New Year, New Job

So it’s a new year, another birthday, and vacation is sadly over — time to get back to a regular working schedule and real life.

But this year is different, given that five months from now, my wife and I will be moving to the birthplace of Ludwig von Beethoven and the former capital of West Germany: Bonn, Germany.

Late last month, I accepted a position as the new host and producer of Spectrum, a weekly 30 minute, international English-language radio show broadcast by Deutsche Welle English, the English language service of Deutsche Welle, the German public radio network. You can think of it like the German BBC — 100 percent publicly funded, and broadcasting in various languages over shortwave, FM re-broadcasts and Internet. I hope to use the skills that I’ve learned working with PRI’s The World, NPR, CBC’s Spark, TVO’s Search Engine, and BBC’s Digital Planet to take Spectrum to the next level. My focus will be especially on Germany and more largely, other science and technology innovations in Europe. (Tere, Eestlased!)

In case you saw some of my tweets a few weeks ago referencing Bonn, I was over there in December to meet the rest of the DW English crew (including the head of DW English, Kristin Zeier), do a little work, and generally see if I’d be a good fit. In the end, I decided to take the position because I think it will be a professionally engaging, and ultimately, a fun job.

In the meantime, Rebecca and I have been taking German lessons at the Gerlind Institute here in Oakland, which has been great so far. I hope to have at least an advanced beginner level by the time that we arrive in Bonn. (Ich hoffe!)

We’ll be in Bonn for at least two years (perhaps longer?), and hope to use our vacation exploring new regions in Germany, and the neighboring countries that we didn’t make it to when we were in Europe in 2008 and 2009, like Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and other countries especially in central and eastern Europe. I especially look forward to eating at Peshku in Pristina (Kosovo) with Balkanophile Nate Tabak in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011.

If anyone is interested in renting our 650 square foot, one-bedroom cottage here in Rockridge (North Oakland) starting in June 2010, please contact me directly.

Otherwise, I welcome any and all tips/suggestions for living in Bonn/western Germany, traveling in Europe, and learning German. Also, come visit us in Bonn!

Thanks again so far to Kristin Zeier, Felix Leder, Tillmann Werner, Steve Paine, Tim Wojcik, Kate Bowen, Holly Fox, Courtney Tenz, Mark Mattox, Stephanie Siek, Sean Sinico, Sam Edmonds, Barbara Gruber, Trinity Hartman, Andy Valvur and everyone else that I look forward to working with at DW who will help us make this transition just a little easier.