From “The Rock Lobster” to “Faustschlag”

Welcome to Mephisto, 97.6.

“And a good morning to you. This is DJ Betzner, and you’re listening to A-C-R-N.com. A-C-R-N…the Rock Lobster.”

I know my way around the ACRN studio on the third floor of Baker Center at Ohio University. The station’s on-air hosts enjoy a cozy little studio filled with everything an aspiring broadcaster needs to start an online radio show. I personally host a weekly sports talk and alternative rock show called “Shock of Rock” in addition to a standardized rotational music and general news show.

My first impression of 97.6 Mephisto at Universität Leipzig…Wow.

ACRN’s studio includes a broadcast booth, four small offices and a storage closet overflowing with “Rock Lobster” memorabilia. Mephisto’s studio boasts four spacious, professional booths, two floors with five or six offices, a conference room and a comfortable lounge for the students.

It seems like a small army runs Mephisto, while a few dedicated souls keep ACRN relevant in Athens, Ohio. While Mephisto learned a lot from ACRN when the student organization formed in Leipzig in the early 90s, Ohio University’s station now looks like the nerdy little brother of the high school star quarterback when compared to the station at Universität Leipzig.

The hall of studios at Mephisto.

The students at Mephisto proved to be extremely friendly and helpful. The station threw the American visitors a huge welcoming party complete with a tour of the station, authentic German food samples and plenty of refreshments. The station immediately accepted the Americans into the Mephisto family, helping with navigation of the city, recommending good pubs and restaurants and welcoming everyone into the station with open arms.

I decided to cover sports for my segment of the radio show featuring the American students. Mephisto students Caroline and Hans-Jakob assigned fellow Mephisto student Patrick Eicke to help us learn the equipment and communicate with the non-English speakers on the streets of Leipzig.

Patrick suggested we attend a public viewing of the Euro 2012 quarterfinal soccer game between Germany and Greece. The atmosphere was electric. Fans of all ages filled the street hoping for a German victory. Food stands sold beer, brats and pretzels to the growing crowd.

Patrick helped C.J. and I interview different persons at the public viewing. We captured the atmosphere of the crowd and commented on our perspective as Americans watching a relatively unpopular sport in the United States in a foreign land, a truly unique experience.

Patrick then helped us edit and produce our segment of the radio show and translated all the interviews into English. Our show, “The Americans Take Over,” aired on Wednesday July 11th at about 2 a.m. Athens time. Our hard work, along with the hard work of all our fellow study abroad participants sounded awesome, pulsing through the German airwaves.

I anxiously await to return the hospitality and welcoming arms when several Mephisto students visit Athens, Ohio briefly in September before heading to Washington, D.C. to experience the election for the President of the United States of America firsthand.

I’m already practicing for my first hosting spot the next time in Leipzig…”Guten tag, das ist DJ Betzner auf 97.6 Mephisto!”

In the Mephisto studio.
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