AU researcher is host of new show on Radio4

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Biologist Rasmus Ejrnæs will host the weekly nature program ‘Vildspor’ on the new radio station Radio4, which came on the air last week.

2019.11.07 | Marie Groth Andersen

The meaning of 'Vildspor'

The title of the show is a complex play on words.

’Vildspor’ is a compound word that means ‘a track leading in the wrong direction; the wrong way’: ‘vild’ (lost) + ‘spor’ (track). The name of the show plays on other meanings of these two words: ‘vild’ can also mean ‘wild’ + ‘spor’ can also mean ‘trace’: ‘traces of the wild’, ‘tracking the wild’, ed.

Every Saturday from 10 am to noon, AU biologist Rasmus Ejrnæs, a senior scientist at the Department of Bioscience, will be hosting the nature program ‘Vildspor’ on the new talk radio station Radio4, which debuted last week.

Saturday morning is kind of a difficult time slot, he acknowledges. That’s when one of the most popular radio shows in the country runs on DR P4. 

“But I hope that I can lure som listeners away from ‘Mads & Monopolet’,” Ejrnæs laughs.

While he’s never hosted a radio show before, he has a lot of experience with popular science communication, through media appearances, lectures and books. Examples of his work for a general audience include of Tænkepauser-Natur (reflections - nature) and Den uendelige have (the endless garden). 

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press on Radio4

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press have formed a production company that will produce knowledge programs for Radio4.

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press were chosen on the background of their success with popular knowledge dissemination through lectures, events and the Reflections book series.

In addition to ‘Vildspor’, the production company is also behind the knowledge program ‘Kraniebrud’ (skull fracture), hosted by Emil Nielsen, which runs from 2:05 - 3 pm Monday - Thursday and Friday from 1:05 - 2 pm. Nielsen is a former co-host of the children’s science program ‘Store Nørd’ (big nerd) on DR.

Re-enchanting nature

Nature is the focus of the ‘Vildspor’ program. In each episode, Ejrnæs will send biologists Lærke Glerup and Emil Brandtoft into the field to report from the great outdoors. He will stay in the studio, interviewing guests who shed light on different aspects of the program’s main theme: how to give nature the space on our planet it deserves. 

“Nature and humanity are a couple in the middle of a relationship crisis: humanity has taken the whole cake – all the space and all the nutrients – so there’s very little room left for other species. We need a more equal form of co-existence,” Ejrnæs – whose research interests include biodiversity and nature conservancy – explains.

“So ‘Vildspor’ is not about using nature’s resources, which is the case in some other popular programs, like ’Bonderøven’ (the country bumpkin) and ’Nak & Æd’ (kill and eat). We’re focussing on nature because it’s wonderful. We want to re-enchant nature,” Ejrnæs explains.

Knowledge shouldn’t just be a report on a shelf

Radio4’s target audience is listeners with less formal education. And Ejrnæs is more than willing to take on the task of making science accessible to this audience.

“My 9-to-5 job is about doing research and providing science advice. But knowledge shouldn’t just be a report on a shelf. I think it’s important that we as scientists also participate actively in the society we’re a part of,” he says. 

‘Yes, hi, it’s me, the wolf...’

In the ‘Vildspor’ program, Ejrnæs wants to give nature a voice, as he puts it. And he’ll be doing that quite literally in the ‘Naturtelefonen’ (the nature hotline) segment of the show:, when a species that feels like it’s being threatened, ignored or despised can call into the studio and pour out its troubles. 

So a wolf’s going to call in?

“Yes, that’s very likely,” Ejrnæs responds. 

When asked about the risk that the program might develop into a mutual admiration society for biologists, he replies:

“That’s not what this is meant to be. But if you want to give nature a voice, it’s important to have some people who know something about nature. This includes other experts than biologists. I can certainly imagine that we might have a hunter in the studio, a farmer and a horse-whisperer. You definitely don’t have to be a biologist to know something about nature – for example, one of Denmark’s leading experts on flies, Walther Gritsch, is a train conductor,” Ejrnæs says.

Translated by Lenore Messick

The meaning of 'Vildspor'

The title of the show is a complex play on words.

’Vildspor’ is a compound word that means ‘a track leading in the wrong direction; the wrong way’: ‘vild’ (lost) + ‘spor’ (track). The name of the show plays on other meanings of these two words: ‘vild’ can also mean ‘wild’ + ‘spor’ can also mean ‘trace’: ‘traces of the wild’, ‘tracking the wild’, ed.

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press on Radio4

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press have formed a production company that will produce knowledge programs for Radio4.

The Danish University Extension and the Aarhus University Press were chosen on the background of their success with popular knowledge dissemination through lectures, events and the Reflections book series.

In addition to ‘Vildspor’, the production company is also behind the knowledge program ‘Kraniebrud’ (skull fracture), hosted by Emil Nielsen, which runs from 2:05 - 3 pm Monday - Thursday and Friday from 1:05 - 2 pm. Nielsen is a former co-host of the children’s science program ‘Store Nørd’ (big nerd) on DR.


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