RS Live: Berlin’s Weed Economy

rs live jan 22 long

How big is Berlin’s marijuana market? We interview podcaster Diane Arapovich who investigated the weed economy and found Berlin is the greenhouse of northern Europe, supplying even Amsterdam. Listen to her full German language podcast Die Stadt und Das Gras for more.

Was it fair for Andrej Holm to be fired from Humboldt University, just days after resigning under pressure because of his brief Stasi past? Joel and guest Konrad Werner think not. The academic has spent his adult life fighting to make housing affordable for poor people, a career that surely redeems his youthful error.

This year marks the end of an era at Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre. Long-time intendant Frank Castorf will be replaced by Tate Modern director Chris Dercon. Konrad Werner explains why the Berlin theatre scene is upset over the switch. You’ve got until summer to get along to Volksbühne and catch one of the last Castorf productions.

Radio Spaetkauf needs your support! We’re asking our audience to donate at least one euro a month to help us bring you more local Berlin news.

Thanks to Mobile Kino for giving us free movies. Check out their Xavier Dolan program.

This episode was recorded live at the Comedy Cafe Berlin on January 22, 2017.

Hosts: Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Thanks to Joshua James Alas and Julian Beerbaum for support.

Stasi Need Not Apply

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Berlin’s R2G coalition is in crisis after the mayor Michael Müller (SPD) forced the resignation of Andrej Holm, who had been picked by Die Linke as the city’s housing secretary. The sociologist was a controversial choice due to his radical anti-investor ideas, and also because when he was 18 years old he trained to become an officer for the Stasi, the secret police of East Germany. Holm has also now been fired from Humboldt University for failing to fully declare his Stasi past. Was it fair? Listen to our next live recording for a full discussion.

The KaDeWe department store has been robbed yet again. On January 14 axe-wielding bandits broke through the doors, smashed glass cabinets and stole jewelry. In robbers held up KaDeWe during opening hours and sprayed teargas as they stole €800,000 worth of expensive watches. And in 2009, burglars broke in and stole jewelry worth €2 million. Evidence from a dropped glove led to the arrest of a pair of twins, but neither could convicted as their DNA was too similar.

Police discovered the dismembered body of a 90-year old pensioner in the freezer of his apartment in Prenzlauer Berg. The body had been there for ten years. The neighbours said that they complained about a smell coming from the flat, but were ignored by both the building manager and the police. A man has been charged with the pensioner’s murder. It’s alleged he was making withdrawals from this bank account the whole time.

Come along to our show on Sunday January 22, 6pm at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln.

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Jöran Mandik, and brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

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Bring Out Your Dead Trees

Radio Spaetkauf - the Berlin podcast

The new year started in Berlin with 16 people hospitalized from fireworks injuries. The number of emergency calls was down by 12%. If you think Berlin was chaotic, in Paris more than 650 cars were set on fire.

Last month video footage of a man kicking a woman in an U-Bahn station led to a suspect’s arrest. Since then police have been releasing a steady stream of images from attacks and robberies. Previously, they were reluctant to do so for privacy and legal reasons. Even the mayor Michael Müller has changed his mind about video surveillance. He says he’s now open to more cameras in public places.

The BSR will be collecting old Christmas trees from January 7 until January 20. In case you’re wondering what happens to old trees, they get used as biofuel to power the city, and are given to elephants at the zoo to eat. You can find a full list of pick-up dates for each district here:

Come along to our next live show on Sunday January 22, 6pm, at the Comedy Cafe Berlin!

This show was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.


Keep Calm and Drink Gluhwein

Following the terrible Christmas market truck incident at Breitscheidplatz, all other markets were told to keep their music down. Does staying quiet actually achieve anything? We’re going to carry on enjoying Gluhwein rather than respond with fear.

What’s changing in Berlin in 2017? We’ll get an extra public holiday, pay more for public transport, and get a small raise in hourly rates – unless you’re a freelancer.

Looking for something to do over the Christmas break? Why not volunteer at a refugee shelter. Find one near you at

Thanks for listening to Radio Spaetkauf in 2016! This episode is presented by Joel Dullroy and Maisie Hitchcock, and is brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Radio Spaetkauf - Berlin's English Podcast

Live: Catching the U-Bahn Kicker

Should a man who once trained with the Stasi be allowed to run Berlin’s housing department? Professor Andrej Holm has been named city secretary for housing. He’s been the most vocal critic of the city’s policies for many years, and advocates high taxation on real estate speculation. His critics say he shouldn’t have such an important job because in 1989 he joined a Stasi training academy. His supporters say a person’s mistake as an 18 year old shouldn’t affect them 26 years later.

Should the city install more security cameras, after that terrible kicking attack in an U-bahn station? Berlin was shocked by a video showing a man kicking a woman in the back, sending her flying down the stairs of the Hermannstrasse U-Bahn station. The man was caught on a bus after being recognized by a passenger. The new R2G has promised to reduce the number of surveillance cameras in public places.

And should the city take free money to rebuild an imperial monument? The federal government wants to give Berlin €18.5M to rebuild the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial. Why not build something new instead?

Want to protect your data while using the BVG’s free WiFi network (or any other)? Join our guest Adam Burns at a Cryptoparty:

It’s cold out. If you see someone on the street in danger of freezing, call the Kaltbus on 0178 523 58 38.

Become a Radio Spaetkauf supporter! Donate just €1, €5 or €10 a month to help us bring you the news. Go to and click “Donate.”

This episode was recorded at Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday December 18. It was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Thanks to Katharina Bille for video work, and Joshua Alas from Mobile Kino for sound.


Berlin’s Industrial Snowstorm

Berlin still has an estimated 3000 unexploded WWII bombs under the surface. One of them was discovered this week between Neukölln and Treptow, causing the evacuation of 2600 residents.

The city also has a lot of people in jail for not paying their public transport fines. In fact, almost 10 percent of the city’s 4100 inmates are there for dodging train fares. Now the new justice senator, Dirk Behrend from the Greens, plans to roll back the policy of jailing so-called “Schwarzfahrer”. He wants to let them do community service instead.

Michael Müller has been sworn in as Berlin’s mayor for a second term as head of the R2G coalition. But it hasn’t been the best week for the returning mayor. His top aide, Björn Böhning from the SPD, is being investigated for alleged corruption. The controversy is about a report written by the consulting company McKinsey into the city’s refugee situation in 2015. McKinsey originally said this would be done pro bono. But later Mr. Böhning authorized a payment of €237,000 to the consultants, one of whom was a former SPD party secretary. The mayor is supporting Mr. Böhning. The investigation continues.

Residents of Neukölln and Wedding awoke this week to the first snow of the season. Meteorologists said the fine layer of white snow actually came from the city’s fossil fuel-fired power plants. Steam from the plants crystalized in the cold foggy air and fell to earth. They’re calling it “Industrieschnee.”

Our next live show is on Sunday December 18 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin. Come along!

This episode of Radio Spaetkauf was presented by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and was brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Don’t Eat The Swans

Berlin’s bird flu outbreak keeps getting worse. Now residents near the central waterways are being told to keep their pets inside – even cats.

The petition to keep Tegel Airport airport has progressed to the next phase. The supporters could trigger a referendum if they collect enough signatures by March.

Radio Spaetkauf’s next live show is on Sunday December 18, 6pm, at the Comedy Cafe Berlin.

This short update was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and is brought to you by radioeins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Thanks Berlin! 5th Anniversary Special

While the rest of the world votes for crazy leaders and dumb ideas, Berlin’s new coalition has just announced an amazing social program that makes this city even better. On this special 5th anniversary recording of Radio Spaetkauf, we remind ourselves why we came to Berlin, and why we plan to stay.

There’s plenty to talk about in the new red-red-green (R2G) coalition agreement, including more social housing, less automobiles and better bicycle infrastructure, but sadly no maglev to the airport.

How will Berlin pay for it all? Our special guest Konrad Werner defends the government’s plan to take on more debt to upgrade schools and hire more public servants.
Also, we welcome Craig Schuftan, who together with his band Ducks! and musician Ray Mann created Radio Spaetkauf’s new jingle.

Radio Spaetkauf is hosted by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern.

New Radio Spaetkauf series for RadioEins

Radio Spaetkauf RadioEins Berlin Podcast

Radio Spaetkauf is thrilled to announce the launch of a new podcast series produced together with RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster. Every two weeks we’ll release a short snappy update of local Berlin news headlines. The shows will be released on the RadioEins website and iTunes channels, as well as our own feeds.

The short updates will be fast, entertaining and informative, with a mix of news headlines and our own observations. They are recorded in the RadioEins studio inside Kino Babylon in Mitte, which has great sound quality (and a fantastic green screen backdrop).

In addition, we’ll still be presenting our monthly hour-long live show, recorded at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. The full-length episodes will feature a full cast of hosts and guests with in-depth discussions about local Berlin news.

RadioEins is Berlin’s main public radio station, presenting a mix of current affairs, music, news and entertainment on the FM frequency 95.8, as well as online. RadioEins is part of the RBB (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) network.

The partnership with RadioEins comes is perfectly timed. November 2016 marks Radio Spaetkauf’s fifth anniversary. The show is now presented by a cast including Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Daniel Stern and Jöran Mandik.

On this first episode for RadioEins, Joel and Dan talk about how Berlin’s new “red-red-green” coalition between the SPD, Die Grünen and Die Linke plan to change the city. Their coalition talks include closing Unter den Linden to most vehicle traffic, and building several new tram lines across the city. The incoming coalition also plans to end the crackdown on marijuana in Görlitzer Park, and perhaps even introduce legal medical weed apothekes.

This first RadioEins Radio Spaetkauf short features a brand new set of jingles created by Berlin electronic duo Ducks!, made up of Lani Bagley and Craig Schuftan. You’ll be hearing more of their sounds across future episodes.

To hear more local news, and to help us celebrate both our partnership with RadioEins and our 5th anniversary, come along to the next live recording of the hour-long Radio Spaetkauf monthly show on Sunday November 20, 6pm, at the Comedy Cafe Berlin on Weserstraße, Neukölln.

Here’s the first show…

RS Update Oct 29: No one’s in charge

Berlin still has no official governing coalition, as the SPD, Die Linke and Die Grünen drag on their negotiations.

Public transport ticket prices for 2017 have been announced, and they’re going up again, despite the BVG pulling in a record profit.

Come along to Radio Spaetkauf’s next live show on November 20 at Comedy Cafe Berlin.

And stay tuned for a very special new project. Radio Spaetkauf is teaming up with RadioEins to produce a bi-monthly short news update!