Frequently Asked Questions

Happenstance is a mobile app that delivers geolocated mini-podcasts about Chicago that people might not know!

When you walk within a few blocks of a mini-podcast, we’ll send you a push notification. You can swipe, listen and learn something new about your surroundings in under three minutes!

Not exactly. We go out into the neighborhoods, interview various everyday experts and select the most interesting nuggets of information from those interviews. We add some narration and music and turn it into a story! 

Most of our stories are original content. That means they’re written, narrated, and produced by the Happenstance team and local freelance journalists/podcasters! But we also plan to collaborate with other outlets in the city and share their content on our app. 

A “Hap” is a fun name for our mini-podcasts! Each Hap is roughly two minutes long and geotagged to various locations in the city. 

Anyone who downloads the app, especially Chicagoans!

Have you ever walked past a building on a regular basis without knowing anything about it? That building could have been the site of an important invention or an unusual wedding! Chicago has little-known stories around every corner. Our app brings them to life and makes you feel more connected to your city!

Our Haps primarily fall within our four editorial pillars: Food, arts, landmark and sports. But if we come a cross a fun, interesting story that’s slightly different, we won’t pass it up! Chicago is too interesting of a town! 

We cover both ends of the spectrum. You’re just as likely to hear a Hap about Chicago’s past as you are to hear a Hap about current people and places! 

Yes! We’d hate to send you stories you’d rather not hear! We ask for your Hap preferences when signing up, and you can access them at any time in your settings menu. 

You can use Happenstance when you’re within a few blocks of a Hap! Right now, we’re working on stories in River North, Streeterville, and the Gold Coast, but we hope to have Haps across Chicago very soon!

Most definitely! As long as you engage with a story notification, each Hap will be saved to your library and categorized under unfinished Haps. 

Yes! All Haps will be available in your library upon listening, and you can replay your favorites at any time.

Chicago’s stories are endless, so our job is never done. We’ll be adding new Haps to each neighborhood multiple times per year, so you’ll always be hearing something new! And of course, we encourage you to venture into other neighborhoods once we expand!

With Happenstance, you don’t need to take an hour out of your day or follow a guided route to hear something new. You literally swipe, slip your phone back into your pocket and listen to the Hap while continuing your commute. It’s that simple!

That depends on the situation. A majority of our Haps are unpaid, unbiased stories about a particular person or place. But if a business is interested in telling a more promotional story on our app, the business could sponsor a story, which will be labeled differently than our regular Haps.

We would love to work with local businesses that fit our fun, quirky brand! Please direct all business inquiries to our co-founder and CEO, Kathy Bartlett:

Unfortunately, our app currently doesn’t allow listeners to submit stories. But if you have an idea for a story we should cover, we’d love to hear it! Please send suggestions to our co-founder and managing editor, Stephanie Choporis:

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