RS Lockdown: Fireproof Nazi Curtains

With the new medical mask rule in force, will the Querdenkers now start wearing banned fabric masks? What about people who can’t afford the expensive masks? Should prices be regulated to stop profiteering?

Already some bars, cafes, restaurants and other cultural spaces have closed down during the pandemic. Our friends at Lola Mag are starting to document these closed culture spaces. Know of a shuttered spot? Send details to hello@lolamag.de

Stoners beware. A Vice documentary says a lot of Berlin weed is laced with addictive and dangerous synthetic cannabinoids. Where’s our organic weed already? Watch the video here.

BER workers are suffering from electric shocks from baggage scanning machines. More than 60 cases have been recorded. The workers’ union wants the new terminal closed until the problem is fixed.

What’s it like to be a teacher in a Berlin school these days? We meet Ryan Plocher, a US emigrant who teaches in Neukölln, and is active in the GEW trade union. He says teachers think schools should be closed until they’re made safe, explains why so many schools are in terrible condition, and tells how expensive fireproof Nazi curtains made him get active in the union. Want some advice about joining a union? Contact Ryan here.

Dan invites Radio Spaetkauf listeners to watch a free live show Saturday the 30th. He will be streaming from an empty comedy club; joined by comedians from Berlin and around the world. “Whoopsie Doopsie Doo is a comedy show streaming live on youtube, facebook and twitch. Goofy shenanigans, preposterous games, total mishegaas and friendly banter.” Dan assures us of a good show; his mom watches all the live streams and says they are great.

Thanks to guest co-host Carmen Chraim! You can find her podcast People of Carmen here.

Radio Spaetkauf is produced by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern and Maisie Hitchcock. This episode was made with support from RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

RS Lockdown: We Read The News Today, Oh Boy

Jöran ushered in the new year with jelly donuts, Joel an ice cold swim and Dan watched the ZDF livestream. All were pleased with their experiences. Hospital on the water Urban Krankenhaus gets positive reviews from the team, though recent expansions ignore the buildings aesthetic and surroundings.

How was Berlin’s NYE with fireworks sales banned? : 862 fire crew call-outs, 43 in ‘verbotszonen’, and 211 fires; 10 victims in ER, 2 hands partially amputated, one Brandenburg man killed by self-made rocket; one Neukölln supermarket destroyed by stored fireworks. Those numbers are about half of last year’s.

How many fewer fireworks were fired? The Frankfurter Allee air quality station measured one third as much particle pollution. The rubbish collection company BSR said 130 meters of fireworks trash was collected, also about one third the volume of last year. If it was like this every year, we’d have nothing to complain about. 

Christmas is long gone, but the trees are yet to be picked up. 350.000 of them per year according to the BSR. This year, they will begin their tree-pick-up rounds on January 7. They ask to remove all decorations from the tree when putting them out on the street. Even if you have a little baby tree. Don’t put them in the bio-bin – they can’t be used for biogas-production. The collected trees will be shredded and burnt for the production of heating energy. 

The lockdown is set to continue. With about 30% of intensive hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and a boost in testing numbers expected after the holidays. Kitkat Club continues to attract huge crowds with its €25 test. And the ‘queerdenkers’ keep protesting, dancing in a conga line on Alexanderplatz singing about how we need a little virus. Maisie tweeted: “It’s funny how Holocaust denial is illegal here but Corona denial isn’t. Why aren’t they banned outright? Because they don’t use hate speech?”

Public transport tickets have gone up to €3 for a single journey; in Paris it’s €1.90. New S-Bahn trains are on the tracks, with flat windscreen windows, giving them a futuristic vibe. To see them take the S47 between Spindlersfeld and Hermannstraße. Initially there are only ten of the new vehicles on this route. More will be added in 2022. The new trains have air conditioning, a new door signal, faster acceleration and deceleration. But no USB chargers, as was once promised.

You’re going to be seeing a lot more shared electric mopeds on the streets: The company Emmy plans to put 800 more of its red scooters. Joel questions why he only needs a class B European driver’s license to use one, and how much is the fish?

Much of Berlin has already seen and mocked the  “Psychometric WG” . Do they deserve less ridicule or should they be condemned for an embrace of villainous cyborgishness? At €800-€1000, their rent is definitely over the Mietendeckel limits (which also apply within WGs). If you want to report them or any other suspected overcharging landlord to the city government for investigation, here’s the link. Click link under “Online-Abwicklung”: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/330040/standort/123904/

2021 is an election year, which Radio Spaetkauf is excited to report on. But who should we run for office this year? Give Juri another shot despite only garnering 66 votes last time, or run a new candidate? Perhaps Carmen, our recent guest host? Should we really campaign or would that only degrade the democratic process? 

Maisie says thanks for the messages, they have been wonderful.

If you, your business, or organization is interested in starting your own podcast get in touch with the Radio Spaetkauf team. We’ll make sure you have a unique concept that will keep your audience engaged and help you expand your following. hallo@radiospaetkauf.com 

Thanks to all our donors! Support Radio Spaetkauf with a one time or ongoing donation at radiospaetkauf.com/donate. Grab a gift for the Radio Spaetkauf fan in your life at our new merch page, totes, mugs and T-shirts printed in Berlin.

RS Lockdown: Twenty 20 II

Why can’t Germany finally ban fireworks? The failure to prohibit the use of rockets on NYE shows the pandemic response still isn’t being led by science, we say. Many shops are closed, and alcohol outdoors is banned. Berlin is preparing for vaccinations, but unless you’re over 80 you probably won’t get one for quite a while.

We’re joined by guest co-host Gilda Sahebi, a journalist and doctor. Gilda is part of Neue Deutsche Medienmacher, a network that promotes greater diversity in Germany’s very white media industry. Follow Gilda’s here: https://twitter.com/gildasahebi

Gilda’s network helped write a handbook for Berlin’s city government that discourages the use of racist and exclusionary language. For example, city officials have been told to not use the term “Ausländer”, but rather “Einwohnende ohne deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft”. Dan says making such phrases cumbersome should encourage us to question whether we even need to say them at all.

The BVG has a new voice. An actor with a gender neutral tone will read station announcements. Will the BVG also please finally hire a native English expert to check their translations? This new platform announcement is both bad and dangerous: “Please keep distance to each other.” Please don’t!

This episode was hosted by Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy, Daniel Stern and Gilda Sahebi.

RS Lockdown: Weihnachts Windows

Radio Spaetkauf Berlin News Podcast Dec 4 2020

We’re joined by guest co-host Carmen Chraim! Listen to her podcast People of Carmen.

Joel shares his experience of having coronavirus: it’s hard to get tested, and contact tracing is no forensic investigation. Luckily more private testing clinics have opened, including at BER and Kitkat Club.

With Christmas markets cancelled, the whole city has become a distributed glühwein markt. Joel and Jöran went on a tour of Neukölln’s weihnachts windows. Can we expand the variety of hot drinks on offer please?

But glühwein is unlikey to save the hospitality sector. A survey by Bars of Berlin found 75% of their members expect to go out of business by 2021. Restaurants are operating on about 40% of their usual trade.

The U5 extension is finished, connecting Hauptbahnhof to Alexanderplatz. It was only 20% over budget and 3 years late. But Friedrichstraße U6 station has closed – Berlin has a ghost station once again. Do we need an U-Bahn extension to BER?

And at BER… Schönefeld airport is closing. The building now called Terminal 5 will shut its doors March for at least a year due to low traffic. Suddenly Berlin has three abandoned airports.

The bill for the police operation to clear the Liebig 34 squat is in: it cost almost €1 million: that’s more than the owner paid to buy the building in the first place. The residents wanted to stay and pay rent, as they had been. The landlord wanted them out. The city sided with the owner.

Thanks for the lovely messages for Maisie – she really appreciates them.

Thanks to all our donors! Support us here: http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate

Does your business need a podcast? Hire us to help you produce it! Contact us: hello@radiospaetkauf.com

Rent Freeze #3: Don’t Spend It

This month residents of Berlin should experience the biggest collective rent reduction in history. About 340,000 residents – one in six – may be eligible for a rent cut under the Mietendeckel, Berlin’s radical new housing policy. But landlords are doing their best to stop it.

On November 23 landlords must reduce rents to regulation levels or face fines of €500,000. Tenants can check if they’re paying too much at this website: http://www.mietendeckel.berlin.de
And they can report cheating landlords to the city government here.

Anyone who gets a rent reduction should save the money, as they might have to pay it back. The Mietendeckel is being challenged in Germany’s constitutional court, with a ruling expected in mid-2021. Jöran Mandik explains the court process – and the judges’ red robes.

Furnished flats are not exempt from the Mietendeckel. But some companies are offering a buy-and-lease-back service model to help landlords get around the law. Tenants are told they have no choice but to rent both the flat and the furniture together. Other tricks include renting expensive basements, parking spaces and coworking desks inside their flat.

Double contracts have become standard: residents are offered two prices – a lower one that matches the rent freeze legislation, and a higher one they’ll have ot pay if the law is later ruled unconstitutional. Such double contracts are most likely legal and enforceable, says rental expert Daniel Halmer from Conny.legal (formerly Wenigermiete). But they could still be challenged using the Mietpreisbremse law, an older regulation which limits rent prices under some conditions.

What’s the effect of the rent freeze so far? If you already have an apartment, the rent freeze appears to be working as expected. If you’re looking for an apartment, things are tougher due to landlords restricting supply. A study by the ZIA found average rental prices have sunk by 5.7% in the first half of 2020. But availability has also fallen by about 50%, as property owners withhold empty flats from the market. For new flats built after 2014 – which are exempt from the Mietendeckel – prices are up 7.5%, and availability has increased by 18%, according to real estate portal ImmobilienScout24.

Swedish property management company Heimstaden Bostat isn’t deterred by the rent freeze. The company is trying to purchase about 130 buildings with almost 4000 apartments at a cost of €830 million. Heimstaden told us they had factored the rental regulations into their financial planning.

Researcher Christoph Trautwetter recently produced a report called ‘Who Owns Berlin’ for the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. He debunks the myth that warned the Mietendeckel would scare investors away. “There is an excess of capital looking to invest under any condition, and ready to accept the Mietendeckel as a condition to invest in Berlin,” Trautwetter said. You can read his report here: https://www.rosalux.de/publikation/id/43284

Next up on this series – who is to blame for Berlin’s lack of new properties? We’ll also hear from small-time landlords who face financial ruin under the rent freeze.

On our series we speak about Berlin’s housing market. But of course there are those Berliners who are completely excluded from it and don’t have a home at all. Winter is fast approaching and they need help. Please consider donating to the following organisations to help them take care of our homeless:
Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe: https://www.berliner-obdachlosenhilfe.de/
Caritas: https://www.caritas-berlin.de/
Berliner Stadtmission: https://www.berliner-stadtmission.de/
Kältehilfe Berlin: https://www.kaeltehilfe-berlin.de/
Obdachlosenhilfe Die Brücke: http://www.obdachlosenhilfe-die-bruecke.de/

Rent Freeze is produced and presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Music by Tom Evans. Artwork by Jim Avignon. Produced in partnership with RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Support us with a monthly donation!

RS Lockdown: Tasteless Recipes

First some difficult news: Maisie is in hospital being treated for a rare type of cancer. She is trying to stay positive and says: “Hello to everyone. I’m working on coming back ASAP!” You can send her a personal message via: hallo@radiospaetkauf.com

We’re back in partial lockdown, with all hospitality and cultural venues closed. More than 70 such businesses are trying to sue to stay open, with little hope. They can apply for 75% of their usual monthly income. Will they be scared to ask for money, after the legal recriminations for those who took the last coronavirus support package? Here’s where you find out more about Überbrückungshilfe Unternehmen: https://bit.ly/3lfadHk

Where have people been catching COVID-19? Berlin’s health department has released statistics: 55% at home, 15% in hospitals and care homes, 4% in ‘free time’, 3.5% at work, 2.5% at school – and only 2.1% in restaurants.

Tegel Airport has finally closed. Dan interviews Ben, a flight attendant who was on one of the last flights out of the hexagonal terminal.

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy, Daniel Stern and Jöran Mandik.

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: https://mare-liberum.org/
Alarm Phone: https://alarmphone.org/
Sea Eye: https://sea-eye.org/
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

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Support us with a monthly donation!

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: www.mbr-berlin.de/

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: http://autofreiberlin.de

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: https://apple.co/35vqMbc

Also, check out Trevor Silverstein’s podcast The Boss: https://apple.co/2ZOtC9v

Does your business need a podcast? Hire us to help you produce it! Contact us: hello@radiospaetkauf.com

Thanks to all our donors! Support us here: http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate

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: https://changing-cities.org

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: http://www.discoverfootball.de/

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: https://www.exberliner.com/features/julian-assange-trial-2020

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: https://griessmuehle.de

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: https://apple.co/2ZOtC9v

Support us with a donation here: http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate/

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 http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate/.