Small Texas pubradio station takes on coverage of huge wildfires

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Tiny Marfa Public Radio — KRTS/93.5 FM in far west Texas — has “earned its spurs,” writes Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy, as the only news station to sound the warning and then stay with the story Saturday (April 9) when wildfires burned through Fort Davis and the Big Bend. On Saturday afternoon, host and programming director Rachel Osier Lindley was on her way to her second job at a grocery and saw a house west of town ablaze. She called station General Manager Tom Michael, screaming that U.S. 90 was blocked and that she couldn’t get to her own house. They reported the fire and posted a photo on Facebook. The station’s transmitter lost power, so until help and a part arrived from Austin, KRTS posted updates by Web, Facebook and Twitter as the fire burned 50 homes in Fort Davis, a frontier town of about 1,000 residents. “We’re the only broadcaster out here,” Michael said. “Some of our volunteers lost their homes. We have just tried to give information and help share information.” And they’re still on the story, posting updates and dramatic photos.