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Marfa Public Radio is working on a new show called the Desert Dispatch, centered on your voices

Photo illustration by Zoe Kurland

Marfa Public Radio is working on a new show called the Desert Dispatch, centered on your voices. Got something you want to share on the radio? A missed connection? A note to a neighbor? A remembrance? Want to just shout into the void?

At Marfa Public Radio, we view the airwaves not just as a way to relay crucial information, but also as a gathering space for our listeners. In the spirit of this idea, we’re developing a new program called the Desert Dispatch.

Building on our Love Drive and Día de los Muertos programming, Desert Dispatch will become a regular engagement broadcast, spreading that energy year-round. We’re seeing the program as a kind of alternate newscast, an un-newscast.

We see it as a block of time to share messages, missed connections, love notes, appreciations, ride shares, ISOs, good news, and more. The format will mimic that of a newscast: a six minute bulletin from voices across our region. What would it sound like if Presidio, Terlingua, Alpine, Midland, Odessa, Marathon, Marfa and Fort Davis were talking to each other on the air?

This project stems from a love of community radio and all it can teach public media about community engagement. We’re inspired by the Alaska stations that function as a birthday or telephone line, the Colorado stations that offer ride shares and help finding missing dogs, the Ojinaga station that reads obituaries on the air, WFMU’s morning show that reads the cafeteria menu, and so many more.

We would like to develop this program with you. As we begin this process, we want to know what kinds of messages you’d like to hear over our airwaves. Is there something you’ve always wanted to say on the radio? Leave us a voicemail at 1-800-903-5787 with your message by next Thursday (12/8). Or contact zoe@marfapublicradio.org

More to come in 2023.

Zoe Kurland is a senior producer at Marfa Public Radio.