The Late, Great John Talley of KBOO-FM

I posted this on my Facebook page — but wanted to make sure that y’all saw this.


John Talley and Arigon Starr at KBOO-FM

Native radio legend John Talley of KBOO-FM with Arigon Starr.

Wanted to note the passing of one of my friends in Portland, Oregon — John Talley. He was the long-time host of “Indian World,” a weekly Native American-themed show on community radio station KBOO-FM.

John and KBOO-FM were one of the earliest supporters of my music. When I released my first CD, “Meet the Diva” back in 1997, I mailed a copy to the station hoping they would find a place for the pop music I put together. KBOO was one of the very few stations who actually contacted ME and told me they had added my CD to their playlist.

In 1998, I ventured out on one of m first “tours” — which was really me, my guitar and the task of returning a friend’s car from San Diego to Seattle. I made lots of new friends that trip, many who have become like family. My Portland area host that trip was the beautiful Cathy Kehoe and her fantastic daughter Mary Sue Gulzow, who I had met the previous year in Las Vegas. Cathy’s son, Gary Bennett was a member of the ultra-cool alt-country band BR5-49, and me and my sister Gay Wahpecome followed them around like…well, groupies. Okay, I’ll own that! AAY!

I made sure to contact KBOO and let them know I was in town. John Talley told me to come on down and they would put me on the airwaves. Boy, did they! I brought my guitar and performed acoustic versions of songs like “Navajo Radio” and “Indian Bones.” John had a young co-host with him at the time, Spider Moccasin aka Marcus Moseley. We all got on like a house on fire. There was much laughter, heartfelt stories and great music every time we got together.

The last time I saw John, he was definitely slowing down. He told me that he was okay with that…and that he had lived a full life. I had to marvel at his journey. He was a great storyteller and always had lots of plans and ambitions to remind folks that Native people are still here.

Wanted to also share this note from Marcus/Spider about his last visits with John.

I have been to the death bed of John Talley twice in recent times. The oldest native American programmer from Community Radio KBOO 90.7 FM has not got long to live now. Portland, Oregon is about to lose the radio show host with the friendliest, most optimistic tribal content ever heard in these parts for more than a quarter century.

John Talley’s people are from New York, but he made his home in the Pacific NW after the Korean War. He had his own coin and rare stamp shop for awhile, before becoming a volunteer radio show host in the early 70’s at KBOO. Talley has had many co-host sidekicks, including Samantha from Eugene, Derek Romero, Chris Lee, Red Wilow, and myself.

After the fall that broke his hip a couple years ago, Talley’s legendary status as a gregarious lone wolf, prowling the taverns of Portland’s SE, finally ended, leaving behind countless drinking buddies and old friends. But for awhile, John could still be seen zipping about on his scooter, always smiling his friendly smile from underneath his immaculate white van dyke beard and his shiny bald head.

John Talley absolutely refused to become a resident of any old folks’ home or retirement center. He preferred his independence right up to the end, and has been feisty with certain nurses. John’s body might be ready to quit, but his spirit will never give up the ghost! Maybe now, after so many long decades being Portland’s premier tribal radio man, old John Talley is finally about to move on to his Happy Hunting Grounds.

Please pause for a moment to say a prayer for Community Radio KBOO 90.7 FM DJ John Talley, the host of Indian World, and about the nicest, sweetest old man one could ever hope to be mentored by. My celebrated songwriting would not even exist without the broadcast destination, opportunity, and warm audience that Talley shared with me, for which I will be forever grateful.

Marcus Moseley AKA Mr. Spider Moccasin

If you’re in Portland or near a computer on April 1st, Spider/Marcus is going to pay tribute to John Talley live on KBOO. Here’s the details:

Spider Moccasin
Memorial broadcast concert for the late, great John Talley, host of Indian World
Live on the air, after 10 years
Sunday, April 1, 2012, 6:30 – 8 PM
Community Radio KBOO, 90.7 FM, Portland, Oregon

I’m gonna tune in and remember all the good times with John. He was one memorable Mohawk man.

Support your local Native American radio people — wherever you are and whatever station you listen to!

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