On this week’s West Texas Talk, we’re pulling back the curtain to take you inside Marfa Public Radio… pandemic style. To start off, host Elise Pepple talks with Diana Nguyen, the former host of West Texas Talk and now the station’s pandemic news director. They discuss the difficulties of running a radio station remotely in this time of social distancing. Nguyen also describes the work that has gone into creating new content to address the pandemic and the cultural shifts that have accompanied it — everything from reporting from home to creating PSAs on the fly to coordinating community projects like the Tiny Porch concert series.
Then, Pepple and Nguyen call up reporters Mitch Borden and Carlos Morales to hear about their experiences working as journalists remotely. The conversation offers a glimpse into what life at the station would be like on a typical week — if everyone were in the office working together instead of meeting via video chat. The staff also gets to celebrate their sweep of the Regional Edward R. Murrow awards this year!
After hearing from the reporters, Pepple checks in with Jacob Rockey, operations and programming manager and the newest member of the team. Jacob moved to Marfa about two months ago, and he shares his experience of adjusting to a new job and a new town during this strange time of quarantine. In the final segment this week, Pepple calls Hannah Siegel-Gardner, the station development director, who has been working from home to keep Marfa Public Radio funded.
After this week, we’ll be taking a break from this show for a while. (Spoiler: The coronavirus pandemic makes it really hard to produce a local interview show.) So thanks for tuning in, and hopefully we’ll be back with new West Texas Talk before too long!