Interview with Julia Joubert, host of "What's the Mate?"

"Berlin is inspiring me to stay"


Julia is a radio presenter and producer from Cape Town, South Africa, who left the city of sunshine and seaside to explore the broadcast medium in Berlin. She’s an avid improvisor, plant collector, coffee drinker and newly converted Zumbist (apparently Zumba is no longer limited to middle-aged women). She’s unimpressed with German bureaucracy, but says that their dedication to baked goods might just make up for it.

BR: What inspired you to move to Berlin? Was there a particular story, person, or opportunity that made you say, "now THAT’s the city I want to live in?"
Julia: For some reason Berlin always stood out to me as a city for the creative, I don’t know where I heard it or why it stuck but I felt like if there was one place where I would truly and freely be able to dive into my “art”, Berlin would be the place. It’s funny, but I think mine is becoming more of a “Berlin is inspiring me to stay” kind of story rather than a "Berlin brought me here" one.

BR: Before you came to the city, what was your previous experience in the world of radio and podcasting?
Julia: Radio is my biggest passion and my first love. I started out in campus radio at the University of Cape Town, in 2011, where I hosted an array of shows. I went on to join KFM, a commercial music station, as an overnight/early breakfast host between 2014 and 2017. I tried to make the most of my time there, working not only as a host but also in production, sound engineering, social media and even training as a Talk Radio host. The constraints of commercial radio eventually pushed me to start a YouTube channel (The Little Life of Julia). That was the first step for me to find a voice of my own, outside of one that a company was trying to create for me. But I didn't make podcasts until Berlin."

BR: You dove right into the podcasting scene when you arrived into the city. What led to your contacting Bear Radio - how’d you find us?
Julia: I arrived here mid-March 2018 with no apartment, no job and no friends so it was very much a “do or die” time for me. I spent my first few weeks scouring the internet for English-speaking radio stations and podcasts that I could potentially offer my services to. It was through that process that I came across Radio Spaetkauf: they invited me to their Live Recording at Comedy Cafe Berlin. There I met a stranger called Sebastian. We had a chat about radio and podcasting and I truly have him and his impressive Facebook stalking skills to thank for helping me find Bear Radio. He sent me a link to the Bear Radio website, Jill and I had a coffee a week later, and the rest is history - thanks Sebastian!

BR: What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspect of producing "What’s The Mate?" Are there any other podcasts you’d be interested in producing in the future?
Julia: I have felt overwhelming support from all sides. My radio shows in South Africa were a solo gig, the YouTube channel, too, so coming here and meeting the incredible Bear Radio team, and others, has been such an incredible experience. I have had designers, sound engineers, improvisers and even venues help create this little podcast of mine, some of whom had never met me but were willing to lend a hand in whichever way they could. This is 100% a collaborative effort. That has been such a positive driving force in keeping the Mate wheels turning - it’s amazing how much you can achieve when you do things together. There is another podcast in the pipeline, not at all like "What’s the Mate?" but just as close to my heart. Keep your eyes (and ears) on Bear Radio for more.

BR: Last, but not least: Do YOU have any podcast recommendations?
Julia: I can’t say that I have a favourite genre but I can share a few recommendations: S-Town, Criminal, Serial, Women of the Hour, Guys We F****d, Dear Hank & John, My Dad Wrote a Porno,Invisibilia, The Guilty Feminist, Improv4Humans, The Moth, No Such Thing As A Fish, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (I’m a fan, okay!)...there are more but we’ll leave it at that for now!