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  • Writer's picturePetra Zlatevska

My summer podcast recording in Goethe’s hometown. And oh, a heatwave.

Grey clouds, never – ending airplane noise and Plattenbau* .

These were my common associations with Frankfurt am Main. Like most intrepid travellers, I had only ever been to Frankfurt for its airport. After all these years in Germany, I’d not had occasion to actually exit the Terminal and visit the city which turned out to be so much more than its airport. After falling in love with Weimar some years ago, I had somehow overlooked Frankfurt as the town where Goethe was born and had his childhood.

Yet this was to change with a bunch of emails.

When I received a message from a production company in London asking if I was interested in coming on board as a podcast Host for a brand new podcast series exploring the future of work, my immediate reaction was “Why Yes!”.

I had been a podcast guest before and am currently in the throes of figuring out my own podcast ideas so jumped at the chance to be involved with this ground-breaking project from London-based Fresh Air Productions. As it involved 5 countries, including UK, France, Italy, Netherlands and Germany, it took some time to get the grünes Licht on a project that seemed like it may never take off.

As proof that it doesn’t matter what your name is but what you sound like on air, I was asked to be the Country Host for Germany.

Yes – that’s right. This meant researching, writing material, preparing interview questions for the panel and hosting it.

In German.

Auf deutsch!

Together with 4 senior leaders from ADP Germany, we recorded 4 episodes on a muggy Frankfurt Summer’s day in the brilliant LOFT Studios in East Frankfurt, an up and coming creative media and tech hub. We didn’t see the sun for about 10 hours in the middle of the German heatwave. We explored themes such as the future of work, employee engagement, remote working, management styles & how to deal with staff when they are unwell, work-life balance (and whether it is all just a farce), the role of women and men in management, the importance of both parents taking parental leave.

It was a really daunting, exhausting yet incredibly rewarding experience doing this all in German. As it meant pulling the threads of my research notes, moderating and leading the discussion with the 4 execs, knowing when to stop and take advice from the 3 sound engineers in the room next door.

Together with the team from Freshair who had to edit 10 hours worth of talking, I am really proud of this project.

Have a listen to the podcast show link below.

Before recording, I got my afternoon to acquaint myself with Frankfurt Stadt and took a fantastic river-side bike ride through the Altstadt stopping in at the medieval Town Hall, a quick drive by past Goethe’s house, had lunch with a friend in the restored Thurn-Taxis Palais, and a quick coffee housed in a former industrial crane!

It was too short of a trip this time but next time round I hope to be able to come back to LOFT studios for some other recording gigs.

*mass produced, prefabricated modernist apartment complexes put up in the post-war era in both East and West Germany






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