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Chicago Mayor Is Leaping Into the Podcast Game

To chronicle stories of the Windy City.  

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Chicago, home of WBEZ, is a kind of ground zero for the once-lowly podcast. It seems fitting, then, that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched his own, called “Chicago Stories.”

According to the Chicago Mayor’s Office Medium account (where you can also take a listen to Emanuel’s broadcast debut), “Chicago Stories” will be interview-based, with the mayor meeting “with everyday Chicagoans and special guests in his office at City Hall and hear[ing] their stories of the Windy City.”

Following an upbeat jazz intro, the mayor’s first episode features Mike Gemma and Trevor Hagen of Haymarket Brewery — reportedly one of the mayor’s favorite places to sip craft beer.

“A little-known fact if you didn’t know about Haymarket Brewery: the most award-winning brewery in the city of Chicago and I think in the United States,” he says, and, when corrected by one of his guests (“I don’t know about the entire United States”), he adds a small politicking twist: “Well there’s only three of us here on this show — let’s go. Who’s here to refute us, man?”

He asks about awards the brewery has won and his guests’ backgrounds, and the three talk earnestly about the lack of pretension in the local craft beer scene. But, as the Chicago Tribune points out, the podcast is more than an opportunity for Emanuel to pal around with locals he admires. He’s also taking a page out of the Twitter account of other politicians (albeit with a lot less covfefe than some).

The Tribune reports:

Emanuel starting a podcast echoes moves by other politicians in the internet age, using technology to speak to voters directly rather through traditional media. Gov. Bruce Rauner has regularly taken questions about the state budget stalemate via Facebook Live, for example.

Next City has previously rounded up a host of podcasts for urbanists with limited time. As Jen Kinney put it: “Podcasts, my editor wrote to me this week, are like “New Yorker” magazines: New ones are always piling up before you have a chance to appreciate the last one.”

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Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

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Tags: chicagoarts and culturerahm emanuel

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