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The Big Pond – A US-German Listening Series.

A US-German listening series
The Big Pond

In collaboration with radio producers and broadcasters from the US and Germany, The Big Pond is a podcast with 50 features that will be produced this year. Our topics such as music, sports, history, religion, language, and society convey a multifaceted image of life in Germany and in the US. With high-quality journalism, thorough research, and a preference for unique stories, this series takes on pretzels, beer, and the Berlin Wall, each piece offering a fresh perspective on just how much these two countries share. 

All features are available for download and radio broadcast via PRX. We are happy to provide journalists, partners, and radio stations with press photos and other press materials for The Big Pond:
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Latest episode

Friday prayer of the Muslim Student Association of the Miami University, Oxford, Ohio © Rosemary Pennington

April 17, 2019
The Big Pond #24: Being Muslim in the Midwest

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What is it like to be Muslim nowadays in the Midwest, the so-called Heartland of the US? And how does that reality connect to the one in Germany? Our producers Rosemary Pennington and Joe Sampson interviewed members of several Muslim communities as well as speakers of Muslim advocacy groups in the Cincinnati area.

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Recently aired

Recycling © Nina Bohlmann

April 10, 2019
The Big Pond #23: Sorting Out Recycling

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As most of the Western world, the US and Germany have a waste problem – and recycling has been pushed by policymakers as one of the best ways to combat it. In Baltimore and Berlin, conversations with locals and experts reveal that recycling is not necessarily working as it should be on both sides of the Atlantic. 

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Prezel production in Cincinatti, Ohio © Valora

April 3, 2019
The Big Pond #22: The Story of the Brezn

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The pretzel, known as a “Brezel” or “Brezn” in German, is not an ordinary pastry. It has a century-old history full of myths and stories. Where did it come from? Why does it have this special shape that vaguely resembles a hug? And how come it’s doused in lye? In this episode of The Big Pond, we trace the pretzel’s story from its origins to today. 

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The City of Magdeburg © Jakob Lewis

March 27, 2019
The Big Pond #21: What’s a Sister City Really?

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In the historic city of Magdeburg, Germany, there is a “Johnny Cash”-themed country music festival called Nashville Days – complete with corn dogs and cowboy hats. This is one of the fruits of the sister city relationship between Nashville and Magdeburg. Our producer Jakob Lewis, a Nashville citizen, goes to Magdeburg to see where the rubber meets the road for Sister Cities' idealistic vision to “promote peace one individual, one community at a time.”

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Hessian Barracks in Maryland © Rob Sachs

March 20, 2019
The Big Pond #20: Hessian Barracks in Maryland

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It is estimated that 30,000 Hessian soldiers fought for the British during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Where did they come from and what happened to the survivors after losing to the US Army? For The Big Pond, Rob Sachs visits the Hessian Barracks in Frederick, Maryland to find out more.

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German bread © Iris Ollech

March 13, 2019
The Big Pond #19: German Bread – A Nourishing Craft

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Germany is internationally renowned for its bread. With its diversity of more than 3,000 varieties the Germans are world champions of bread. Since 2014, German bread culture is even an immaterial world cultural heritage, recognized by UNESCO. But the traditional baker's craft is threatened because there is a lack of new blood and competition from large-scale bakeries and cheap prebake stations.

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Wurstfest in New Braunfels © Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels

March 6, 2019
The Big Pond #18: German-Texan Heritage Societies

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Between 1820 and World War I, nearly six million Germans immigrated to the US – in 2017, only about 5,000 made the trip. If Germans aren’t coming to the US anymore, what will happen to the German-American heritage societies that try to keep German culture alive in the US? Our producer Berit Mason investigates in Texas.

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Detroit, MI © Frank Hofmann

February 27, 2019
The Big Pond #17: The Detroit-Berlin-Connection

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Dimitri Hegemann, the mastermind behind the Berlin nightclub Tresor, has been nurturing an artistic connection between Berlin and Detroit since the early nineties. Hegemann is trying to pay Detroit back for what its electronic music scene has done for Berlin – by converting former industrial spaces in Detroit into cultural hotspots.

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A Cup of Coffee © Nina Bohlmann

February 20, 2019
The Big Pond #16: Culture of Coffee

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Coffee is more than just a beverage – it can be a jumpstart to a day at work or a relaxing afternoon with friends. This episode explores the meaning of coffee across cultures, from Baltimore to Berlin, including a glimpse into the typically German tradition of “Kaffee und Kuchen”, or afternoon coffee and cake.

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Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Sélestat, Église Sainte-Foy, Verrière “Sainte-Hildegarde” du chœur (Ott Frères, 1892); Photo (excerpt) by Ralph Hammann via Wikimedia Commons; licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

February 6, 2019
The Big Pond #14: St. Hildegard of Bingen

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St. Hildegard of Bingen was a twelfth-century German nun – a writer, composer of chants, mystic and visionary. You might be asking yourself, “What on earth does a twelfth-century nun have to do with life today? What does medieval chanting have to do with music today?” It turns out, a lot.

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The Bonn Capitals present their Medals © Bonn Capitals, Schönenborn

February 13, 2019
The Big Pond #15: American Sports in Germany

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“German baseball” may sound like an oxymoron, but the Bonn Capitals have successfully maintained a leading position in the German baseball league for years. The Capitals’ success can be traced back to earlier times when Bonn was the capital of Germany and home to a large American community that popularized the sport.

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Grapes Image by milivanily on Pixabay

January 30, 2019
The Big Pond #13: German-style Wines in the US

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German entrepreneurs and winemakers have shaped the manufacturing of wine in the US for over a century. Join our producer Gary Lee on a tour of three US vineyards with surprisingly German roots to see the full scope of German influence on this industry in the US.

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Alexander Haus Courtesy Alexander Haus

January 23, 2019
The Big Pond #12: A House for Reconciliation

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Five families have lived at the Alexander-Haus on Groß Glienicker See over the past century – enduring fascism, war, the division of Germany, and the Fall of Communism. Now, the former family home has undergone yet another transition into an educational center.

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Germans on Harleys © Scott Carrier

January 16, 2019
The Big Pond #11: Germans on Harleys

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Every year, tourists from around the world flock to Southern Utah to take in the scenic landscape. Most travel by car, but some opt for a less traditional mode of transport. Ride along as our producer Scott Carrier accompanies a German motorcycle club on their trip through the Red Rock Canyons.

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Volunteers make about 4,000 dumplings for the annual Sour Beef dinner at the Zion Church of Baltimor © MelissaGerrMedia

January 9, 2019
The Big Pond #10: Faith, and a Side of Sour Beef

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Within the historic walls of Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland, you’re just as likely to hear a rousing polka band as sacred organ music. For more than 250 years, the congregation has remained dedicated to its German immigrant heritage, faith, and ministry. Now, they’re grappling to find the right balance that will carry Zion Church into the future.

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Leigh Hamilton © Janine Guldener

December 19, 2018
The Big Pond #09: A Singer’s Life

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Leigh Hamilton is a dramatic soprano who has been based in Germany for more than 17 years. This episode follows Leigh’s story, which takes her from small-town in Ohio to metropolitan Berlin where she now trains the next generation of singers for the rigors of the stage in her private voice studio. 

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Apprentice Jahi Taylor and his mentor Erik Smith © Rhoda Metcalfe

December 5, 2018
The Big Pond #08: German-style Apprenticeships in the US

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Driven by a critical lack of skilled technicians, a group of largely German-owned manufacturers in Chicago have launched a new apprenticeship program based on the German education model. This idea is now spreading to a number of American companies.

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Jürgen Klinsmann talking to Kerstin Zilm © SilverLakes

November 28, 2018
The Big Pond #07: Klinsmann in California

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He is a soccer legend in Germany as player and as coach: Jürgen Klinsmann. After leading the German national team to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup, he also coached the U.S. men’s soccer team from 2011 to 2016. But now, Klinsmann is anything but retired: In the summer of 2018, he created the SilverLakes Cup, an international youth soccer tournament in Southern California.

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Oktoberfest at “Zum Schneider” Courtesy “Zum Schneider”

November 21, 2018
The Big Pond #06: Suds and Stories

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Germany’s beer influence has spread around the world, and one of the epicenters of this trend is New York City. There are now more than two dozen beer gardens and halls in the city. And every year, Oktoberfest celebrations are held in all of the five boroughs, lasting several weeks. 

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Thomas Buergenthal and his parents © Thomas Buergenthal

November 14, 2018
The Big Pond #05: Thomas Buergenthal - A Lucky Child

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Thomas Buergenthal saw the Nazi concentration camps through a child’s eyes. Luckily, he survived and later became a lawyer and, eventually, a judge on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador. 

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Frances Schoenberger and John Lennon 1975 in New York © Bob Gruen

October 17, 2018
The Big Pond #02: A Day With John Lennon

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In 1975, the German journalist Frances Schoenberger interviewed John Lennon in New York, a dream gig for her – but this interview was never published. For The Big Pond, Schoenberger listens to the recordings again for the first time in more than 40 years, recalling what she calls the best day of her career.

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Marine A Grain Silo, Buffalo, NY © Alex van Oss

November 7, 2018
The Big Pond #04: The Colossi of Buffalo

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Buffalo, New York was once the world’s foremost grain port. More than a dozen enormous grain silos, awesome colossi made of wood, steel, and reinforced concrete, still attest to that fact. Their surreal quality fascinated European pioneers of modern architecture, including Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe. 

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Atlanta, GA Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

October 31, 2018
The Big Pond #03: Revitalizing Downtown Atlanta

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When Jake Nawrocki had the idea to revive the Southside of Atlanta’s downtown neighborhood – which could take up to 20 years – he had to find investors interested in a long-term commitment. He found a partner in Olaf Kunkat, a German real estate investor. 

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Migration © Chris Gash

October 3, 2018
The Big Pond #01: The Things We Brought

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​There are keepsakes that hold a story for each of us, things that we hold onto for our whole lives – a stitch, a book, a hat. In this episode, we hear three stories about mementos that immigrants brought to the U.S. from other countries and what they mean to their owners.

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Our Topics

Our topics are as diverse as Germany and the United States – there will be pieces on music, soccer, history, migration, food, travel, architecture, literature, and the environment. 

The common thread is a focus on the things that sometimes connect and sometimes divide us – like the big pond we call the Atlantic – with high quality journalism, thorough research, and a preference for unfamiliar stories, points of view, and curious topics.


Producers

For The Big Pond, we were able to acquire numerous producers from the US and from Germany: Both experienced contributors to well known podcasts such as This American Life or All Things Considered as well as newcoming producers who participated in the USA program of the Rias Berlin Kommission. All are connected by an interest for transatlantic topics that link Germany and the US.


Team

Verena Hütter

Commissioning Editor: Verena Hütter

Verena Hütter (verena.huetter@goethe.de) is the Goethe-Institut’s Director of Communications in North America and is responsible for journalistic and media projects. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany and in Bourges, France as well as German Studies. Before she came to Washington, DC in November 2016 she worked at the Goethe-Institut’s headquarters in Munich in their online editorial department.
   
Bill Gilcher

Co-Commissioning Editor: William Gilcher

William Gilcher (wgilcher at me.com) William Gilcher is a veteran of the Goethe-Institut’s engagement with electronic media projects in North America, having worked for 18 years with television, radio, and internet projects for the Goethe-Institut North America from his position in Washington. His background is in film production and film studies, specializing in US and European film criticism and history. After his retirement from the Goethe-Institut in 2011, he has worked on independent writing, editing, and production projects through Harmonia Band Communications, LLC. He serves as co-commimssioning editor for The Big Pond. 
   
Dario Radisic

Editor and Project Manager: Dario Radisic

Dario Radisic is the editor and project manager for The Big Pond. He is a cultural theorist and has been working as a freelance writer, editor, project manager and consultant in the cultural and public sector since 2008, working amongst others for the Goethe-Institut, the Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Second German Television) and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education).
   
Savannah Beck

Editor: Savannah Beck

Savannah Beck (savannah.beck@goethe.de) is the Online Editor at the Goethe-Institut Washington. She studied German, French, and International Studies at the University of Florida. She has been at the Goethe-Institut since April 2018 and is currently working on several projects for the Year of German-American Friendship including The Big Pond.
   
Flawn Williams © Victoria Moss

Technical Director: Flawn Williams

Flawn Williams is a media producer and field recordist who spent 30 years making programs for National Public Radio, including being Technical Director of “All Things Considered” and making numerous trips into remote parts of the world for NPR’s science/nature series “Radio Expeditions”. For the last ten years he’s been teaching audio production and music recording at Georgetown University. And he was a founding member of the “Hear Now” audio producers’ collective, which has had a long cooperative association with the Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC. He now handles podcast production for Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and several other series from his home base in Hyattsville, MD. 


 


Our Partners

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The Kitchen Sisters   Germanic-American Institute Logo WABE 90.1 Logo   Kristina, Kati, Kalifornia  


Developed within the scope of

Logo Wunderbar Together Logo Federal Foreign Office Logo Goethe-Institut Logo BDI