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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Chris Tomlinson spent most of his life comfortable that he knew who he was and where he came from. After all, a small part of Texas was named after his ancestors. Tomlinson Hill is a small town community in Falls County. It's a place where generations of his family carved out a comfortable living from the land.

Before the Civil War, they also owned slaves. But Chris grew up believing what he'd been told: that the slaves his family owned were happy – so happy they took the family name and settled the land after they were free.

It was not until after he returned from 11 years in Africa as the Nairobi Bureau Chief for the Associated Press that Tomlinson decided to delve into his family history. What he learned not only changed his sense of family, it changed his sense of history as well. The result of his search is the book, "Tomlinson Hill."


This year's World Cup tournament captivated tens of millions of people around the country. Television ratings soared, prompting many to ask whether it was finally soccer's moment in America.

But there's another global sporting event taking place right now – one that years ago had folks saying the same thing about cycling.

The Tour de France, a three-week, 2,200-mile bike race through Western Europe, is past the halfway mark of its 21 stages – and headlines surrounding the event seem to have fallen off the sports pages of most American newspapers. 


The 24-hour-news cycle is ingrained into most adults' lives. Global conflict, natural disasters and crime make their way into in our daily discussions with a sense of normalcy. But for the young and impressionable, the news can paint a rather grim portrait of the world. So how do you go about explaining disturbing world events to your children?

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with licensed family and children’s counselor Khris Ford, who gives us some insight on how children perceive the events in the news.


There’s a new hit song in Central America. It’s called “La Bestia” and people in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are requesting it from their radio stations.

But guess what? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioned it.

“La Bestia” refers to a dangerous train called “The Beast” where thousands of immigrants ride to cross the U.S. – risking assaults, robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape. The catchy, upbeat cumbia song is part of Border Patrol’s multi-million dollar Dangers Awareness Campaign, meant to deter immigrants from entering the U.S.

Baylor University

With thousands of children being detained by the Border Patrol along the Texas border, most of the spotlight seems to be focused on government policy and economic response. The Obama administration believes the ongoing immigration crisis is one that will likely to continue, with estimates of up to 90,000 unaccompanied youth being detained by the end of this fiscal year, three times the amount of last year.

While thousands of undocumented migrants successfully make it across the border, many do not. This has led to an overwhelming amount of deceased, many whom are children, that local authorities are unable to properly identify or even bury. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks forensic anthropologist Dr. Lori Baker, who has been working along in South Texas in an attempt to locate and identify the scores of remains along the border.

Harry Ransom Center

World War I stands as a turning point of modern history – a point where industrialization and technology clashed with a bygone imperial policy.

The results were devastating: the four-year conflict involved over a 100 countries and claimed nearly 20 million lives. With its sheer scale it’s easy to forget about the human side of the conflict – the individuals, soldiers, loved ones, and family members who lived throughout the period. 


The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, grabbed international attention of media this year after inciting a rash of violence throughout Iraq, gaining momentum and inspiring young Muslims to take up arms, even some right here in Central Texas

Oxford Brookes University modern history professor Roger Griffin tells Texas Standard's David Brown that ISIS, unlike their predecessor al-Qaida, has cultivated an international online brand that glamorizes jihad.

Rhonda Fanning/Texas Standard

On Thursday, Phil Collins – the multi-million selling British singer, former Genesis drummer, and Texas history buff – returned to the Alamo with an offer: his entire collection of Alamo artifacts, valued in the millions of dollars.

In exchange? Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who oversees the management of the historic site, pledged to build a new structure to display the Collins collection, telling a more well-rounded story of the seminal 1836 battle at San Antonio de Bexar. 

In an exclusive conversation with the Texas Standard's David Brown – recorded in  the Alamo's sacristy – Collins talks about how his fascination with Texas' Independence story blossomed into an adult obsession. 

U.S. Army, flickr.com/soldiersmediacenter

Last week, the Obama administration announced their response to the unraveling situation in Iraq. The U.S. is sending 300 military advisors to help government forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Al-Qaeda augmented militants have recently taken control of much of northern Iraq. 

The White House has not ruled out air strikes, and the possibility of further military action is the talk of Washington. But what about the men and women who served in Iraq? The Texas Standard's David Brown recently sat down with three veterans for a roundtable discussion of recent events.


While the crisis in Iraq is half a world away, it’s impact can be felt here in the U.S.  The rapidly destabilizing region is a base for major Texas oil companies, some of whom have had to evacuate the increasingly hostile environment.  


If you were to ask someone on the street which country has brought more fans to the World Cup this year, many wouldn’t venture that it would be the U.S.

But with the close proximity of the World Cup this year the United States has sent more fans to Brazil than any other nation. U.S. fans also account for the second largest overseas television audience of the event. 

Summer reading season is here. So what are you taking (metaphorically or not) to the beach? 

Fear not: In this edition of Kirkus on the Standard, David Brown speaks with Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith about a couple reading recommendations to get you through the heat.


The U.S Border Patrol says it has been overwhelmed with the massive influx of migrant children crossing into Texas from Central America. Many of them are arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The Border Patrol turned for immediate emergency relief to a group well-versed in emergency relief efforts, including the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief effort.

"We provide temporary solutions. We come in during the crisis,” says director Jim Richardson. The organization just wrapped up its work at the border near Brownsville, where volunteers provided food, safe shower facilities and clean clothes.

After graduating high school, many students work a part-time job, or simply relax over the summer before college. But Jordan Cooper is busy writing and producing plays.

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with the 18-year-old playwright about his passion for drama. Coopers' play "Black Boy Fly" is being performed at the Jubilee Theatre in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area this upcoming weekend.

The inspiration to write has been with Cooper ever since he was five-years-old. "I would always used to scribble things on a piece of paper and call everyone into the living room – and at 7 p.m. it was showtime," he says.

Matt Largey/KUT

Bikers are flocking to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. The event, now in its eighteenth year, brings thousands of bikers and spectators to Austin from across the country.

Among the estimated 40,000 bikers in attendance, you may take notice a growing number of women riders – reflecting a national trend that one in four riders are women. .

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Austin bike aficionado and ROT rally patron Teffany Lovell about the increased presence of female riders and what has caused the shift.


Eat this, not that. Exercise daily – but don’t overdo it. Go easy on the salt. Limit your caffeine. Take the white pills in the morning with food and the yellow ones in the evening with water.

Wait – what?

Following the doctor’s orders isn’t always so easy – especially for people with chronic conditions, who often have multiple medical providers. Sometimes it's just plain confusing. Bur now a new app's come along to help with all that – and it could be a lifesaver.

Patient IO is being developed by Texas-based Filament Labs, a healthcare technology company headquartered in Austin. The new app promises to bridge the gap between patients and doctors. 


Google is taking the wheel – taking it literally out of the car.

The company is set to launch a test fleet of driverless cars in the near future. It's completely reimagining the automobile, removing fundamental features like the gas pedal and the steering wheel. The work raises a fundamental question: is there a market for such automated vehicles?

The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with University of Texas engineering professor Kara Kockelman, who has analyzed how driverless cars may impact our society. “We’re all incredibly busy, we’d love to have that time to be getting things done … legally … in our vehicle,” she says.

Texas Tribune

Earlier this year, our partners at Texas Monthly opined that 2014 might just be the year for Latina women in Texas politics. But this week, Texas lost it's most politically powerful Latina – and chances are you may not have heard her name until now. 

Grace Garcia died this week in North Texas, en route to a political event featuring Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis. Garcia was Executive Director of Annie's List, a group committed to electing Democratic women.

Though Garcia was unelected, her impact on national and regional politics will likely span generations. So says political strategist Harold Cook in a moving tribute.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While fracking for oil along the Texas border has become a big business for petrol companies, a new entity seeks to tap into the lucrative market – drug smugglers.  

As infrastructure and activity increases to meet the demand of the booming industry, drug smugglers are starting to take advantage of the new roads and increased traffic, much of which is located on private ranch lands.  

“Because there are so many different companies, and so many different trucks going through that area, it provides a sort of way to blend in if you will,” National Journal writer Ben Geman tells The Texas Standard's David Brown. “Essentially what’s happening is you’ve got smugglers who are stashing marijuana, or other drugs, in trucks that are either 'cloned' to look like one of the industry trucks, or some type of truck that seems to fit right in driving around on these ranch lands.”

Flickr user Doug L., flic.kr/ps/2bA2fE

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Game Two of the NBA's Western Conference playoff.

While the game's on the Spurs' home court in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, several Spurs players don't hail from San Antonio – or Texas – or even the United States for that matter. In fact, the Spurs are the most international team in the NBA.

Other teams are on their way. In the 2013 NBA draft, the number one pick was a Canadian. This year, the number one pick may well be another Canadian.