Meet Joel of Radio Spätkauf: Berlin’s English Podcast that you should definitely be listening to (if you’re not already)!

By Catherine J. Fehre . August 7, 2013

In the studio at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. From left to right: Andrew Mason, Maisie Hitchcock, Joel Dullroy.

This week we asked Joel Dullroy, the co-host of Radio Spätkauf, a few questions about his podcast site. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to visit their site to listen to some podcasts from Joel, Maisie and Andrew and their opinions about all things Berlin!

How and when did you come up with this?

Radio Spätkauf evovled out of regular conversations that I would have with Maisie, my co-host. We are both politically-engaged and informed individuals, and we would meet often for breakfast or coffee and chat away about local new issues. They were the kinds of conversations I didn’t have with many other Berliners, most of whom are busy enjoying their own existence, but without much knowledge about what was going in the city around them. As two people who can speak German, read newspapers and have an understanding of recent history, Maisie and I felt we had something to offer the city; our local knowledge.

We are both journalists, and had both been involved in radio before; I had two radio reports aired on the BBC, and Maisie used to work for the BBC’s flagship daily news program “Today.” The idea of creating our own radio-based news show about local Berlin politics and news issues, in English, flowed on as the logical confluence of all these factors.

Why are you doing it?I would like to help give my fellow international residents some understanding of the city around them, primarily for the purpose of not ruining it. Berlin is a liberal, affordable city for some historical reasons, but also because a lot of people fought very hard to make it that way. We owe those punks from the 90s a debt of thanks, but more than that we owe it to them, ourselves, and future Berliners to take up their fight and keep it going. If no one stands up and fights against rent increases, the city as we know it will disappear under a tide of high prices. Not understanding German isn’t an excuse; there’s a lot an individual can do without speaking the local language. It is up to us to get informed about city politics, to go out and demonstrate when necessary, to vote in elections if we can, to join campaigns and community groups. I hope Radio Spaetkauf helps to inform international people about what is going, so that they can get involved and help maintain the city as we know and love it. 

Why should people listen to Radio Spätkauf?It will make them feel more at home here, and give them an understanding of how the city functions. We answer questions you might have had in your head for a while, like what’s going on with the U-Bahns, the airport, construction sites, nightclubs, or bike lanes? Why are certain prices going up, and what can we do about it? Having a local news and information program in your own language is a bit of a comfort blanket – it helps make you feel part of the city. 

You’ve been in Berlin for ages. What’s the craziest Spätkauf story you can tell us?My favourite story was an interview I did with a typographer who has created a font called “U8.” It is a digital font based on the station signage on the U8 line. I went for an hour-long ride with him on the U8 as he told me stories about the history of the tunnels and stations. I love this kind of stuff, and hopefully others do too.

To listen to this interview, click here.Also, Berlin Loves You readers, be sure to check back here, as we will be posting links to Radio Spätkauf’s podcasts every month!

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