How To Fuck Up An Airport #5: Crash Take-Off

Every Berliner knows the new airport is about to open. But few know about the disasters that could happen next. We’re here to explain. Masie, Joel and Jöran take part in a test of the new terminal and find it functional, if a bit dull.

We meet the only hero in the BER saga – Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the airport’s fourth CEO, and the one who finally finished the job. He’s a bureaucratic nerd who visited the building site on weekends to check on progress. And he has a penchant for prose when talking about his airport: “In the evenings, when the sun disappears behind the horizon, or when airplanes with their landing lights are touching down at Schönefeld… I don’t want to call it romantic, but there are special moments.”

But just as BER was turning the corner, COVID-19 has slashed air traffic by 70% and put a huge hole in an already shaky budget. Critics say the pandemic is masking a passenger capacity crunch. Can the airport really handle all of Berlin’s travellers? We’ll only know after the crisis.

How will BER pay the bills? We talk to business professor Hans Georg Gemünden from the Techniches Universität, who says the airport company has used accounting tricks to hide serious financial problems, and predicts it will go bankrupt in several years.

Should BER open at all? Environmental activists from Am Boden Blieben (Stay On The Ground) will blockade the airport to protest unnecessary air travel. They propose a frequent flyer tax to discourage jetsetting.

Radio Spaetkauf urges you to support any of the many charities rescuing people from drowning in the Mediterranean. We all deserve a good and safe life, no matter where we are born. European governments are acting immorally, but some people are trying to save lives. Donate to:
Sea-Watch: http://www.sea-watch-org
Mare Liberum:
Alarm Phone:
Sea Eye:
Or any other Mediterranean rescue organization.

How To Fuck Up An Airport is presented by Radio Spaetkauf and RadioEins.
Producer: Joel Dullroy
Presenters: Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern
Music: Ducks!
Artwork: Jim Avignon

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RS Live: Million Euro Logo

A right-wing campaign of neighbourhood terror has been carrying on for years on the streets of Neukölln. For a long time, the police just seemed incompetent. Now there are accusations that some police may have had connections to suspected right-wing attackers. We talk to the Mobile Counsel Against Right-wing Extremism Berlin:

The next coronavirus wave is upon us. The city is well prepared, with lots of available hospital beds. But politicians aren’t taking chances, introducing more mask laws and shutting businesses at 11pm. But are we going back to morality over science?

An update on pop-up bike lanes: the Berlin city government has won an appeal against the AfD’s anti-bike lane court case. The pop-up bike paths are safe for now. There’s also a new initiative to ban cars from the city – Autofreiberlin:

One of Berlin’s last real squats, Liebig34, was evicted in a massive police operation. The owner, the Padovicz family and company, owns hundreds of properties. They bought the building for €600,000, and have already collected €580,000 in rent from the residents, who wanted to stay and pay a reasonable rent.

Berlin has a new official logo – a simple black, red and white rectangular box, with san-serif Bauhaus-era font and a bear with no flicking tongue. The cost? €1.26 million euros (without VAT). A lot of money, but some of us think it’s an improvement on the old Be Berlin graphic mess.

Old Logo, New Logo

Dan recommends listening to the podcast People of Carmen by comedian Carmen Chraim:

Also, check out Trevor Silverstein’s podcast The Boss:

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RS Live: Bike Lane Battle

The AfD has won a court battle to remove pop-up bike lanes. How can cyclists fight back? We meet Dirk von Schneidemesser from Changing Cities who says we can convince drivers to give up cars if we have better, safer bike paths. Become a supporting member of Changing Cities here:

Football used to be banned for women in Germany. But for ten years the NGO Discover Football has been making soccer more female-friendly and empowering women. We talk to Johanna Small about their yearly football festival. More here:

Maisie credits Exberliner for their detailed coverage of the Julian Assange show trial. Assange is a journalist threatened with a life in jail for exposing government crimes. Yet the media has abandoned him, focusing on his personality and now-dropped allegations. We should all be concerned about his fate. Follow Exberliner’s court reporting:

Do you have a dinosaur limb lying around in your garden? Better return it to Spreepark at Plänterwald. They are restoring the dinosaurs. The ferris wheel will soon be removed and repaired.

Clubs are reopening with temperature checks, distanced dancing and lots of sanitizer. Grießmühle has a new location, this one with working toilets, they say. Book your visit in advance here:

This episode was hosted by Daniel Stern, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Joel Dullroy. Thanks to Trevor Silberstein of The Boss podcast for tech support. Listen to his show here:

Support us with a donation here:

RS Lockdown: Countering Covidiots

Maisie mingles mit medical misbelievers and miscellaneous misinformed masses. More updates on Coronavirus. Plus Berlin’s building and housing senator has been forced to resign… what does this mean for the rent freeze?

Berlin’s population has fallen for the first time in almost two decades. There are 3.7 million residents registered here. But 7000 moved away since the start of the year. The reason is because of fewer foreigners coming here – only 1000 moved here since the start of the year. Meanwhile 8000 Germans moved away. 

Köpenick is the new “Hasenhain”. That’s Joel’s clever new portmanteau. Police have been shutting down illegal parties in the woods around Köpenick, in Berlin’s east. The latest had 150 people. It was discovered by a police helicopter scoping out the woods.

Friedrichstraße has begun an experiment in car-free living. It has already met with typical resistance but also some success. Will it be given enough time to see the positive effects that bike and pedestrian friendly streets can have on a neighborhood? Plus we discuss the possibility that coronavirus regulations may affect this year’s winter markets.

The recent demonstration against mask regulations and other restrictions related to the pandemic drew a reported 38,000 people including Reichsflag waving “nationalists”, Qanon aligned conspiracy devotees and a menagerie of other groups connected by Querdenken 711. A group of protestors bum-rushed the Reichstag overwhelming the few police stationed in front of it. Maisie tells us what she saw during and after the demonstration. The immediate result of the demonstration is new rules requiring the use of masks during protests of over 100 people. The next Anti-Corona-Rules demo will not take place in Berlin but will instead be moved to Konstanz at the southern border of Germany. 

Numbers in August have been higher than in July with Tuesday seeing 81 new cases. The reproduction number rising 1.14, means that one of the three Corona traffic lights is now yellow. But Berlin hospitalization numbers remain low with 32 people currently being treated, 12 of which are in intensive care.

A few new pandemic related regulations have been put in place: Private gatherings of up to 50 people will have to have a hygiene concept and collect attendee names. Restaurants have to follow slightly stricter rules too, with the requirement for  customer data collection now including those at outdoor seating. A new nationwide rule allows authorities to charge fines of up to €50 for not wearing masks. 

The BVG has reported that 80,000 people have been reprimanded for not wearing masks since July. 470 people have been fined. 223 people claimed they had an exemption from the law. A study by Technisches Univesität has found that wearing a simple fabric mask on public transport can reduce infection risk by up to 50%. They said U-Bahn windows should be open to maximize airflow.

Mohrenstraße will finally be renamed Anton-Wilhelm Amo Straße. After years of petitions and renewed protests since the murder of George Floyd the Mitte Bezirks parliament has finally voted to go ahead with the name change. Anton Wilhelm Amo was an 18th century African born German philosopher.

An update on the corona-zuschuss, the money paid to freelancers and small businesses at the start of the lockdown in April. After a few technical hiccups, the system worked quickly to dispense €1.8 billion euros to over 200,000 recipients. All they had to do was put in a bank number and tax number and click a few boxes. Since then, around 2200 cases of fraud have been opened. An additional 10% of recipients also paid the money back after getting it. In a sign of economic recovery Berlin’s unemployment rate has decreased for the first time since the lockdown; albeit by only 1002 people.

Berlin’s government has seen a few shake ups in recent weeks including the resignation of Katrin Lompscher, and announcements by Health Minister Dilke Kalayci and Education senator Sandra Scheeres that they will not be seeking reelection. Mayor Michael Müller is seeking a seat in the Bundestag but SPD rival Kevin Kuhnert stands in his way.

In other news, Berlin is getting a new museum. The Exilmuseum – dedicated to people who have fled their countries of origin. It’s going to be built behind Anhalter Bahnhof. The old facade of the train station will remain as is. Behind it, a big curved building will be constructed for the museum. 

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Daniel Stern and Jöran Mandik. Thank you to our supporters and listeners. Donations help keep the show going and can be made at

RS Lockdown: Good Cop, Bad Ordnungsamt

Are you faking your details on restaurant sign-in sheets? Now the police are requisitioning venue contact lists for non-health-related investigations.

About 20,000 corona deniers marched through Berlin on Saturday, showing that covidiots aren’t only found in the US. At the same time, police brutally cracked down on a left-wing demo in Neukölln.

Hasenheide parties have become international news. Maisie was at a small gathering in the park and witnessed the policing strategy of banning bass frequencies. Concerned citizens are cleaning up the dirty park each Monday. If you’ve been to a party, perhaps you should lend a hand.

Berlin’s city districts should open controlled party zones in public spaces. And the government should pay 50% rent of all struggling nightclubs. Those are the recommendations from an unlikely source – Berlin’s CDU party. Will it win them any votes?

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock and Jöran Mandik. No live show this month due to weather and tear gas.

RS Live: Statistically Speaking

Why does the German media still use racist cliches, and focus on race in stories about coronavirus outbreaks? We meet Gilda Sahebi, journalist for Taz and Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen. She tries to help educate newsrooms about persistent casual racism. Follow Gilda at

Can you film racist incidents and put them online? Only if you blur the faces, warns Joe von Hutch, a writer and lawyer. Joe says white allies should put their bodies on the line to protect people of colour at demonstrations. He’s also publisher of Daddy Mag:

The mask law has been toughened – it now carries a €50 fine. More people are now observing it, although police aren’t widely issuing fines. The lesson for lawmakers – don’t pass a law without a punishment attached.

With clubs still closed, regular parties are now happening in Berlin’s parks, with little police intervention. Joel wonders if we’re entering a period of fatalism – corona realism? And with the law fluctuating so frequently, have we experienced totalitarianism or well-functioning anarchism?

Bumper car, dodgem car, or autoscooter? We’re recording in an old rink once used for fairground vehicles. It’s part of the Haus der Statistik, a huge abandoned building coming back to life as a creative community space. More at

Some other podcasts we recommend:
Secret Place Berlin:
Friends and Girls:
The Low Season:

Thanks to all our supporters! You can donate to keep us going here:

RS Mini: Unlock Life

This mini episode features Daniel Stern interviewing artist Aram Barthall about his recent installation “Unlock Life” which utilizes remnants of the recent bike share boom.

Find out more about at Aram Bartholl at and see the exhibit until the 16th of August at

Additionally: We are happy to announce that we will return to live recording with an audience on Saturday July 4th at 3pm – detailed announcement coming soon.

Thanks to our recent sponsors! We’re using your donations to buy new audio equipment for our future live shows. You can become a supporter here:

RS Lockdown: Crowded Canals

Almost everything is open again, but the crisis isn’t over. 30% of Berlin workers are now jobless or on Kurzarbeit suspension. Many cafes, shops and big businesses have closed. Maisie tells us about job hunting following her return to Berlin.

Corona rule confusion continues. Masks must be worn in supermarkets but not gyms. Customers mask up in shops but not staff, but in restaurants it’s the other way around. And now a court has invalidated some of the fines handed out for non-distancing.

The BVG’s sporadic automatic door opening policy is also confusing. Joel’s annoyed about touching dirty buttons unnecessarily. Do some drivers forget sometimes, or are they on a door-opening strike?

Amid anti-racism rallies in Berlin, a new law has been passed. It’s now easier for victims of racial profiling to lodge complaints. Officials can’t discriminate against you for any reason – including poor German language skills.

With concerts still banned, there’s only one way to enjoy live music. Dan attended an individual performance by violinist Diana Tischenko, organized by 1:1 CONCERTS. Find out more at

Thanks to our recent sponsors! We’re using your donations to buy new audio equipment for our future live shows. You can become a supporter here.

RS Lockdown: Excuse for Everything

Berlin starts counting the cost of the shutdown. Business tax revenues have plummeted by 90%. Who’s going to pay the bill? Are we going back to the dark days of “saving until it squeals”?

This week’ status: Mask compliance is at about 90%. Public transport use is at 50%. Restaurants are open, but only until 10pm: they’re demanding an extra hour of trading. 400 people are in hospital with the virus.

After Berlin’s successful project of converting roads to temporary Spielstraßen, play streets, Dan and Maisie come up with other ways we can replace cars: dining streets, gym streets, coworking streets.

Construction of the Wippe is about to begin. The monument to reunification will be a giant moving platform in front of the Stadtschloss. Opponents are using the coronavirus crisis as a new reason to try to scrap it.

What’s a fair punishment for a driver who kills a cyclist? License lost forever, or just three months? We discuss a recent sentencing.

This episode was presented by Daniel Stern, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Joel Dullroy. Support us with a donation!

RS Lockdown: Involuntary Rehab

Berlin is days away from the great restart. Restaurants, pools, hotels and kitas will soon be open again under new rules. But there’s no return in sight for the things some people liked about Berlin the most – drinking, smoking, partying and then recovering in cinemas. What will Berlin look like after this involuntary rehab?

The Club Commission is requesting that clubs and bars be allowed to operate open air areas until midnight, with guests wearing masks. Clubs want to use public spaces, such as parks and squares. No luck so far.

Pools are due to reopen from May 25, but it’s unclear how they’ll cap numbers. Are we heading for a world of online registrations, timed tickets and digital queues? Where will that leave people without internet access and skills?

The mask requirements are being expanded to more public spaces, but still without penalties. Compliance has been patchy, and seems to be decreasing. How is your rage factor at seeing unmasked rebels?

This episode was presented by Daniel Stern, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Joel Dullroy. Support us with a donation!