Marathon, Texas

Actually, it’s not fair that the communities in West Texas aren’t worth commenting on. Marathon and Marfa are doing well in expanding their offerings to tourists, though it’s slow coming.

When I was here in 2009, Marfa Public Radio had just started operating with a community radio format. It was remarkable because it was an FM signal that actually reached, almost, Big Bend National Park. It was classic community radio: volunteer DJ’s and announcers, eclectic interviews with local characters, insanely spotty coverage, but happily embraced by all the residents out here for it’s newness. Over the years they invented several tag lines, my favorite was “Radio with a Wide Range” which described both their signal and their social diversity. You never knew what you’d hear, if it was even hearable where you were.

I was mainly disappointed that as I drove into radio range, much larger now with repeaters and such, that it had gone full NPR programming with the usual top-rated programs found in any large market. There is an hour of locally-spun music, and a half hour interview program.

It isn’t the Marfa Public Radio that I liked so much.

It will be close to freezing tonight in Marathon and for the next few nights as I travel. That’s good because I picked up a ton of bugs down in the RGV that I hope could be encouraged to leave or die when it gets cold. I managed to avoid the fire ants, but have been invaded by those teeny black ants that are everywhere in south Texas. Then there are the random selection of insects that come in on the roadside fruit I insist on buying.

All is going well.

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