Ardnt Peltner Interview

By Michael O. Powell

Ardnt Peltner is a German born journalist and the host of the popular San Francisco based radio show/podcast Radio Goethe. Radio Goethe consists of two shows: one focusing on German news and human interest stories and another focusing on German music of various genres. In this interview I ask him about how the program got started and what the response has been.

How did you end up in the Bay Area?

I moved over here after finishing my training as a radio journalist in Germany. I knew the Bay Area from a previous stay. Before getting into radio I studied social work and did an internship in San Francisco.

So, i jumped onto the chance to become a freelance correspondent in the summer of '96. Just wanted to stay three years....that plan didn't turn out.

What motivated you to start Radio Goethe?

I love music and I have been collecting records all my life. When I came to SF I realized, that there are almost no German bands played on the radio. So I went to KUSF and offered them the show idea to produce a program just focusing on German music. They liked the idea, since they played bands like Kraftwerk, Faust or the Einstuerzenden Neubauten. In the beginning I just hosted in German, later I switched, while realizing that my audience is mostly American.

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What has been the response to your show from audiences?

So far it's good and positive. I'm doing a one of a kind show and have been for a long time and that is appreciated. You can hear music on the show you can't even find on radio stations in Germany. I don't have a music format. My format is that the band has to be from Germany, Austria or Switzerland...that means, you can hear Rock, Techno, EBM, Medieval, Pop....there are no musical borders...That makes the show unique and wide open. And Radio Goethe is not anymore a local show, responses are coming from all over the world. Today the show is aired in nine countries on radio stations + the online community.

What has been the response from musicians?

They appreciate the work and the effort. I have been there when the internet became bigger, meaning, I was there when listeners found Rammstein and looked for more. And they found Radio Goethe and bands like Megaherz, Oomph, In Extremo....I'm not saying Radio Goethe is an important show, I would describe it more as using the ways that are laid out to promote the music and the culture. Bands appreciate it, because I don't have a commercial idea, I don't want to sell anything, I don't make money off it...I just try to promote a different picture of Germany through music.

How does creating the music show differ from the news one?

The music show is focusing on the music, the News show came later with the intention to offer content in different areas for listeners, who are interested or have become interested in Germany. You can hear News and reports from Germany, interviews and features about topics reaching from politics to cultural events.

How do you come up with ideas for the news show?

I'm a journalist, that's my profession.

What other projects are you working on?

As I mentioned, I'm a correspondent for radio stations and newspapers, for example the Nuernberger Zeitung (, the Atlantic Times ( or Radio 24 in Zuerich ( Next to that I'm producing and hosting the country/folk/americana program on all long distance flights with, many different projects and ideas...but that makes it very interesting. I don't get bored with my job.

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