West Texas Talk

West Texas Talk is your weekday interview program on Marfa Public Radio, at 6:30 PM.

West Texas Talk 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, May 25, 2017:
Dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Elise Pepple and curator Jennifer Burris Staton talk with modern dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. The dancers met while in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and now perform together in non-traditional spaces, such as barns, abandoned buildings and, now, ranch land. The dancers discuss their ideas around ritual, improvisation, and blurring the barriers between performers and audience members.

Mitchell and Riener will be performing, with accompaniment by saxophonist Phillip Greenlief, this Sunday May, 28th on Fieldwork Marfa’s Antelope Hills Land from 7pm to sunset. This performance is part of Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin, a weekend of events produced by Marfa Live Arts. For a full schedule of events as well as maps, go to www.marfalivearts.org.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017:
Youth Media Podcast

From I Love Dick to tourism-oriented media, Marfa has been in the news a lot lately. Today on West Texas Talk, we feature a podcast produced by our Youth Media student reporters about their lives in Marfa. The podcast was produced by 10 high school students at Marfa ISD with help from Sally Beauvais and Zoe Kurland. It includes segments on tourism, housing, cruising around town (a favorite student pastime), Marfa’s various forms of trailer park, and The xx’s music video shoot in Marfa.

This concludes our 5th season of KRTS Youth Media. Congratulations to this year’s student reporters: Coy Dominguez, Kaci Flores, Ricky Guevara, Damian Hernandez, Kat Hinojos, Christian Muench, Alyssa Olvera, Lalli Sanchez, Kendra Serrano, and Erik Vasquez.

For more, check our Youth Media Soundcloud and Facebook pages.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017:
Marfa Sounding 2017

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with Marfa Live Arts Board President Nina Martin and Curator Jennifer Burris Staton about the details behind his year’s Marfa Sounding, happening Memorial Day weekend.

This concert series emerges from a 2015 residency hosted by Fieldwork: Marfa – An international research program for emerging artists, curators, and researchers sponsored by two major European art schools.

Marfa Sounding is also produced by JD DiFabbio with support from Cate Cole Schrim.

Friday, May 19, 2017:
Jaclyn Garcia, History Wunderkind

On this episode of West Texas Talk, we are joined in the studio by Jaclyn Garcia, a Valentine High School student who has been competing in the history fair for the last 6 years and has finally made it to nationals with her presentation on the French Revolution. We are also joined by her sponsor, Bianca Porras, who has been working with Jaclyn since she first began competing and will be accompanying her to Maryland.

Jaclyn talks being a perfectionist, weird president facts, and what it’s like to present her project to a room full of people.  To check out Jaclyn’s project on the french revolution, go to http://24874292.nhd.weebly.com/


Thursday, May 18, 2017:
Gabbie Paulo of the Midland County System of Care on Mental Health in West Texas

May is mental health awareness month, and the Midland County System of Care is hosting Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Celebration on Saturday, April 20th. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Midland Centennial Library.

Diana Nguyen talks to Gabbie Paulo, a spokesperson for the Midland County System of Care. The organization helps families and youth in the juvenile justice system by connecting them to mental health care in the area. In this program, we discuss access to resources, challenges to improving mental health care in west texas, and stigma of mental illness.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017:
Texas Representative Conaway on Comey, NAFTA and More

On this episode of West Texas Talk, we hear from congressman Mike Conaway whose district includes Odessa and Midland. In April, the republican congressman took over the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interfering in the 2016 election.

This conversation was recorded  Monday May 15, before reports that former FBI Director James Comey — in a memo — recalled a meeting in the Oval Office, in which President Donald Trump asked Comey to end the federal investigation into the president’s former national security advisory, Michael Flynn…who was fired after it became clear flynn had contact with Russian officials about sanctions on the country, prior to the president’s inauguration.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017:
With Pronghorn Population Rebounding, New Concerns Arise

For roughly six years now, researcher with the Borderlands Research Institute have worked to revitalize the pronghorn population in West Texas.

At its historic low, the pronghorn population wilted to roughly 3,700 in 2011. Today it has rebounded to about 6,000, and researchers say that has brought new problems. As female pronghorns are beginning to fawn, they’re heading into new areas and crossing roads — where they can potentially be hit by passing vehicles. This is one of the new issues facing researchers as they hope to strengthen pronghorn numbers.

Since their restoration project began, researchers have worked with ranchers in the Trans-pecos area to modify fences so that pronghorns can pass through more easily. This – coupled with other factors like drought conditions – is what researchers believe spurred the animal’s decline. But with their gradual return to the West Texas plains, researchers are hoping the pronghorn are here to stay.

Friday, May 12, 2017:
Shara and Mona do Improv!

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Diana Nguyen and Zoe Kurland sit down in the studio with Shara Ton and Mona Thompson, two full-time improvisors taking a road trip through the country. Mona talks about her improv company in the Bay Area and the process of teaching Silicon Valley Tech Moguls how to be human. Shara speaks on her radical career shift from writing sex tips in Men’s Health Magazine to going to clown school in San Francisco and how she feels about the widespread fear of clowns. In this talk, you will hear about the history of clowning, what life looks like as a full-time improvisor, and what Diana and Zoe sound like counting to three back and forth.

Thursday, May 11, 2017:
Sondre Lerche Passes Through Marfa

Sondre Lerche sits down with Elise Pepple to talk about lullabies, heartbreak, and the newest album, Pleasure.

The musician plays an acoustic version of the song, “I Know Something That’s Gonna Break Your Heart.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017:
Reporter in Residence Mónica Ortiz Uribe

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Elise Pepple sits down with reporter in residence Mónica Ortiz Uribe. They talk about the qualities of a great journalist and the importance of telling the stories of those who are not often heard. Monica goes into her career, talking about key moments in her career where she was able to gain perspective on her own life and position, for example, what it meant to be able to cover a drug war in Juarez during the day and return home to El Paso at night when many of her colleagues did not have that luxury. She also shares some “wow” moments, including an interview with a man who drove his grand piano up a mountain in a dump truck full of potatoes.

More about Mónica:

Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a second generation Mexican-American who’s dedicated her journalism career to writing about the U.S./Mexico border, where she was born and raised. She is currently a freelance reporter based in her hometown of El Paso. She last worked for Fronteras Desk, a regional public radio network focused on the southwest border. Among other topics, her stories explore the impacts of international trade, Mexican judicial reform, and water scarcity in the southwest. She was one of the few reporters based in El Paso to rigorously cover a violent drug war in Ciudad Juárez. Mónica has a degree in history from University of Texas at El Paso. This fall she’ll be headed to Columbia Journalism School in New York to earn her master’s degree. You catch her stories on national news shows like NPR’s Morning Edition and PRI’s The World.