In cooperation with radio stations and independent producers in the US and Germany, the Goethe-Institut has created the transatlantic podcast THE BIG PONDER. We invite listeners to reflect on abstract ideas and phenomena through hyper-local stories. Each topic will be explored from a transatlantic perspective: do the US and Germany share the same values? What divides us? What unites us?   

In addition to sharing our passion for great storytelling, THE BIG PONDER hopes to further strengthen the transatlantic network of journalists and podcasters through our close collaboration with radio stations and partners on both sides of the pond. We are especially thankful for the support from our friends at the Bertelsmann Foundation, RBB Kultur, and the RIAS Berlin Kommission. 

New episodes are released every other week on this website and your favorite podcast apps. For more information, visit How to Listen. We also teamed up with Public Radio Exchange (PRX) to make our episodes available to radio stations for broadcast in the US.

Stay Up to Date

Join the conversation by posting with the hashtag #TheBigPonder. Can’t get enough German-American friendship? Follow the Goethe-Institut Washington on social media:
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Do you have questions? Want to tell us about your favorite episode? We’d love to hear from you: Savannah.Beck@goethe.de


Sylvia Cunningham Photo (detail): © Sylvia Cunningham Sylvia Cunningham

moved to Germany from New York City in 2017 and has been making radio in Berlin ever since.
Sylvia’s episodes: I Love You, I Hate YouLittle America Revisited

Portrait of Katie Davis © Darrow Montgomery Katie Davis

is a writer and producer living in Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life
Katie’s episode: Anatomy of an Apology

Jakob Lewis © Jakob Lewis Jakob Lewis

is an award-winning producer and creative director of Great Feeling Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jakob’s episode: The Garden

Monika Müller-Kroll Photo (detail): © Monika Müller-Kroll Monika Müller-Kroll 

has lived around the world, producing radio stories for German public radio networks. She is currently an editor and radio producer in Berlin.
Monika’s episodes: I Love You, I Hate YouLittle America Revisited

Bilal Qureshi © Bilal Qureshi Bilal Qureshi 

is a radio journalist and culture writer whose work has appeared on NPR and in The New York TimesThe Washington PostNewsweek, and Film Quarterly.
Bilal’s episode: Radio Wanderlust

Jocelyn Robinson © Jocelyn Robinson Jocelyn Robinson 

is an educator, independent producer, and radio preservationist based in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Find out more about her work on her website.
Jocelyn’s episode: The Flag


Verena Hütter Photo (detail): © Kopf & Kragen Verena Hütter

works out of Washington, D.C. as the director of communications for the Goethe-Institut in North America. Before that, she lived in Munich, Germany. Follow her on Instagram at ead.weard.

Savannah Beck Photo (detail): © Savannah Beck Savannah Beck

is the online editor at the Goethe-Institut Washington. She’s originally from Florida, but spent a year abroad in Essen, Germany during high school. Follow her on Instagram at slo_beck.

Jenny Marrenbach Photo (detail): © Oliver Wolff Jenny Marrenbach

is a radiomaker and editor from Berlin, Germany. Her first experience in the US was as a 16-year-old exchange student in North Dakota. She’s producing the German version of the THE BIG PONDER for RBB Kultur.

William Gilcher Photo (detail): © William Gilcher William Gilcher

worked on electronic media projects for the Goethe-Institut Washington for years. He lives in Maryland and is the founder of Harmonia Band Communications LLC. He edits the English-language episodes of THE BIG PONDER.

Dario Radisic Photo (detail): © Dario Radisic Dario Radisic

specializes in cultural studies and works in Berlin as a freelance author, editor, and project manager. He looks after the website and coordinates the distribution of the THE BIG PONDER.

Nicola Hofstetter Photo (detail): © Nicola Hofstetter Nicola Hofstetter

is originally from Munich, but now lives in Virginia with her German-American family. She is responsible for social media and digital communications at the Goethe-Institut Washington. Find out more at nikkioutwest.com.

Flawn Williams Photo (detail): © Victoria Moss Flawn Williams

is the technical director of THE BIG PONDER. Flawn spent decades making programs for NPR and teaching audio journalism and music recording at Georgetown University. He lives in Maryland.

Yassine El Mansouri Photo (detail): © Yassine El Mansouri Yassine El Mansouri

is a photographer and visual artist. Originally from Morocco, he studied in Casablanca before moving to Washington, D.C. He contributes photos to THE BIG PONDER. Follow him on Instagram at elmanstudio.

Our Partners

Bertelsmann Foundation Logo The Bertelsmann Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to a strong and lasting transatlantic relationship.
RBB Kultur Logo rbbKultur is part of the Radio Berlin Brandenburg, a national public broadcasting station for the German states of Berlin and Brandenburg. They’re producing the German-language episodes of THE BIG PONDER.
Wunderbar Together Logo Wunderbar Together is an initiative by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut. The goal is to enable a transatlantic dialogue through a wide array of German-American events.
RIAS Berlin Kommission Logo RIAS Berlin Kommission is a transatlantic exchange program for broadcast journalists from the US and Germany that was founded in 1992. Today, there are over 1,800 alumni of the program.