show (1:50) before talking to his old pal Eric Edholm from Yahoo Sports about Lamar Jackson and the Ravens picking up right where they left off last season, Cam Newton taking command of the Patriots offense and the teams that shouldn’t have missed out on him, the Cowboys coming from behind …
 
Mike Stephen talks to Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, about winning a humanitarian award and human connection during the pandemic, discusses Lake Michigan environmental concerns with Scott Blankman of Clean Wisconsin, and learns the pros and cons of the proposed state progressive income tax with David Merriman of the Fiscal Futures P…
 
Russillo briefly shares his thoughts on the Clippers’ Game 7 collapse vs. the Nuggets (3:28). Then he talks with Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly about his role in the bubble when the Nuggets are down 3-1 in a playoff series, Denver’s coaching adjustments throughout the playoffs, scouting Nikola Jokic back in 2014, Jok…
 
Russillo introduces a new weekly NFL awards segment (2:28) before he is joined by Super Bowl champ Trent Dilfer to discuss NFL Week 1, including Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ cohesion issues, the Eagles' meltdown vs. Washington, a good start for Cam Newton and the Patriots, Aaron Donald’s defensive dominance, “the James Harden of QBs," and Cowboys-…
 
Mike Stephen helps dispel myths of voting by mail with Katrina Phidd of Chicago Votes, chats with the Design Museum of Chicago's Tanner Woodford about the pandemic’s impact on local art, and learns the Secret History of funky and folky Peter Berkow. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Producer Collin professes his love of Korean Pop music and create…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on Game 6 of the Raptors-Celtics playoff series (3:25) before he is joined by The Ringer’s Kevin Clark to discuss the unprecedented NFL season that kicks off tonight with the Chiefs and Texans. They talk expectations for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, the Rams‘ playoff hopes, Jimmy G and the 49ers, an exciting Cowboys team, Su…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on Nuggets-Clippers and Raptors-Celtics (3:50) before he is joined by two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long to discuss the start of the NFL season. They talk Week 1 feelings as a player, Cam Newton as the Patriots’ captain, a do-or-die season for Carson Wentz, the slept-on Steelers, Jamal Adams hype, favorite edge rus…
 
Mike Stephen discusses the state of to-go pizza slices in Chicago with Chicago Tribune food & dining reporter Nick Kindelsperger, learns about a great literacy & art organization called Brown Books and Paint Brushes with CEO Candice Washington, and gets an update on empowering youth in Austin with Adam Alonso of BUILD. And in the OTL Wrap Party seg…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on the Rockets closing out Game 7 against the Thunder, the Brooklyn Nets hiring Steve Nash as their head coach, and the Bucks' trouble down 0-2 in their Round 2 series against the Heat (1:39). He's then joined by Kyle Brandt to discuss his recent episode of '10 Questions' with Kirk Cousins; the 12-year saga that led to …
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on Rockets-Thunder Game 6, as well as Kawhi vs. Giannis in the debate for best player in the league (1:26), before talking with ESPN’s Royce Young about the Rockets-Thunder Round 1 series that has now come down to Game 7 (17:44). Then Ryen is joined by The Ringer’s Danny Kelly to discuss fantasy football draft strategie…
 
Mike Stephen talks to Lane Tech High School senior and member of the Mikva Challenge Youth Safety Advisory Council Hannah Lawrence about her efforts for police reform, learns about The Institute for Positive Living's efforts for a more accurate census from CEO & founder Rev. Marrice Coverson, and discovers the Secret History of late soul singer Bil…
 
Russillo is joined by The Ringer’s Raja Bell to discuss the NBA players' strike in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, as well as the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks seemingly finding their playoff groove, stories from Raja's time with the 76ers in 2001 and 2002, NBA playoff speculation, and more (5:37). Then Ryen answers some listener-submitted L…
 
Russillo shares his thoughts on another early playoff exit for the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, and the Process (2:20), before he is joined by the one and only Craig Kilborn. They discuss Luka Doncic’s stellar playoff performance against the Clippers, Celtics vs. Raptors Round 2 speculations, what the Timberwolves should do with their 2021 no. 1 draft pick, …
 
Mike Stephen learns about the great work of Friedman Place with executive director Alexander Brown, talks to Billy Dave Sherman of the local band The Steak House Mints about the impact of the pandemic on music, and gets the story of WLCB-FM serving northern IL and southern WI with general manager Sean Hauser. And in the OTL Wrap Party segment, Mike…
 
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