With at least a few more weeks of quarantine expected, some people are taking the time to work on projects or learning to cook. And with the nicer weather creeping in, people are taking advantage by going out for more walks or runs. Why not pop in your earbuds and lock in on some Chicago-produced music podcasts while you’re keeping yourself busy?
The explosion of podcasting over the last decade has left few niches uncovered with a number of unique approaches to looking at the music scene.
James Van Osdol has long been a staple on the Chicago area music scene, riding the airwaves at Q101 and WLUP. But his hourlong Sunday night Demo 312 radio show is putting new local releases in the spotlight at 101-WKQX, and his Car Con Carne videos and podcasts haven given him a chance since 2016 to get some face time with musicians while sharing a meal in his car.
Adela Skowronski, who with Dan Dick runs The Underbelly Hours radio show on Elmhurst College radio WRSE-88.7 FM every Sunday, got into the podcast game to showcase her own and her friends’ music, she said. But she learned something new sitting down with artists.
“It was beautiful to see people from all walks of life creating the widest variety of music,” she said. “And to be honest, it’s changed my whole perspective on music in general.”
“I wanted to team up with Adela for The Underbelly Hours because I wanted to get more involved in the local scene after performing in it myself for a while,” Dick said. “I loved what she was doing and wanted to help her give these great artists more chances to share their music and stories on air.”
Andy King, on the other hand, gets straight to the meat of the thing. His AUX Populi podcasts approach musicians from a deeper angle — less about the how and more about the who. King started his discussions with artists of all kinds when he first launched his podcast in 2018, but he has since shifted to mostly performing musicians who are more used to expressing themselves verbally or in front of people.
“If I can get someone to open up about something and share something that someone listening might understand or be going through,” he said, “then who knows who that might help, or how.”
While some of these podcasts cater to a broader audience, others play favorites with very specific niches. If you’re not already a regular podcast listener, stick your toe in the water with our list:
Car Con Carne
James Van Osdol’s weekly interview series with musicians and celebrities from Chicago and beyond has shifted to nightly live video interviews and podcasts each night.
The Underbelly Hours
Adela Skowronski and Dan Dick enthusiastically scour the suburbs and Chicago to showcase the incredible connections taking root on the underground scenes and grass-roots festivals. Videos are on Facebook Live Sunday nights, podcasts post Monday morning.
Andy King’s weekly podcast dives deep into the psyche of musicians (and other artists, too) to get to the real stories behind what they do and what they’re going through as people.
Kevin McMahon, of the local music and brewery scenes, takes an often R-rated and spirited approach to discussions about artists and local personalities. Don’t worry about what you say; your grandma isn’t listening to this one.
Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast
The effervescent Jacques LaMore and his Pop-Punk and Pizza podcast draws artists from Chicago (and some touring acts) to talk about music and chow on pizza.
Mike Heidemann’s warm and charming approach to interviews has taken him all across the Chicago area, talking to locals, making “Brews and Bands” videos, mingling with touring acts at music festivals and more for nearly a decade with Radio DePaul, WGN and his new gig at Evanston’s WCGO-1590 AM. “I’ve been asking questions since I was 4 and annoyed the bejesus out of my mom,” he said.
Emo Social Club
Hosts Lizzie and Brian hang with members from the local emo scene for interviews and discussions about the music and issues in the emo community.
Chicago Acoustic Underground
Host Michael Teach gives singer-songwriters exposure through interviews and performances in his long-running podcast and video program.
BadAss Podcast with Evan Thomas
Host Evan Thomas draws on music and discussions — many from the Chicago area — in his journey down the harder side of rock.
Standing Out Loud
Catch some fresh tunes as Guardrail singer Kevin Andrew invites music and music-adjacent folks from the Chicago-area scene to his monthly-ish podcast.
What About Chicago?
Ben Moroney, Rae Bees and Rahim Salaam explore our city’s arts and culture scenes with a weekly podcast.
Tunes for a Minute
Based out of the Western suburbs, Tunes for a Minute gives artists and the community opportunities to share and to help.
The Grant Milliren Show
The indie singer-songwriter tackles music, lifestyles and more.
Music Industry Chat
Evan Price and his guests discuss the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Chicago music industry.
The Metal Experience
Dive into the metal, punk and rock scenes with an often Chicago-centric experience (in normal times) recorded at Fitz’s Spare Keys in Elmhurst.
Dave Specter’s Blues from the Inside Out
Chicago blues and jazz guitarist Dave Specter talks tunes with special guests.
Starve the Arts
Explore what makes the music scene tick with host Connor Rennels and his guests from across the music scene.
John and Andrew explore culture, politics and religion as they pertain to music, particularly in deep-dives on Christian alternative artists.