West Texas Talk


West Texas Talk is a weekly roundup of interviews for West Texas Public Radio.

In this hour we spotlight interviews conducted on-the-air for KXWT in the Permian Basin and on our sister station KRTS in the Big Bend.  West Texas Talk also draws from conversations we curate from public radio producers across the state and across the country.

The program is broadcast on 91.3 FM weekdays at 6:30 p.m. and hosted by station manager Tom Michael. We welcome your comments and your suggestions for interview guests at info@kxwt.org


Recently on West Texas Talk:

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017:
Cedar Sigo

On this edition of West Texas Talk, Natalie Melendez sits down with Lannan Poet in-residence Cedar Sigo.

Sigo studied writing and poetics on scholarship at The Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and has spent time learning from poetic greats such as Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Joanne Kyger, among other poets.

In this conversation Sigo speaks about his past works, upcoming works, influences, and the future of his poetry.

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017:
Marfa Live Arts Playwright-In-Residence Georgina Escobar

Marfa Live Arts’ 2017 playwright-in-residence Georgina Escobar will present her new play BEACONS on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at the Crowley Theater. The show will be performed by Mindy Leanse with support by actors from the community.

BEACONS is a satirical work envisioning a fictitious dystopian society with “Divisible and Justice for Some.” After an ignorant, thick-lipped, evil clan of males take over the country, America has lost a Civil War. Puritanical Fascism rules the land. The divide affects women, too. In New York City, they have broken up into many clans—and they have been fighting everyone, including one another, for years… until now.

During her time in Marfa Escobar will also teach Marfa Live Arts’ 6th Annual Playwriting Workshop with Marfa High School students April 17-21, 2017. Her work with Marfa Live Arts in collaboration with Marfa Independent School District is the primary reason Escobar will be in Marfa. She will work one-on-one with students in their English classes helping them write their own plays.

More information about BEACONS here.

Friday, Apr 14, 2017:
Photographer Daniel Lombardi Captures Border Geography

Daniel Lombardi is a photographer who works on long-term documentary photography projects. He spent six weeks traveling along the border from West Texas to California, photographing politically contentious landscapes.

He wanted to see if the landscape and the geography would reflect the political divisions that have been thrust upon them. From border villages to border cities he photographed the walls and fences built years ago and he hiked up rugged mountains to photograph the landscapes that could still be divided by a wall.

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017:
The Hard Truth

On this edition of West Teas Talk, Lauren Hunt and Mathew Largent of Austin-based Americana Duo The Hard Truth joined Jackson Wisdorf in Marfa Public Radio’s Studio A for an interview and  in-studio performance – including songs from their debut album Gentle Lies and a sneak peak of their upcoming album.


Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017:
Weather Spotting Classes Come to West Texas

The National Weather Service (NWS) has radar scattered throughout the country to help identify weather patters, create weather alerts, and forecast future conditions.

But it turns out there’s a limit to radar technology. The farther you are from a radar’s center, for example, the less is known about the lowest layer of clouds. So the NWS relies on human volunteers — weather spotters — to call in updates and conditions and help complete the meteorological picture.

In order to get a jump on the spring and summer storms, the NWS will be hosting weather spotting classes throughout West Texas over the next few weeks.

They’re called SKYWARN classes, and they’re led by Mark Strobin. He’s a Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service and he’s our guest tonight on West Texas Talk.

We talk about the limits of radar technology, the impact weather spotters have on NWS forecasts, and weather spotting as an act of community service.

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017:
Dr Fred Beach From University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute

On tonight’s West Texas Talk, Lorne Matalon discusses the U.S.-China relationship and China’s energy policy with Dr Fred Beach, a senior researcher focused on energy policy at the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute.

The discussion focuses on China’s energy policy and its relationship with the U.S. The interview was recorded as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were meeting in Florida and a day after the U.S. launched missile strikes against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens that killed 80 people with children and babies among the victims, strikes that China and Russia have criticized.

Friday, Apr 7, 2017:
Joan Naviyuk Kane, Lannan Fellow

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Laura Copelin sits down with Joan Naviyuk Kane, the current Lannan Fellow.

Kane is a poet from Anchorage Alaska and is the author of the poetry collections Hyperboreal (2013), which Arthur Sze chose for the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, and The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (2009). Her honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and a Creative Vision Award from United States Artists as well as fellowships and residencies from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the School for Advanced Research. She lives in Anchorage.

Thursday, Apr 6, 2017:
Boom or Bust: A Collection and Study of Energy Narratives

Elise Pepple speaks to Professor Jason Lagapa about UT PB’s project “to help promote understanding Permian Basin’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective.” This project is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and includes a speaker series, writing workshops and book clubs. In this program, you hear personal essays from Kristen Figgins, Daniella Garcia, Emily Weinberg, and Jessica Terrell.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, Apr 5, 2017:
Producer in Residence: Scott Carrier

Scott Carrier produces the podcast “Home of the Brave,” and has contributed to several radio and print outlets like “This American Life.” He came to our station as our first producer in residence, a new program we initiated to encourage mentorship of young producers and coverage of the region. In this episode, Elise Pepple talks to Carrier about how he got started in radio, and the story he worked on during his time spent in the Big Bend. You’ll also hear a snippet from Carrier’s first radio story, “The Hitchhiker.” Scott’s story about the border will be available on his podcast, “Home of the Brave.”

Tuesday, Apr 4, 2017:
West Texas Inauguration Road Trip

For this edition of West Texas Talk, we take you back to January.

On a cold and rainy Saturday after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, this radio station sent seven reporters across west Texas (Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis, Balmorhea, Presidio, Midland, Odessa, Fort Stockton, and Coyanosa) to hear from the listeners of this station to hear the wide range of how everyone was feeling about our new president.

The voices and opinions we gathered were as diverse as the people who call west Texas home.

Things like the inauguration road trip are only possible through the support of our listeners.

We’re asking for your help now for our Spring Membership Drive, so if you enjoy hearing and would like to continue hearing the voices of the large community that is west Texas, please show your support by making a tax deductible donation today.

This special was produced by Jackson Wisdorf and Diana Nguyen – Reporting for this special was done by Sally Beauvais, Zoe Kurland, Travis Lux, Bayla Metzger, Diana Nguyen, Elise Pepple, Lana Straub, and Jackson Wisdorf