For tonight’s episode of “West Texas Talk,” we remember Ken Whitley of Marfa, who died on January 4, 2018. Whitley, also known as “Christopher Columbus,” was one of the first volunteer DJs at our station. He hosted the show “Boogie Chillun’” with his wife, Shere Whitley. They played blues, gospel, cajun and zydeco music – a nod to his rural Louisiana roots.
“I remember driving down the dark evening highway that night his show first aired,” said former station manager Tom Michael. “It must have been warm enough to have the windows down because I punched my fist into the inky black air during the show opener thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this one will work.'”
Whitley was a former oilman who moved to Marfa later in life. He once said, “There is no such thing as retirement.” And that was evident during his time Marfa, as Whitley kept busy. He picked up creative writing and became a prolific poet. In 2012, we interviewed him about his book, Doolally. He talked to station volunteers Jason Kolker and David Beebe about his work and life.
Tonight, we rebroadcast this conversation and remember his life and contributions to the community.