Mike Stephen hosts the annual Outside the Loop Chicago Podcasting Summit to talk about all things new and exciting in the world of local audio storytelling. Joining him for this summit are podcasters Robin Amer of The City, Laura Austin of Always Andersonville, and Shannon Cason of Homemade Stories and The Trouble. Special thanks to Flora for powering this week’s local music. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

Mike Stephen learns how the government shutdown canceled an EPA pollution hearing in East Chicago, previews the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival with artistic director Blair Thomas, and discusses a study analyzing increasing housing prices in Chicago neighborhoods and the impact of those price increases.  The local music this week is brought to you by Noiseferatu.  ALSO: Let us know about your favorite cozy winter neighborhood bars/taverns here! To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

Mike Stephen chats with Austin Coming Together’s Darnell Shields about a new plan to improve the Austin community, learns about the flaws in the state’s Freedom of Information Act with ProPublica Illinois’ Mick Dumke, and explores how lines help define and impact Chicago with the co-president of the Chicago Architectural Club Carlo Parente.  The local music this week is brought to you by Hearts and Minds. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

Mike Stephen talks to the owner of the Heartland Cafe about the imminent closing of that Rogers Park institution, discusses equity when it comes to supporting all Chicago parks, and discovers the Secret History of a unique folk rock band called Dysfunctionells with local music historian Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave).  The local music this week is brought to you by Jumpsuit. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.