Cover

The Big Ponder

This transatlantic podcast explores abstract concepts and phenomena through personal radio essays. Every other week, one of our producers transforms a broad topic into a captivating story told from a US-German perspective.

Alle Folgen

  • 23.06.2022
    67 MB
    28:12
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #39: Grief

    Grief is all around us these days. But what exactly is it? And why is it? During a time of global trauma and loss, Jocelyn Robinson seeks to better understand this basic human emotion through the voices and stories of the grieving.

    ...mehr
  • 08.06.2022
    69 MB
    28:58
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #38: Cartoons

    Have you ever heard of the cartoonist Oliver Harrington? Probably not, but the artist played an instrumental role in German-American history. From the Harlem Renaissance to the division of Berlin during the Cold War — he was there for it all, capturing the world around him in his masterful comic strips.

    ...mehr
  • 26.05.2022
    71 MB
    29:34
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #37: Street Names

    Why is a Nazi resistance fighter famous in Brazil yet unheard of in Germany? How did an African American musician become a hero in East Germany? Dina Elsayed finds the answers to these questions and more while uncovering the stories behind Berlin’s unusual street names.

    ...mehr
  • 12.05.2022
    68 MB
    28:13
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #36: The Street

    As a lifelong photographer and filmmaker, Harald Rumpf has spent decades exploring the cities that his subjects call home. In this episode, he uses archival interviews and personal anecdotes to reconstruct a lifetime of experiences documenting life in the streets.

    ...mehr
  • 27.04.2022
    73 MB
    20:22
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #35: Hidden History

    During World War II, over 400,000 German POWs came to the U.S., where they worked on local farms alongside civilians. Cariad Harmon tells the story of the unlikely friendships that one American family from small-town Tennessee forged with enemy soldiers.

    ...mehr
  • 14.04.2022
    69 MB
    25:57
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #34: Sounds of Nature

    Tosca Terán creates soundscapes using fungi. In this immersive piece, Tosca takes listeners on a soundwalk, pausing periodically to interview other sound artists who work with nature.

    ...mehr
  • 31.03.2022
    25 MB
    28:41
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #33: Housing

    The demand for affordable housing has reached an all-time high in both Europe and North America. In this episode, Tomma Suki investigates the housing situation in two major cities on opposite sides of the Atlantic: Berlin and Toronto.

    ...mehr
  • 17.03.2022
    68 MB
    28:42
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #32: Firsts

    What happens inside our brains and bodies when we experience something new? What is it like to perform surgery for the first time? Or to swim in a freezing cold lake? Monika Müller-Kroll and Susannah Edelbaum interview people from all walks of life about their most memorable firsts.

    ...mehr
  • 03.03.2022
    69 MB
    28:47
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #31: Winterreise

    In the endless sunshine of Dubai, Bilal Qureshi revisits Franz Schubert’s acclaimed song cycle “Winterreise.” The lyrics of a heartbroken man’s journey across a wintry landscape become a way for Bilal to reconnect with the spirit of ‘wintering’ while living in the desert.

    ...mehr
  • 17.02.2022
    67 MB
    28:05
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #30: The Zoo

    Growing up, Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller traveled the world with his family. On their trips, they always made time for a visit to the local zoo: in Berlin, in Paris, in Rio de Janeiro. In this episode, Nathaniel and his parents reflect on the days they spent watching animals together.

    ...mehr
  • 03.02.2022
    66 MB
    27:39
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #29: Humor

    Despite the cliché of the unfunny German, there is a rich tradition of comedy in German culture. Soraya Nelson visits comedy clubs in Berlin and interviews comedians, disproving the widespread stereotype that Germans do not know how to take a joke.

    ...mehr
  • 20.01.2022
    69 MB
    28:42
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #28: The Mom-and-Pop Store

    In the heart of Berlin, there is a small corner store, lovingly dubbed the “living room of the neighborhood.” Sadly, the shop’s owners are facing eviction after three decades in business. Sally McGrane and Axel Scheele tell the story of the little grocery on Choriner Street.

    ...mehr
  • 06.01.2022
    65 MB
    27:00
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #27: Immersion

    Immersive artwork breaks down the border between the viewer and the artist, submerging the spectator in the exhibit. Nancy Pettinicchio discusses this dynamic at length with three artists.

    ...mehr
  • 23.12.2021
    66 MB
    27:25
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #26: Krampus

    In the U.S., Santa keeps tabs on who’s been naughty or nice, but there isn’t much follow through on the naughty list. In much of Europe, however, St. Nick has a stern partner who enforces the rules: Krampus. But who exactly is this Krampus guy?

    ...mehr
  • 09.12.2021
    63 MB
    26:11
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #25: The Night

    To newborns, there is no discernable difference between night and day. Evening and morning blur together in this piece as Katie Marquette rocks her baby to sleep, contemplating the night.

    ...mehr
  • 24.11.2021
    68 MB
    28:15
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #24: Happiness

    How do you quantify something as indescribable as happiness? Michael Hobbes searches for a way to measure life satisfaction that works in both the U.S., his old home, and Germany, his new home.

    ...mehr
  • 10.11.2021
    71 MB
    29:41
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #23: Airlines

    A lot has changed since the first days of aviation, from beverage service to affordable plane tickets. Florenz Gilly and Leon Ginzel recap the history of transatlantic flight and reflect on their own experiences crossing the big pond.

    ...mehr
  • 28.10.2021
    70 MB
    29:04
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #22: Candy

    As a kid, candy makes the world go round. As an adult, it has the power to bring back long-forgotten childhood memories. Carol McKinley talks about the magic of candy with Tony Vallejos who ran a vintage sweet shop in Colorado.

    ...mehr
  • 14.10.2021
    42 MB
    29:16
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #21: Community

    Community is the story of our lives. It is who we are, who we have been, and who we hope to become. Melissa Gerr visits Jewish congregations in Baltimore, Maryland, and Dresden, Germany, where she speaks with members about the importance of community.

    ...mehr
  • 30.09.2021
    69 MB
    28:46
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #20: Adventure

    Have you ever thought about dropping everything to pursue your passion? Susanne Papawassiliu profiles Mike Powers who left his life in Florida behind to do just that. Today, Mike resides in Berlin, where he spends his days making art.

    ...mehr
  • 16.09.2021
    69 MB
    28:43
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #19: Encounters

    How many people will you meet in your lifetime? How many will you remember? Fascinated by the countless chance encounters in their own lives, Susannah Edelbaum and Monika Müller-Kroll reveal the ways that casual interactions affect us all.

    ...mehr
  • 02.09.2021
    73 MB
    30:18
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #18: Road Trip

    Cariad Harmon and her partner John Kesling embark on a long-awaited cross-country road trip. Cariad interviews locals and fellow travelers of all kinds at national parks, truck stops, and diners while sharing intimate details of life on the road — the good and the bad.

    ...mehr
  • 12.08.2021
    68 MB
    28:21
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #17: Listening

    Our ability to hear is fully formed after just four and a half months in the womb. From this early age, sound shapes our worldview. Jim McKee, a sound designer himself, interviews experts who have built careers by learning to listen to the world around them.

    ...mehr
  • 29.07.2021
    69 MB
    28:58
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #16: Wonder

    Americans on the East Coast were in awe when Brood X, an enormous group of 17-year cicadas, suddenly emerged from underground to mate. Melissa Gerr, who lives in Maryland, was no exception. Inspired by this local wonder, she sets out to explain the feeling of awe.

    ...mehr
  • 15.07.2021
    69 MB
    28:53
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #15: Record Booth

    By the 1920s, people had begun using coin-operated record booths to create audio souvenirs — immortalizing their thoughts and feelings on a disc. Cariad Harmon travels to one of the last remaining record booths in Louisville, Kentucky, where she captures her own voice and revisits some touching messages from the past.

    ...mehr
  • 01.07.2021
    69 MB
    28:49
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #14: Sacred Self

    In her early 20s, Sibylle Baier recorded 14 folk songs that she says saved her life. Then, she packed the tape away and forgot about it. Decades later, her son discovered his mother’s music and released it — to critical acclaim. Sibylle tells her story for the first time to Carol McKinley.

    ...mehr
  • 03.06.2021
    67 MB
    28:09
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #13: The Diary

    Working with personal diary entries, Dina Elsayed and Monika Müller-Kroll take listeners on a journey through the seasons to different places in the U.S. and Germany. These entries create a mosaic of our daily lives in all its contradictions and parallels, seriousness and banality.

    ...mehr
  • 20.05.2021
    69 MB
    28:53
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #12: Hunting

    There exists a strong tradition of hunting in both Germany and the U.S. However, the cultures surrounding this pastime differ more than you might think. Ada von der Decken and Moritz Gerlach speak with hunters from both countries to find out what drives people to pursue the sport.

    ...mehr
  • 06.05.2021
    67 MB
    27:56
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #11: Home

    Is ‘home’ a place or more of a feeling? Jocelyn Robinson speaks with three American expats who unpack the relationship between self and place, drawing from their experiences living in Germany, on the Diné Nation, and in Senegal.

    ...mehr
  • 22.04.2021
    73 MB
    30:30
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #10: The Diner

    What happens when you uproot an American institution like the diner and place it somewhere entirely new — like Germany? Florenz Gilly and Leon Ginzel journey into the world of diners, visiting hometown restaurants in the U.S. and Germany to find out.

    ...mehr
  • 08.04.2021
    69 MB
    28:46
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #9: In Friendship

    Inspired by a year of forced isolation, essayist Bilal Qureshi explores the history, landscape, and meaning of friendship across cultures. At the heart of his examination is the question: Who do we call a ‘friend’ and why?

    ...mehr
  • 25.03.2021
    67 MB
    27:53
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #8: My Pen Pal

    One day, Jakob Lewis receives an email from a German man named Ingo asking to be his pen pal. The close relationship they develop teaches Jakob that strangers can connect on a deep level — even when an ocean and a language barrier separate them.

    ...mehr
  • 11.03.2021
    67 MB
    27:59
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #7: How Buildings Mean

    Producer Alex van Oss ponders the external, internal, and eternal meanings of buildings in his Washington, D.C. neighborhood. The result is a personal rumination featuring thoughts from friends and neighbors on their buildings, homes, and communities.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    67 MB
    28:09
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #6: The Flag

    In both Germany and the U.S., the flag can be divisive, eliciting pride in some and unease in others. From patriotism to protest, Jocelyn Robinson explores the role that these symbols play in proclaiming who we are.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    59 MB
    28:51
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #5: Little America Revisited

    Since World War II, there have been countless American GIs stationed at military bases all over Germany. Sylvia Cunningham and Monika Müller-Kroll talk with some of the people who once lived in these ‘Little Americas’ and decided to stay in Germany.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    59 MB
    24:51
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #4: Anatomy of an Apology

    Katie Davis tells the story of an inadvertent provocation between two boys at a teen center in her Washington, D.C. neighborhood, the conflict that developed, and the ensuing efforts to prevent it from escalating.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    67 MB
    27:59
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #3: Radio Wanderlust

    Bilal Qureshi explores the German-English idea of ‘Wanderlust’ through his personal audio archives and conversations with fellow travelers. Does this romantic idea hold up in the age of fast travel and fleeting social media?

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    67 MB
    27:59
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #2: The Garden

    Jakob Lewis and his wife Catherine transformed their front yard in Nashville into a garden. From conception to harvest, Jakob meditates on the lessons he learned about imagination, play, and grief, all the while drawing on the wisdom of Goethe.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    70 MB
    28:58
    Cover

    The Big Ponder #1: I Love You, I Hate You

    “We have the right to hate Germany because we love it,” German writer Kurt Tucholsky wrote. Listening to positions from both sides of the Atlantic, Sylvia Cunningham and Monika Müller-Kroll explore the love-hate relationships people have with their home countries.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    51 MB
    26:37
    Cover

    The Big Pond #52: Puppeteering from Darmstadt to DC

    Ingrid Crepeau is a successful US-American puppeteer, performer and puppet-designer based in the Washington, DC area. Her time in Darmstadt, Germany in the late 1950s kindled her interest in puppeteering. For this episode of The Big Pond, our own Technical Director Flawn Williams reports on her transatlantic career.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    25 MB
    13:21
    Cover

    The Big Pond #51: The Right to Housing

    Berlin and Los Angeles share a common problem: homelessness. Producer Caroline Porter reports on topic, which is the focus of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and the Thomas Mann House in LA. This episode is a contribution of the Thomas Mann House to The Big Pond.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    52 MB
    27:02
    Cover

    The Big Pond #50: Showing Our Colors

    People of mixed heritage lead complex lives, often navigating between two racial and/or cultural identities. Our producer Jocelyn Robinson, who lives this experience, explores identity formation in the US and in Germany.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    33 MB
    17:19
    Cover

    The Big Pond #49: US-American Soccer and the World

    Since the US Men’s National Soccer Team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, many American soccer players have been looking to sign onto international teams to better their skills and become more competitive. Players like Christian Pulisic, who got his start on the German team Borussia Dortmund, show promise for the future of soccer in the US.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    38 MB
    19:44
    Cover

    The Big Pond #48: Legacies of the Berlin Wall

    “It was chaos, it was total chaos.” When the Berlin Wall unexpectedly fell in 1989, it triggered a time of massive flux for the newly reunited capital of Germany. Subcultures and international trends combined with other creative forces to establish Berlin as a mecca for artists. For The Big Pond, KCRW Berlin speaks to Berliners who helped build the city’s lasting legacy.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    33 MB
    17:11
    Cover

    The Big Pond #47: How to Walk in the City

    After moving from Cologne, Germany, to New York City, our producer Thomas Reintjes had trouble adjusting to walking in the bustling metropolis. Traffic, crowds and high-rise buildings made it difficult for him to get away from everything. By sharing their personal experiences, the writers Lauren Elkin and Garnette Cadogan teach him how to walk in New York City.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    65 MB
    34:11
    Cover

    The Big Pond #46: Black Art, Berlin Stories – Looking for Alain Locke

    In 1925, the African-American philosopher Alain Locke (1886-1954) launched a revolutionary black arts movement now known as the Harlem Renaissance. In this episode of The Big Pond, producer Bilal Qureshi traces Alain Locke’s ideas back to one city in particular – Berlin.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    56 MB
    29:20
    Cover

    The Big Pond #45: The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

    Chris Strachwitz is a man possessed. A “songcatcher,” capturing and recording the traditional, regional, down-home music of the US, his adopted home after his family left Germany following the end of World War II. His archive is jam-packed with 78s, LPs, 45s, reel-to-reels, cassettes, videos – a collection of all manner of recordings. For The Big Pond, The Kitchen Sisters present the story of Chris Strachwitz.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    26 MB
    13:32
    Cover

    The Big Pond #44: Germans in New Orleans

    Historically, New Orleans is a cultural, spiritual and ethnic melting pot. In the streets, you immediately come across signs of French, Caribbean, Native American and Spanish influence. Hard to imagine that there were German immigrants here at one time! But once you know how to read the clues, the picture changes – producer Martina Groß explores Germans’ long history in New Orleans.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    19 MB
    09:55
    Cover

    The Big Pond #43: Under the Skin – Tattoo Artists

    It seems like there are more people nowadays with tattoos than there used to be – of the body art is hidden, but most are quite visible. Men and women alike have black, gray and colorful designs covering their arms, legs, or even their entire bodies. Our producer Anne-Rose Heck tries to find out more bout how this phenomenon is spreading across both sides of the Atlantic.

    ...mehr
  • 25.02.2021
    28 MB
    14:55
    Cover

    The Big Pond #42: Heart in Space – German Scientists and NASA

    Since 2016, the German scientists Sonja Schrepfer and her husband Tobias Deuse have led the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology Lab at the University of California in San Francisco and the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf. It is funded by NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Our producer Iris Völlnagel reports on their contribution to space travel.

    ...mehr