West Texas Talk

West Texas Talk is your nightly interview program that broadcasts Tuesday through Friday at 6:30 PM.

The program features interviews with community members discussing issues that affect our region, along with upcoming local programs and events. You’ll also hear from local and visiting, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and other interesting personalities.

Before March 2015, the program was known as Talk At Ten and was broadcast live at 10 AM.

The program made its debut when the station launched, and as a result, it’s become a repository of hundreds of local profiles. The program is hosted by a revolving list of community members. The theme music for West Texas Talk was composed by Andy Stack.

Do you have an idea for a West Texas Talk topic or guest suggestion? Email diana (at) marfapublicradio (dot) org. Below is a list of current interviews. See previous interviews here.

NEW: Listeners can now sign up for our podcast feed on iTunes. Subscribe today.

Recently on West Texas Talk:

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017:
The State of Renewable Energy

On this episode of West Texas Talk we hear from Carey King on the state of renewable energy in Texas. King is the assistant director of the energy institute at the University of Texas at Austin which looks at the technology, policy and economics of energy.

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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017:
Stories from the Transom Traveling Workshop – Part Two

We bring you the second part of stories from the Marfa Transom Traveling Workshop. Transom has cultivated hundreds of audio producers who are making radio, podcasts, and much more. The class was taught by Rob Rosenthal and Matt Largey, KUT’s Managing Editor. 

The students came here to produce stories about people in the Big Bend in just a single week. You’ll hear about a traveling veterinarian, a post office worker, a certain restaurateur/musician/Justice of the Peace, and a spur collector.

These students who produced these stories are Margot Wohl, Brantley Hightower, Rachel Stevens, and Andrea Gibbs.

Margo Wohl lives in San Diego and is working towards a PhD in neuroscience. Wohl’s been producing short podcasts about scientists on the side.  When she was a kid, she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Brantley Hightower is an architect by trade, but has dabbled in teaching and writing. He’s also a dad.

Rachel Stevens lives in Bozeman, Montana. She works as a Creative Producer at an advertising agency. Stevens also works on documentaries, writes, and now, makes radio.

Andrea Gibbs is an actress and hosts “Weekends with Andrea Gibbs with the Australian Broadcasting Company. She also founded “Barefaced Stories,” a live storytelling show and podcast.

Thanks to Aaron Burbach, Leslie Williams, David Beebe, and Russ Quiett for sharing your stories.

Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017:
Stories from the Transom Traveling Workshop – Part One

We bring you the first part of stories from the Marfa Transom Traveling Workshop. Transom has cultivated hundreds of audio producers who are making radio, podcasts, and much more. The class was taught by Rob Rosenthal and Matt Largey, KUT’s Managing Editor. 

The students came here to produce stories about people in the Big Bend in just a single week. You’ll hear about a policeman, an outdoors man, an aspiring winemaker, a bartender, and a glider pilot.

The students who produced these stories are Bridget Mulcahy, Christine Fennessy, Elizabeth Stewart-Sevry, Kathleen Mcgovern, and Sally Beauvais.

Bridget Mulcahy produces political podcasts in Washington DC and is largely self-taught.

Christine Fennessy is a longtime magazine editor turned podcaster. She helped  produce “The Runner’s World Show,” a weekly podcast for the magazine. To no surprise, Christine loves being outside.

Elizabeth Stewart-Sevry works for Aspen Public Radio. She reports on issues related to the environment, energy and outdoor recreation. She switched to radio from teaching about a year ago.

Kathleen Mcgovern is from Los Angeles. When she’s not producing audio, she’s working for the family business – tending bar.

Sally Beauvais is one of the reporters you regularly hear contribute to station reporting. She moved to Marfa about four years ago to intern at the station. Beauvais also teaches our youth media program.

Thanks to Gilbert Carillo, Roger Siglin, Ricky Taylor, Jerram Rojo, and Burt Compton for sharing your stories.

Friday, Dec 8, 2017:
Rob Rosenthal Visits Marfa with the Transom Traveling Workshop

Rob Rosenthal has taught hundreds of students with Atlantic Public Media’s Transom Story Workshop – a celebrated program that has taught radio fundamentals to numerous audio producers. The website is a resource for those looking to learn the ins and outs of making radio.

For the first time ever, Rosenthal came to Marfa to teach a traveling workshop hosted by this station. Students visited from around the country to learn and produce stories about people who live in the Big Bend – all in a single week.

In this conversation, Pepple and Rosenthal discuss how he got into radio, the workshop, and what makes audio storytelling special.

“Think about how long we’ve been communicating in sound with one another… I don’t know what that sound was like, but I know we were doing it. I think it’s become, over the millennia, essential to who we are as critters… It’s part of what makes us human…” Rosenthal explains.

On Saturday, December 8, you can hear the stories produced during the Marfa Traveling Workshop from 6-8 pm at the Lumberyard.

Rosenthal also produces the podcast HowSound – a show that delves into the backstory to great radio storytelling.

Thursday, Dec 7, 2017:
FullyMaxxed – Creator of Electro-Funk in Far West Texas

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with local musician FullyMaxxed (Max Ferguson) about creating and producing the unique sound of electronically-focused funk music in Far-West Texas.

FullyMaxxed, who hails from the bordertown of Presidio, has been making music since 2013 – mostly from his “bedroom studio”. He is also a full-time student, studying music at Sul Ross State University.

His latest EP, Until Then, sees a slight departure from his earlier “drop-focused” electronic music, and is available now on most streaming services.

Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017:
Midland Storytelling Festival’s Sue Roseberry on the Importance of Sharing Experiences

Sue Roseberry is the Executive Director of the Midland Storytelling Festival. In this interview, she talks about how she became a storyteller and the organization’s upcoming events. Roseberry also shares a personal Christmas story.

A night with Donald Davis, Story Unplugged, will take place on December 8, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church (800 West Texas Avenue, Midland, Texas). The program will begin at 7 pm.

Community Concerts will take place on December 9, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church (800 West Texas Avenue, Midland, Texas). Times are 10:00 am, 11:15 am, and 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017:
West Texas Grassroots Historian & Author Israel Mendoza de Levario

Israel Mendoza de Levario has dedicated decades of his life towards researching his indigenous Jumano ancestry – a heritage many West Texans fail to acknowledge, even though DNA tests show that some 90% of people living in the Presidio-Ojinaga have indigenous blood. On this episode of West Texas Talk, we chat with De Levario about his self-published books and plans for a museum that focuses on the indigenous history of West Texas.



Friday, Dec 1, 2017:
Matthieu Aikins

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with political journalist and Lannan writer-in-residence, Matthieu Aikins.

Aikins is writer who reports on South Asia and the Middle East for magazines like Harper’sRolling Stone, and the New Yorker – In 2008, Aikins traveled overland from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, where he began his career reporting from the region.

His half-Asian features and command of Persian allowed him to blend in as an Afghan, and Aikins began filing stories while traveling in local transportation and sleeping in roadside tea houses.

His breakthrough article came in late 2009, with the story The Master of Spin Boldak, published in Harper’s Magazine, which exposed drug-trafficking by the Afghan Border Police in the town of Spin Boldak – That article was later used to train US military intelligence analysts on the region’s history.

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017:
UTPB’s Boom or Bust Project Collaborates with Permian High School

Professor Jason Lagapa discusses UT PB’s “Boom or Bust” writing workshop and the collaboration with Permian High School. The project aims “to help promote understanding of the Permian Basin’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective.” This project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and includes a speaker series, writing workshops, and book clubs.

In the coming year, the project will continue its speaker series, book club, and writing workshops.

This station is partnering with UTPB to feature essays from the writing workshop on Marfa Public Radio. In this program, you hear personal essays from Permian High School students Corni Ortega, Maggie Lujan, Humberto Zumbia, and Dezmon Goobi. You’ll also hear from their teacher, Katie Groneman and English graduate student Shelby Bullock.

Previous stories from the “Boom or Bust” writing workshop have been featured on West Texas Talk here:

August 2017 – Personal Narratives from UTPB’s Boom or Bust Writing Workshop
April 2017 – Boom or Bust: A Collection and Study of Energy Narratives

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017:
West Texas VA’s Director Kalautie JangDhari on Services and Low SAIL Ratings

In this interview, Director Kalautie JangDhari talks about the challenges for the West Texas Veterans Affair System due to the rural nature of the geography it serves.

This year, the system received a 1-star rating out of 5 (the lowest score possible) for the second year in a row. The Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning Value Model (SAIL) is a system for summarizing hospital system performance within Veterans Health Administration. The assessment is based on measures such as death rate, complications, and patient satisfaction, as well as overall efficiency and physician capacity at individual VA Medical Centers.

JangDhari explains the measures significantly affecting the system’s rating are patient perception, provider retention, and access. “When you’re in a rural environment, it’s very difficult to drive in and be seen because you don’t know about those clinical video telehealth systems, or you don’t know about the phone numbers and our nurse triage system and the other things,” says JangDhari. “Then you can get a little taken aback…”

Part of the West Texas VA’s response to these challenges more engagement and education around the services available in a rural environment – specifically teleheath services. In order to mitigate the burden of long distances, this technology allows patients and physicians to see each other remotely. JangDhari explains, “You might not be seen face to face by a provider, but that doesn’t negate that you have opportunities to be seen through the telehealth system…” The system is also making strides in recruiting healthcare provides who are dedicated to the VA’s mission to serve veterans, whether that be in West Texas or remotely. (The Veterans Choice Program also allows veterans who qualify to see participating community providers rather than driving long distances to VA clinics.)

“What you’re seeing are some methodical and very specifically focused efforts in our customer service, in the access to care that we have, and in the expansion of services that we provide in working with our partners in the community,” says JangDhari, adding she hopes that the West Texas VA will move up from a 1 star rating very soon.

“The West Texas VA Health Care System proudly serves Veterans in 33 counties across 53,000 square miles of rural geography in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. The George H. O’Brien, Jr. VA Medical Center is located in Big Spring, Texas. The Permian Basin Community Based Outpatient Clinic  is located in Midland/Odessa, Texas, with other CBOCs in Abilene, TX, San Angelo, TX, and Hobbs, NM. There are two outreach clinics in Stamford, TX, and Fort Stockton, TX. Two Vet Centers also provide services and are located in Abilene, TX and Midland, TX. More than 56,000 Veterans reside within the service area, of which approximately 17,000 (30%) receive care from the WTVAHCS. On average, the health care system supports over 170,000 outpatient visits annually.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. If you need to speak to someone, you can call 1-800-273-8255.