RS Live: Driving is Violence

Are you recycling, or ‘wishcycling’? We talk to Thomas Klöckner, spokesman for BSR, Berlin’s waste processing company. It turns out we’re all doing a pretty good job. But bulky waste is a problem. The solution for old mattresses? Talk to your neighbours and book a bulk collection for €50. Here’s where you do it:

Should we drive cars out of the city – and make sure they never return? Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain Green politician Florian Schmidt has proposed banning private vehicles inside the Ringbahn. Cars are being squeezed out of certain streets with ‘parklets’ – public seats occupying parking spots. Joel says “driving is violence” and “a bicycle is always right.” Agree? The local initiative Autofrei Wrangelkiez will blockade Oberbaumbrücke on June 15. More info here:

Shared transport keeps expanding. The city will get 2000 more shared cars, Uber has launched its red electric Jump bikes which go quite fast, and stand-up electric scooters will soon be on the streets. Those who want a bike to treat as their own can rent one from Swapfiets or Vanmoof from as little as €17.50 a month, repairs included. Who needs a car anyway?

The Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignung campaign has passed its first signature collection hurdle, and has centrist parties very worried. The FDP wants to change the constitution to prevent it. The CDU wants to pay subsidies to cover rent increases – basically rewarding greedy landlords with taxpayer money. The SPD wants to tinker with laws to make existing rent caps actually work. The lesson here? You have to demand an extreme change to get a moderate one.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Production help from Joshua of Mobile Kino.

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RS Live: Who Wins the EU Poster Contest?

Are you one of four million EU citizens living in Germany? Now’s your chance to vote in the European Parliament elections. We decipher the street posters. Maisie explains why photos of chin-scratching men win more votes. Joel asks how the SPD’s Katarina Barley intends to do two jobs worth €100,000 a year each at the same time. Konrad Werner joins us. Listen to his podcast Meghan’s Megacan:

We speak with Joanna Bronowicka from Democracy in Europe (Diem25), who want to reform Brussels and create a ‘green new deal’ for Europe:

Why are people lying down on Berlin’s streets and blocking traffic? Extinction Rebellion’s Robbie Morrison tells us about the movement of people willing to get arrested to force climate change action:

Berlin has over 300 football clubs playing in ten leagues. We talk to Ben Ferry, Andy West and Andy Sager of Bloody Hell Magazine. They follow local games, which are far more exciting than major league matches: more red cards, pitch invasions, streakers and decent food. Want to join other Radio Spaetkauf listeners at a local match? Come along to SV Lichtenberg 47 club, 13:30 on 04.05.2019:

Head along to Mobile Kino on May 9 for Blaues Licht, a doco about Rocco and His Brothers, who carry out art stunts in U-Bahn tunnels:

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RS Presents: Well, Actually

RS presents a pilot of a podcast series created by Joel Dullroy and his colleagues at DW. Well, Actually questions common assumptions and reveals surprising perspectives through exceptional stories.

Unfortunately this podcast series did not make it past the pilot stage. But we thought the story of Lukas and his struggle with the church, state and his mother was too good to waste.

Well Actually was produced by Elizabeth Schumacher, Mara Bierbach, Cristina Burack and Joel Dullroy at DW, Germany’s international broadcaster.

Find the episode on Itunes Apple Podcasts here.

RS Live: Clean Up Schönleinstraße

Why does the BVG allow its U-Bahn stations to be used as heroin hotspots? Several stations seem to have been abandoned to drug dealers and addicts. Schönleinstraße is the centre of the problem. The BVG says it sends security guards there regularly, but we’ve rarely seen them. What’s to be done?

Forget Brexit, things are getting interesting in Berlin! The conflict between renters and landlords is getting serious. A campaign to seize corporate-owned apartments starts on April 6. Signatures will be collected for the Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignung campaign. Supporters say it would cost €18 billion, and could be funded by rental payments alone. Opponents say would cost double. The mayor Michael Müller is against it, saying it would be a “fatal signal to businesses” – which, of course, is the whole point of the campaign. Find out more at

Lawyer Daniel Halmer from Wenigermiete joins us to talk about how he’s helping Berliners cut their rent by hundreds of euros a month. His website helps you check if your rent is above the legally allowed amount, and helps you challenge it to claim a reduction. In one case, a student WG had their rent cut by €700 a month. Check it out at

What’s wrong with Harz IV, Germany’s welfare system? It spends more money trying to punish job-seekers than it collects in fines. Helena Steinhaus from Sanktionsfrei tells us about a citizen-run experiment to compensate people who have their welfare payments cut. It seeks to replicate the effect of a minimum basic income. Sakntionsfrei needs more crowdfunding to help cover their costs. Chip in at

Meet Izzy and Pip from Sistrionics, a Berlin-based podcast about “feminism, the defeat of patriachy, pregnancy and the many reasons we hate Brexit.” They tell us about Germany’s less-than-progressive approach to abortion. Listen to their show on Soundcloud and Itunes.

The European Parliament elections are coming up on May 23. To participate you need to be an EU citizen and register to vote in Berlin. Download this form:
And take it to one of these addresses:

Mobile Kino tonight presents Odorama a cult cinema classic from legendary culture master John Waters. Guests will get a scratch-and-sniff to smell along with the movie. Get along to Grießmühle tonight – April 1, 2019!

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BVG Hearts Graffiti

Berlin is a noisy city, and it’s getting louder. Stats show police cars activated their lights and sirens 158,000 times last year – or more than 400 times a day. That’s a 5% increase on the previous year.

The famous open-air karaoke sessions in Mauerpark can go ahead again after the Pankow authorities reversed their plan to close the event down. Authorities were refusing to issue the regular permits due to nearby construction work. After a public outcry, the authorities backed down. Apparently it wasn’t so hard to move a few fences around after all. Expect the singing to resume sometime around Easter.

The BVG says more than 41,000 square meters of its U-Bahn carriage walls were graffitied last year – 20% more than the previous year. They plan to stick yellow heart stickers on top of graffiti to annoy the vandals.

Our next live show is Sunday March 31 at Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. Come along! More info here:

This episode was presented by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

RS Live: Data and Mythos of Berlin

What do Berlin’s criminal gangs have to do with the German hip-hop industry? One high profile rapper is living in fear of retribution from a Berlin mafia boss. Our guest Konrad Werner tells us about a recent court case involving rapper Bushido, who has switched gang allegiances. Listen to his own podcast Meghan’s Megacan:

Why did BVG workers go on strike? Berlin U-Bahn drivers earn around 500 euros less per month than drivers in other German states. And here in Berlin, the S-Bahn drivers earn almost 40 percent more than U-Bahn drivers – that’s over 900 euros a month extra. If you think it’s fair enough, don’t complain the next time the BVG is on strike.

Berlin city collects a lot of data, but doesn’t give much back. For example, They don’t release detailed stats on traffic accidents, which could help planners identify problem spots. Victoria Dykes from the Technologie Stiftung Berlin wants the city to release data and allow others to use it creatively. More at

Haus der Statistik is a giant ruin sitting at the start of Karl Marx Allee near Alexanderplatz. Soon it will be transformed into a public space with art studios, low-cost living and city government offices. We talk to Clemens Weise from the citizen’s initiative helping to plan the new building. More at

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RS Live: Finally a Fireworks Ban?

Are you one of the 34% of Berliners who enjoy the fireworks free-for-all on New Years Eve? Or one of the 62% who are sick of it? Local Green party politician Georg Kössler says it’s time Berlin regulated the mayhem. He tells us how city’s political system has failed to tackle this annual problem.

Guest Konrad Werner drops in to tell us what’s coming up in German politics in 2019. Three state elections will test Angela Merkel’s ability to stay in power. Listen to his podcast Meghan’s Megacan for more:

What’s it like to live for almost a year with none of your possessions involuntarily? Tim and Brooke Howard moved to Berlin many months ago, and are still waiting for a shipping company to deliver their goods. They’ve discovered minimalism and curtain-free nudity. Tim is a producer for the podcast Reply All, and is scouting for story ideas. Got a tech problem? Send it his way!

Berlin-based shows are currently flooding Netflix and Co. Joel, Maisie and Dan give shallow summaries of Dogs of Berlin, Babylon Berlin and Beat.

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RS Live: Revolution by Referendum

Coliving is booming in Berlin. There are 15 buildings renting serviced rooms with ‘community, flexibility and diversity.’ But are they just overpriced dormitories? Maisie Hitchcock went to find out.

Can we solve the housing crisis by seizing property from private owners? One group is promoting revolution via referendum. We hear from Thomas McGath from Deutsche Wohnung Enteignen. It wants the government to forcibly purchase over 110,000 flats currently owned by large property corporations.

At the same time, residents in Karl Marx Allee are campaigning to save their flats, which are about to be purchased by Deutsche Wohnung, Germany’s biggest property investment company. The city is considering a plan to use the right of first purchase to prevent the deal.

Are you being tricked into watching far-right propaganda? A Berlin computer researcher says yes. Ray Serrato has analysed videos from the Chemnitz hate marches and thinks Youtube is click-baiting everyone.

Dan hosts a Berlin news quiz. Do you know the name of the city’s mayor? Can you guess which U-Bahn stop has the most expensive rents? Which company has a logo featuring three phalluses?

Thanks for listening in 2018!

Keep Berlin Colourful

Billboards have gone up encouraging people to voluntarily leave Germany. The Interior Ministry – run by the CSU’s Horst Seehofer – is offering to pay up to twelve months living expenses back where you came from. The multi-lingual ads have been attacked with paintballs and ‘refugees welcome’ tags. Dan’s take: freedom of movement is good, especially if paid for by the German state, but only if it goes in both directions.

It’s Christmas market season. Festive lights have gone up along Unter den Linden, paid for by Lidl. But the city’s heritage protection department says they are too multi-coloured. Are only white lights allowed now in Berlin?

Berlin will get a new public holiday in 2019 – May 8, also International Women’s Day. It means seven of ten public holidays will occur in the first half of the year.

Come to our next live recording on Sunday December 16. Check our website for location details.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.
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RS Live: The Ampelmann Strikes Back

Pedestrians in Berlin have had enough of being overrun by both cars and bikes. They’re campaigning for better sidewalks and street crossings. We talk to a pedestrian activist who is hopping mad about being walked over: Roland Stimpel from FUSS, the Organization for Pedestrian Protection.

Is Mauerpark a beloved cultural hotspot or a noisy nuisance? Authorities are threatening to seize and destroy instruments if buskers don’t pipe down. We meet Karla from Save Mauerpark, who says only a handful of complainants are trying to limit the freedom of thousands of Berliners.

Diesel vehicles could soon be banned from several main streets in Berlin. An environmental protection group sued the city because of the high levels of pollution that breach European Union regulations. A court found Berlin must take drastic action to lower particle emissions. But Angela Merkel’s coalition is taking the side of the auto industry and trying to avoid diesel bans.

The BVG’s public taxi app Berlkönig is now operating 24/7 and expanding to 300 vans, but is anyone using it? Meanwhile, the BVG is abandoning part of the 248 bus line because it is sick of illegally parked cars blocking the route.

Freelancers’ minimum health insurance payments should drop from over €300 to around €160 a month. That’s thanks to years of activism by the VGSD, a freelancer’s lobby group. But compulsory pension payments could eventually come into force. Joel recommends talking to the people at SmartDE freelancers’ cooperative to get a better deal.

German doorbell names could breach Europe’s new data privacy laws. Landlords are being warned they could be sued for publishing their tenants’ names on the front door, and some are replacing names with numbers. Could this improve packet delivery, at least?

This show was recorded at Prachtwerk Neukölln on Sunday October 28 by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Apologies for the poor audio quality!