West Texas Talk — Marfa Public Radio’s flagship program — made its debut when the station launched and is now a repository of hundreds of local profiles.
The show is hosted by Diana Nguyen and other contributors. The program is also produced by Diana Nguyen.
The program features discussions about regional issues and topics with residents and experts. Whether looking at immigration on the border, delving into West Texas history, or having conversations about the Big Bend’s changing towns — we hope to explore the topics that matter most to residents.
The show also celebrates the creative spirit of Far West Texas and features conversations with writers, musicians, filmmakers, and artists who both live here and pass through the region.
Subscribe to the West Texas Talk podcast on Apple Podcasts.
West Texas Talk broadcasts on Thursday at 6 pm and rebroadcasts Friday at 9 am.
The show’s theme music was composed by Andy Stack.
Diana Nguyen talks to Marilu Hastings and Dr. Michael Young about Respect Big Bend. Their coalition’s mission is to empower stakeholders to conserve the unique resources of the Big Bend while developing energy responsibly.
Marilu Hastings is the vice president of sustainability programs for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation — the primary funder of the Respect Big Bend initiative.
Dr. Michael Young is a scientist with the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT Austin. He’s been working with a team to study energy projections in Far West Texas.
They discuss Hastings’ impetus for helping start the initiative and the findings from Dr. Young’s research.
Nguyen talks to Brendan Byrne — a reporter for NPR member station WMFE in Orlando. He covers all things space and is the host of “Are We There Yet?”, a podcast about space exploration.
They discuss Blue Origin’s mysterious operations in West Texas.
Carlos Morales talks to journalists Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga. They’ve both spent their life’s work covering the U.S.-Mexico border.
Alfredo Corchado is the border correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and is the author of Midnight in Mexico and Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration.
Angela Kocherga is a journalist who’s worked in radio, tv, and print. She’s currently covering the border for the Albuquerque Journal.
They discuss their work as journalists, immigration policy, and the roots of the mass migration from Central America.
For the second part of the show, Rachel Monroe talks to Lannan writer-in-residence Toni Jensen.
They talk about Carry, Jensen’s forthcoming memoir-in-essays about gun violence. They also discuss Cowboyistan, Jensen’s forthcoming fictional novel that looks at the links between fracking and sex trafficking.
Jensen currently teaches at the University of Arkansas and at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
She will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, June 16 at 6 pm.
Josh T. Franco and Ester Sanchez with the altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Marfa (Courtesy of Josh T. Franco)
On this episode, Diana Nguyen talks to archaeologist David Keller about his latest book, In The Shadow Of The Chinatis: A History of Pinto Canyon in the Big Bend. Keller dives into the history of the early ranchers who settled the area and examines the forces that changed the land’s use over time.
As part of Agave Festival, Keller will read from his book at 6 pm on Tuesday, June 4th at the Crowley Theater.
Later, Elise Pepple talks to Josh T. Franco. He grew up in West Texas and is an artist and the National Collector at the Archives of American Art.
Franco talks about the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Marfa in the nineties and the altar that commemorates the sighting located at the home of Ester Sanchez. In the conversation, he unpacks the altar’s relationship to the works of Donald Judd.
Archival photos can be found on buildings around Marfa for the next year. (Elise Pepple / Marfa Public Radio)
Emily Esfahani Smith (Courtesy of)
Elise Pepple talks to Borderland Collective’sJason Reed and Mark Menjivar. The organization is a long-term art and education project that utilizes collaborations between artists, educators, youth, and community members to engage complex issues and build space for diverse perspectives, meaningful dialogue, and modes of creation and reflection.
Reed and Menjivar recently collaborated with the Blackwell School Alliance — an organization that preserves the history of the once-segregated school for Mexican American children in Marfa.
The public art project combines oral history and archival photos that can be seen on buildings around Marfa for the rest of the year.
You can find more about the project here, and hear stories at the Blackwell School Alliance SoundCloud. A Blackwell newspaper can be picked up at Marfa Public Radio.
Later in the program, Pepple talks to writer Emily Esfahani Smith. She writes about culture, psychology, and relationships. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She’s the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.
They discuss the four pillars of a meaningful life.
On this episode, we wanted to celebrate former co-host of “Una Hora Con Primo,” Wile Quintana, who died earlier this month at 78. We’re featuring a conversation he had with former Marfa Public Radio intern Mia Warren in 2015. They talk about what it was like to grow up in Marfa in the forties and fifties, and how Quintana became an amateur historian.
For the first half of the episode, Diana Nguyen talks to filmmakers Joe Cashiola and David Fenster about A Texas Myth. The documentary looks at the resistance that sprung up in 2016 at the Two Rivers camp against the Trans-Pecos Pipeline.
A Texas Myth will be screened at the Crowley Theater on Tuesday, May 14th at 7:30 pm.
This is the first episode of the new hour-long format of West Texas Talk!
The first half hour will feature conversations with interesting West Texas Personalities and discussions about regional issues. The second half of the show will focus on arts and culture. That’s where you’ll hear from the Lannan writing residents, artists, and musicians passing through town.
The guests on this inaugural episode will both be featured this weekend during CineMarfa. First, you’ll hear film producer Carolyn Pfeiffer discuss her life and illustrious career. Later in the program, Eileen Myles talks about their work and the economics of being a poet.
On Sunday at 1 pm, Pfeiffer will talk about her work and Present Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard at the Crowley Theater.
On Sunday at 5:45 pm, there will be a screening of Myles’ film The Trip at the Crowley Theater.
You can find the full schedule of CineMarfa events here.
On this episode, Diana Nguyen talks to historian Lonn Taylor.
The Rambling Boy published Turning the Pages of Texas earlier this year through TCU Press — a collection of essays about some of his favorite Texas authors. They discuss the book, his life, and his forthcoming memoir.
You can find Taylor’s broadcasts on The Rambling Boy podcast on itunes, or here.
On this episode, Ryan Paradiso speaks to Lannan Resident Carolina Ebeid. Her first book, You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior, was named one of the ten best debut collections by Poets & Writers Magazine in 2016. Ebeid is a Poetry Editor at The Rumpus.
They talk about the ephemeral nature of poetry, silence, and the poetics of whispering.
Ebeid will read at 6 pm on Saturday, April 20 at the Crowley Theater.