This may seem a bit silly to write about, but over the years I’ve noticed some interesting differences between listening to the radio in Germany versus the US.
1. The most striking thing you’ll notice is that cussing is allowed. It’s not a faux pas, or illegal. I think Germans understand that people cuss and English cuss words aren’t nearly as bad as German curse words (at least according to my German friends).
2. This one is a huge pet peeve of mine. I don’t get why but more often than not DJ’s only play about half of a song before cutting it off. I’m not sure what the dilemma is with playing an entire song…it’s usually only another minute or so. Instead, I’m left singing in the car to a song that was cut off so commercials can be played. It’s unfortunate.
3. Okay this isn’t specific to radio, but I hear it more often on the air than in other situations. There are so many English phrases that are used in Germany. In many cases it’s just something like ‘let’s get ready to party’ or ‘rock and roll’. And then I get excited that I understood something in German only to realize a few seconds later that it was, in fact, English. I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me since I’ve lived here.
4. This has actually only happened to me once but it was so funny I couldn’t stop laughing. One morning show did a challenge to do everything in English. Even people that called in had to speak English. It was great listening to them try to remember words and debate the correct way to say English words.
5. And of course I can’t end a short list like this without including what you do and do not hear on the radio. EDM (electronic dance music) is really popular across Europe and American pop songs are played frequently. A lot of American oldies are played on some stations as well. Popular songs include hits by Phil Collins and Whitney Houston.
One thing you almost never hear in Germany is Justin Bieber. Darn. You will, however, hear some crazy techno songs with hilarious lyrics. Another thing you’ll never hear is country music, with the exception of a few of Taylor Swifts pop songs and of course John Denver’s Country Roads, which you would think is a national anthem based on how often it’s played at Oktoberfest!
Well there you have it, my take on German radio. Just goes to show how similar things can be living in Germany but also so different.