David Brown

Host & Managing Editor, Texas Standard

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."

A graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, David is currently completing his PhD in journalism at the University of Texas, and helping to launch, as host and managing editor, an innovative news program about which he is genuinely proud and thrilled to be a part of: The Texas Standard.   

Ways to Connect

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUTX

From Texas Standard.

Actor and musician Kevin Bacon is busy touring the Lone Star State with his brother Michael. The two are promoting their self-titled album “The Bacon Brothers,” their seventh studio record. Many Hollywood stars juggle various side projects with their careers, but Kevin Bacon insists his fraternal musical endeavor is serious business. He says it’s typically a challenge for actors to be taken seriously as musicians.

Photo by Leonard Kamsler, courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

From Texas Standard:

When Willie Nelson's landmark album Phases and Stages was recorded in 1973, it was unlike anything being done in Nashville – a concept album, about a relationship coming apart. Metaphorically speaking, Nelson was separating from Nashville, too, a place where he'd long written songs for others. But where the Nashville machine kept him from doing what he loved to do, his return to Texas was a symbolic break with the conservative conventions of the country music industry.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Spring break is a time to relax and get away for vacationers, but it’s a make or break season for businesses along the Gulf Coast. And that’s especially so this year, as the region tries to rebound from Hurricane Harvey. So we at the Texas Standard made a few calls. We asked a basic question – how’s business?

KUT News

From Texas Standard.

As the weather warms up, many Texans tune up their motorcycles and get them out of the garage. Texas ranks third in the nation for the number of registered hogs and choppers, but the industry is in trouble. As baby boomers age out, sales for many manufacturers are either flattening out or falling.

Casey Cheek/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard has been traveling along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Harvey: first Corpus Christi, then Galveston, and today, Beaumont. 

Eric Frommer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Texas Standard interview by Jody Denberg.

Bill Collings dropped out of college to start making guitars.

Little did he know that his passion for exquisite craftsmanship would earn him the respect of musical talents who would help set a new standard for the quality of acoustic sound, and earn him a place in the Texas music scene for the Collings guitar.

Courtesy of Carnegie Library in Bryan, Texas

From Texas Standard:

The wonderful thing about the age of the internet is having a library at your fingertips. Anything is available online. My question: what is the oldest library in Texas? With a click of a search button, there's your answer. Well, answers. According to this map, there are three oldest libraries in Texas. Which is, of course, not logically possible.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott offered his State of the State address yesterday – his second since taking office. Unless you had the patience to sit through the whole hour, you may have missed something. So Texas Standard brings you the highlights of his speech.

"Well today I am proud to report the state of Texas is exceptional," Abbott said.

KUTX

From Texas StandardTerry Allen is a mixed-media southwestern storyteller. David Byrne is a fan of his and a former collaborator. Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams are among the dozens of famous musicians who've covered his songs. His artwork is in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirschorn, and various art museums around Texas. He’s written award-winning plays and cemented a reputation as a creative renaissance man.

David Brown/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A handful of musical instruments are so closely associated with certain artists that the instruments themselves are known by their first names.

Maybe you've heard of Lucille, B.B. King’s favorite guitar, or Eric Clapton's Blackie, the famous Stratocaster you see photos from the 1970s.

From Texas Standard:

The grand tower at the University of Texas at Austin is an architectural icon – an icon that casts a long shadow over Texas.

But on the ground floor, a narrow hallway of blue concrete block, empty under dim fluorescent light, leads to a metal detector that doesn't seem to be working. Even if it were, nothing more than a Coke machine guards the yellow doors.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

On April 17, around 7:50 in the early evening, an explosion at the Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Company rocked the small town of West, Texas. That was three years ago.

Fifteen people died, including 12 volunteers fighting the fire at the plant. More than 160 people were injured. The blast was so severe it caused a small earthquake – the concussion waves were visible to the naked eye. A nearby middle school, nursing home and apartment complex were demolished. Neighborhood homes were destroyed.

It seemed possible that the fires could have been started by a short circuit somewhere – the facility was old – or that a golf cart with dodgy electrics might have been the spark that set off the blaze. But state and federal officials say the explosion at West was the outcome of a criminal act.


Screenshot via YouTube/KaceyMusgravesVevo

From Texas Standard:

Look up Golden, Texas, and you’ll see it's 35 miles north of Tyler. Wikipedia says it's best known for its sweet potatoes. But that’s probably because most folks don’t realize that Kacey Musgraves, who some say is saving country music from itself, just so happens to be from sweet potato country.

Image courtesy Roy's Boys, LLC

From Texas Standard: In West Texas, it’s not just the landscape that's long and lonely – the days and nights are too.

The late musician Roy Orbison once described his youth in Wink, Texas, as football, oil fields, grease and sand. At night, when the sky would light up like Christmas, Roy would grab his guitar, sit in in the family car, and sing. It was a way to fill all that empty space, he once said. The car wasn't big enough to contain the voice of a man who would one day become known the world over as the “Caruso of rock.”

 


Image via Flickr/DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Big time Hollywood actors like Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Antonio Banderas, have immortalized some of the stories of the Mexican Revolution.

As the story's been told for generations, the Mexican people were impoverished by the extravagant lifestyle of president Porfirio Diaz (no relation to yours truly) whose dream was to pave Mexico City in marble. Out of that circumstance, came a need for a "Robin Hood."

 


Image via Flickr/IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Over the past several months, Texas has become home to hundreds of Syrian refugees. These people fled their homes because of terrible war conditions that made life dangerous, unstable and completely unpredictable – a far cry from the ideals of freedom that both Texas and France uphold today.

After Friday’s attacks, and a report that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s refugee screening system from Syria, many are beginning to wonder if Western countries will continue to be as welcoming.

 


Be the Change, Inc./flickr

From Texas StandardAs enormous as the state of Texas is, 95 percent of its land is privately held. So if you're serious about conservation, any efforts on publicly held land are just a start. The next step is convincing private landowners to embrace best practices, too.


Flickr/musicfanatic29 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Alright y’all — it’s time to lasso the Top 5 Texas Songs with KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo!

#5 Luckenback Texas, performed by Waylon Jennings

  • Full title is Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love).
  • A country number one, it only got to number 25 on the pop charts.
  • Luckenbach is actually an unincorporated town — not much there but a dance hall, a working saloon, and a general store.
  • The way the place got associated with music was that Jerry Jeff Walker recorded a live album at the Luckenbach Dance Hall in 1973 — an album called “Viva Terlingua.” Otherwise, the place is pretty unremarkable.

Flickr/Beth Cortez-Neavel (CC BY-NC 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Obama administration announced what it calls the Clean Power Plan — an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. From an international perspective, the plan could give the United States more weight in future discussions on curbing so-called greenhouse gases. But there’s some politics here as well: The move is seen by many analysts as legacy-building, and there’s no doubt Texas is in the crosshairs.

Travis Bubenik of Marfa Public Radio has been following this for Inside Energy. Bubenik sat down with The Texas Standard to discuss President Obama's new Clean Power Plan.

IAEA Imagebank/flickr

From Texas Standard:

Allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted or raped multiple women have been making headlines for several months. Now, thanks to the Associated Press, his previous admission to slipping sedatives to women has come to light. The 10-year-old deposition was part of a sexual assault trial filed by a former Temple University employee against Cosby. The case was settled privately in 2006, so no final verdict was issued.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

In this era of political cynicism, you could argue that few people of either party inspire the sort of fascination that Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis once did.

It was a spectacular moment on the floor of the Texas Senate in 2013. It seemed to come out of nowhere too – a woman in tennis shoes, holding her ground in outrage over limits to reproductive freedom. Seemingly overnight, Davis became the de facto face of Democratic Texas, the loyal opposition on the rise. But after a run for the state’s top office – and a crushing loss to Governor Greg Abbott – Davis seemed to disappear from the political stage.

veggies/wikimedia commons

From Texas Standard:

Television is supposed to draw people closer to the action and make them feel like they're there.

But it doesn't quite feel that way watching footage of the Baltimore riots. It's out there — distant — as we observe and decide for ourselves what went wrong from the comfort of our homes.

Mengwen Cao / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

When Mack Brown stepped down as head coach of the Texas Longhorns football team, he was the second winningest in school history with a national title under his belt. We all know that Mack Brown, but there’s another one — the off-the-field tactician who recruits for nonprofits.

The University of Texas at Austin has announced a new sports leadership initiative.

Flickr user Greg Goebel, https://flic.kr/ps/z7irw

In Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas a new airport is being built. But it won't cater to pilots or offer any amenities common to the typical airstrip –because this one is being built exclusively to house the U.S Army aerial drones.

If an aerial drone fleet housed in a state of the art bunker sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, you're not far off. The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with John Horgan, writer for the Scientific American online and teacher at the Stevens Institute for Technology

Patrice Gilbert

Tech maestro Elon Musk worries too much.

That seems to be Walter Isaacson’s conclusion – at least when it comes to artificial intelligence.

KUT

County clerks in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio could keep their doors open around the clock, should the state receive a ruling lifting a ban on same-sex marriages in Texas.

San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to deliver a ruling that could have thousands of gay couples rushing to gain marriage licenses before a higher court could overrule.

Texas Standard speaks with John Wright, freelance journalist and publisher of Lone Star Q, about what county clerks offices could see.

KUTX

Music legend Ian McLagan has died of complications related to a stroke. He was discovered in his home in Manor last night after he failed to show up for a band rehearsal. He was 69.

McLagan was rushed to University Medical Center Brackenridge and placed on life support. He passed away this afternoon at 2:39. 

"He was a beloved friend to so many people and a true rock n roll spirit," McLagan's manager Ken Kushnick said in an e-mail. "His persona and gift of song impacted the music across oceans and generations."

Mariana Salazar for KUT

President Barack Obama announced broad changes to national immigration policy last night, affecting up to five million undocumented U.S. residents.

Immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least five years, who have children who are U.S. citizens or whose children are legal residents, may stay in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation, provided they register with the government, pass a criminal background check and pay their taxes. 

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