Quick access:
Go directly to content (Alt 1)Go directly to second-level navigation (Alt 3)Go directly to first-level navigation (Alt 2)
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:
Press and Broadcasters

Subscribe to The Big Pond

 


Latest episode

Sonja Schrepfer and Tobias Deuse © Noah Berger/for UCSF

August 21, 2019
The Big Pond #42: Heart in Space – German Scientists and NASA

Audio wird geladen
Since 2016, the German scientist Sonja Schrepfer and her husband Tobias Deuse have led the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology Lab at the University of California in San Francisco and the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf. It is funded by NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Our producer Iris Völlnagel reports on their contribution to space travel.

More


Recently aired

Cyclist in Berlin Photo by Morgana Bartolomei on Unsplash

August 14, 2019
The Big Pond #41: Enjoy the Ride – About Bicycling

Audio wird geladen
In these times of increased awareness of environmental protection, the bicycle is on the rise again. In Germany, especially medium-sized cities such as Freiburg are aiming to create an infrastructure that encourages bicycling among their citizens. Our producer Anne-Rose Heck investigates the current developments for this episode of The Big Pond.

More

Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles © Aaron Perez, courtesy of VATMH

August 7, 2019
The Big Pond #40: Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles

Audio wird geladen
During the Nazi regime, many German artists, scientists, and other intellectuals found refuge in Southern California. The authors Lion Feuchtwanger and Thomas Mann were two of the most prominent “exiles in paradise”. Producer Kerstin Zilm takes us on a trip to their former homes in Los Angeles – the Villa Aurora and the Thomas Mann House – both of which have been rededicated to transatlantic dialogue.

More

Quietude © Bilal Qureshi

July 31, 2019
The Big Pond #39: Quietude – In Search of Radio Silence

Audio wird geladen
In this radio travelogue, culture writer and journalist Bilal Qureshi explores Germany’s capital Berlin to find out about local origins, regulations, and daily rituals of silence. To his ears, German “Stille” sounds and feels more present than the pulsating noise of US-American cities – and this episode of The Big Pond is a personal quest to understand why. 

More

People picnic on the rocky heights that overlook Harpers Ferry in Maryland, 1962 © Volkmar Wentzel, NG Image Collection

July 24, 2019
The Big Pond #38: Seeing in the Dark – Volkmar Wentzel’s Photography

Audio wird geladen
In this episode, producer Katie Davis profiles German-American photographer Volkmar Wentzel who was born in Dresden, Germany in 1915 before moving to the US with his family in 1926. He grew up in Upstate New York, relocating to Washington, DC shortly after. In DC, he was hired by National Geographic and became one of their legendary field men who traveled and photographed the world. 

More

Bauhaus © Verónica Zaragovia

July 17, 2019
The Big Pond #37: 100 Years of the Bauhaus

Audio wird geladen
The Bauhaus school of art, architecture and design was founded in 1919, lasting only 14 years before the Nazis forced it to close its doors in 1933. Yet, the Bauhaus and its founding members continue to have a profound impact on the world of design, construction and building, making it one of the most influential schools to date.

More

Plane at Tempelhof © Monika Müller-Kroll

July 10, 2019
The Big Pond #36: Luftbrücke – 70 Years of Memories

Audio wird geladen
On June 24, 1948, the Soviet military administration officially cut off roads and rails into West Berlin in the Berlin Blockade, isolating it from the rest of West Germany. In this episode of The Big Pond, KCRW Berlin reflects on the Berlin Airlift, a massive multinational effort to bring vital supplies to West Berliners via plane during the blockade. To tell this story, producers Monika, Nikki, and Sylvia interview some of those who experienced it firsthand. 

More

Libraries Alex van Oss © Alex van Oss

July 4, 2019
The Big Pond #35: The Library and the Book

Audio wird geladen
German and American libraries have influenced each other’s development tremendously over the last few centuries. These days, institutions in both countries are faced with challenges brought on by rapid shifts in technology. Experts address the threat that technology poses and weigh in on the future of the library in the era of digitization.

More

Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, Texas Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg

June 19, 2019
The Big Pond #33: Texas German – Auf Wiedersehen to a Dialect

Audio wird geladen
America is a country of immigrants. Most people know that Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the US besides English, but there’s more than just Spanish here – German immigrants helped found this country. In some parts of Texas, their culture and language still live on… But probably not for much longer. This funny-sounding dialect, a mixture of Texan English and German from the immigrants who settled here in the mid-1800s, is slowly dying out.

More

Jakob Lewis in front of his parents' former apartment in Wölfersheim © Catherine Lewis

June 26, 2019
The Big Pond #34: Finding My Parents

Audio wird geladen
Producer Jakob Lewis was born in a military hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. Jakob grew up hearing stories about his parents’ time in Germany during their early 20s, but Jakob doesn’t remember any of it – he left when he was six months old and he hasn’t been back since. For this episode, Jakob and his wife, Catherine, set out on a journey to retrace his parents’ footsteps.

More

Black Forest Cake © Nikki Out West

June 12, 2019
The Big Pond #32: Getting to Know the Gateau

Audio wird geladen
Although it’s not certain who first wrote the recipe, the Black Forest cake has been fully embraced by the Black Forest community as an essential aspect of their cultural identity. On a quest to understand just how this confectionery classic came to be, producer Kate Sammer journeys to its namesake, the Black Forest. There, she speaks with local experts about the region’s history, the cake’s origins, and the significance it holds for the community and their ancestors.

More

Ringbahn Treptowerpark © Ama Split and Riky Kiwy

June 5, 2019
The Big Pond #31: The Berlin Ringbahn

Audio wird geladen
Hop on board Berlin’s Ringbahn, a suburban train that carries over 400,000 passengers each day and circles some of the city’s most authentic and lively neighborhoods. Producer trio Monika Müller-Kroll, Sylvia Cunningham, and Nikki Motson dedicate a day to riding the Ringbahn around the city. During their trip, they interview an array of Berliners entering and exiting at the train’s 27 stops, each station an entry into one of Berlin’s distinct districts.

More 

Milwaukee German Fest Photo Courtesy of German Fest Milwaukee, Inc.

May 29, 2019
The Big Pond #30: Milwaukee’s German Heritage

Audio wird geladen
Milwaukee has been called the most German city in America – already in the 1840s, large numbers of Germans who were fleeing wars in Europe began settling in the city. In this episode of The Big Pond, our producer Carole Zimmer explores the experience of these first-generation German immigrants and looks at how the city has changed for younger generations and the way that they relate to German culture. 

More

Dieter Kosslick Red Carpet © dpa

May 22, 2019
The Big Pond #29: Dieter Kosslick’s Last Red Carpet Ride

Audio wird geladen
Dieter Kosslick is one of the film world’s best-known film festival directors. He’s put his stamp on the Berlin International Film Festival for the past 18 years, and the 69th edition of the festival in 2019 was his last. For The Big Pond, The Kitchen Sisters talk to Dieter Kosslick and many of the people he collaborated with over the years, resulting in a career-spanning profile. 

More

MIETENmove!-Demonstration in Hamburg Photo by Rasande Tyskar on flickr licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.0

May 15, 2019
The Big Pond #28: Exploding Rents in San Francisco and in Berlin

Audio wird geladen
Rents in San Francisco have exploded in recent years; by now, the metropolis in Northern California has overtaken New York as the most expensive city in the US. In Germany’s capital Berlin, the issue of affordable housing is also a hot topic – some are even suggesting dispossessing companies owning more than 3,000 apartments.

More

The Big Pond #27: Welcome to Motherland © Melissa Gerr

May 8, 2019
The Big Pond #27: Welcome to Motherland

Audio wird geladen
Three women, two countries, one shared experience: motherhood. From giving birth to receiving support – our producer Melissa Gerr looks at the role and expectations of being a mother in the US and in Germany, revealing some startling differences. 

More

A Box of Berger Cookies © Katie Marquette

May 1, 2019
The Big Pond #26: No Restraint – Berger Cookies and the City of Baltimore

Audio wird geladen
Over 200 years ago, German immigrant Henry Berger opened a bakery in East Baltimore – and since that day, Berger Cookies have been handmade in the city of Baltimore. Our producer Katie Marquette investigates this special, “unrestrained” cookie.

More

Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Center, library of the Humboldt University in Berlin Photo: Bernhard Ludewig

April 24, 2019
The Big Pond #25: US-American Students in German Universities

Audio wird geladen
For some US students, escalating costs are putting college out of reach – whereas in Germany higher education is considered a right, tuition is normally even free. Meanwhile, German Universities are also creating degree programs entirely in English, thus eliminating the language barrier. For these reasons and others, Germany recently surpassed China, becoming a top-five destination for US-American students.

More

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Recycling © Nina Bohlmann

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

Audio wird geladen
Like 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 either side of the Atlantic. 

More

Prezel production in Cincinatti, Ohio © Valora

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

The City of Magdeburg © Jakob Lewis

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

Audio wird geladen
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.”

More

Bread Nikki Out West © Nikki Out West

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

Audio wird geladen
Germany is internationally renowned for its bread. With more than 3,000 varieties of bread, the Germans are world champions. 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.

More

Hessian Barracks in Maryland © Rob Sachs

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Wurstfest in New Braunfels © Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Detroit, MI © Frank Hofmann

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

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

More

A Cup of Coffee © Nina Bohlmann

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

The Bonn Capitals present their Medals © Bonn Capitals, Schönenborn

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

Audio wird geladen
“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.

More

Grapes Image by milivanily on Pixabay

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Alexander Haus Courtesy Alexander Haus

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Germans on Harleys © Scott Carrier

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Leigh Hamilton © Janine Guldener

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

Apprentice Jahi Taylor and his mentor Erik Smith © Rhoda Metcalfe

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

Jürgen Klinsmann talking to Kerstin Zilm © SilverLakes

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

Audio wird geladen
Jürgen Klinsmann is a soccer legend in Germany, as a player and a coach. After leading the German national team to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup, he coached the US 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.

More

Oktoberfest at “Zum Schneider” Courtesy “Zum Schneider”

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

Thomas Buergenthal and his parents © Thomas Buergenthal

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

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

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

Audio wird geladen
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.

More

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

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

Atlanta, GA Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

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

Audio wird geladen
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. 

More

Migration © Chris Gash

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

Audio wird geladen
​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.

More


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

Logo der RIAS BERLIN KOMMISSION   Logo KCRW Berlin   PRX-Logo

The Kitchen Sisters   WPFW WABE 90.1 Logo   

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V.   Germanic-American Institute Logo   Kristina, Kati, Kalifornia  


Developed within the scope of

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

Top