Mike Stephen learns about Illinois’ efforts to combat climate change with the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, gets the lowdown on a story about Chicago with the creator of a new podcast called The City, and discovers the Secret History of legendary Chicago Bluesman Otis Rush with local music historian Steve Krakow (aka: Plastic Crimewave).  The local music this week is brought to you by Scamlines. To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

OTL: Episode #546- Closing the IL gender pay gap, Future of the Great Lakes, The Secret History of Big Smokey Smothers

Mike Stephen talks with:   Women Employed policy director Melissa Josephs about Equal Pay Day, the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and preventing employers from asking about salary histories;   Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan about protecting our region’s greatest natural resource, as detailed in his book The Death and Life of the Great Lakes; and   Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about rhythm guitarist and ice cream vendor Otis “Big Smokey” Smothers for this week’s “Winter Blues” edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music.   Meanwhile, we compare Chicago’s population density to other major cities.   This week’s local music is provided by Moon Bros..   OTL host Mike Stephen knows which stack of papers is his due to WGN Radio super engineer Bob Ferguson’s helpful note.   To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

OTL: Episode #537- Living with lead in Chicago, Fatal crashes and cell phone privacy, Is Restaurant Week a good deal?

Mike Stephen talks with:   City Bureau co-founder/editorial director Darryl Holliday about his news organization’s special issue “Living With Lead: How Generations of Chicagoans Carry the Weight of a Toxin Hiding in Plain Sight;”   Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield about his Chicago Reader column on whether or not police should be checking drivers’ phone records after serious crashes; and   Chicagoist food editor Anthony Todd about how not to get screwed by Restaurant Week 2017.   Meanwhile, Mike explains why he turned down Portillo’s this week!   This week’s local music is provided by Go Time!.   OTL host Mike Stephen III and his son Mike Stephen IV watch an episode of Elmo’s World while enjoying a tall glass of Chicago tap water. (Text “LEAD” to 312-697-1791 to find out more about potential lead poisoning in your area.)   To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.

OTL: Episode #528- Arts in the classroom, Feral cats help with rat control, The Secret History of Silver Abuse

Mike Stephen talks with:   Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) executive director Amy Rasmussen about bringing art to public school classrooms and making a positive impact on the lives in students;   Tree House Humane Society Cats at Work program manager Paul Nickerson about about how feral cats can help control the local rat population; and   Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) about protopunk weirdos Silver Abuse for this week’s “The Fall of Punk” edition of The Secret History of Chicago Music.   Meanwhile, we discuss throwing your trash in the garbage bins — whether they’re “your” bins or not. Just don’t contaminate our recycling!   This week’s local music is provided by The Artist Formerly Known as Vince.   OTL host Mike Stephen practices good recycling habits in Chicago.   To subscribe to the OTL podcast, please visit our iTunes page or RSS feed.