My wife and I took a trip to west Texas recently for two reasons: to visit Big Bend National Park and the arts community of Marfa. Big Bend is one of the largest national parks and one of the least visited. It is a stunning mixture of desert and mountains under a sky that is improbably big. Marfa is a town of about 2,000 residents that also is improbable. Marfa is in one of the poorest counties in the country, and at the same time, home to a remarkable and thriving arts community — one whose overarching aesthetic is minimal art by such practitioners as the late Donald Judd, who came here in the 1970s and got the ball rolling.
Another revelation was the existence of KRTS 93.5FM Marfa Public Radio. It’s a cracker jack operation run by a sharp and appealing former Chicagoan, Tom Michael. The station has only been around since 2006, but it’s already built a strong record of programming and service. Here’s an article in The New York Times about its inception. Here’s another one about the role it played in covering devastating wildfires. If you find yourself in west Texas, you owe it to yourself to tune in. The tagline for the station is, “Radio for a wide range.” That includes city slickers from Chicago!