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.

John Trischitti

Thursday Interview:
Rebroadcast: Midland County’s Library Director John Trischitti on Literacy

Midland County’s Library Director John Trischitti, better known as Mr. T, has put Midland on the map as one of the state’s top libraries. In 2014, he won Texas Librarian of the year, and one of his passions is literacy. In March 2017, Trischitti gave a Ted Talk at Abilene Christian University about the larger implications of illiteracy. Nguyen and John discuss the correlation between illiteracy and lower income, poor health, and greater inequality.

Midland Need to Read summarizes estimates on the literacy gap in Midland County based on reports from Texas literacy organizations:

Recently on West Texas Talk:

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2017:
Best of Live Storytelling

Here are some of our favorite live stories told at our events throughout 2017.

Thanks to Armando Vasquez, Victoria Rios, Gabriela Garfio Carvhalo, Warner Limelighter, and Beckie Hagerman for sharing. There will be many more live storytelling events in 2018 – more details about that to come in the new year.

Friday, Dec 22, 2017:
Best In-Studio Performances of 2017

As you probably know this station is one of the few mixed-format NPR member-stations in the U.S. – If you didn’t know that, basically the term means we split the time between our news and music programming almost equally.

Sometimes the two worlds collide, especially on “West Texas Talk,” where we host musicians from around our broadcast area, the state, and the U.S.

For this special edition of West Texas Talk, we present to you some of the best in-studio musical performances we’ve brought to you in 2017.

Bands & Songs Featured:


Thursday, Dec 21, 2017:
A Radio Documentary: “Dark Skies, Dark Energies” by Ian Lewis

Here in West Texas, there are two major searches ongoing. While companies in the Permian Basin seek more deposits of oil and gas underground, astronomers at McDonald Observatory are searching the sky for an answer to the question: what is dark energy? But while one resource is produced, another is threatened. With the increase in oil and gas activity, the dark nighttime skies are brightening.

Lewis takes us stargazing with Jim and Ana Chandler in their backyard observatory, searching for distant galaxies with Steve Odewahn and Bill Wren at McDonald Observatory, touring the Petroleum Museum in Midland with Kathy Shannon, and drilling for oil in the Alpine High Play. “Dark Skies, Dark Energies gives us a look below, and above, West Texas by exploring two omnipresent entities – oil, and dark energy.

Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017:
Rebroadcast: Dr. Carolyn Boyd, Artist Turned Archaeologist

In this episode, Elise Pepple speaks with Dr. Carolyn Boyd, an artist turned anthropologist who has been studying ancient murals in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands for the last 25 years. Her work is revolutionizing the understanding of North American rock art.

Dr. Boyd’s recent book, “The White Shaman Mural,” builds a case that the mural, which is located near Seminole Canyon State Park, tells the story of the birth of the sun and the beginning of time – which would make it one of the oldest pictorial creation narratives in North America. In 1998, Dr. Boyd founded the Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center to preserve, study, and share this important cultural record.

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017:
Rebroadcast: Johnny Sufficool on Gardens and Art Cars


John Sufficool first came to West Texas in the late seventies. Since then, he’s bounced around all over the region and has become a well-known resident in the Trans-Pecos for his gardening abilities, distinctive art, sotol production, and much more.

In this interview, Nguyen visits Sufficool at his home base in Alpine. They discuss Sufficool’s history in West Texas, his gardening, and his process for creating art cars which have become famous over the years.

Friday, Dec 15, 2017:
Heather Fazio Discusses Medical Marijuana in Texas

Beginning in 2018 Texas will allow epilepsy patients access to medical marijuana, but the new law is criticized as being too narrow. Heather Fazio, Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Texas, explains the in’s and out’s of the new law and stories she’s heard from families who use cannabis as medicine.

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.

Continue reading

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.