Country Music · Cowpoke Radio

Willie Nelson, Disc Jockey

Willie Nelson - KVAN Radio Advertisement

Around about the same time that he was working on becoming one of the greatest legends in American music history, Willie Nelson was also gainfully employed behind the microphone as a disc jockey for several Country radio stations, spinning records during the day, then singing his own tunes at night.

As recounted in his must-read memoir, “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” young Texas Willie Nelson worked the airwaves in Fort Worth, Texas, before moving west to Vancouver, Wash., just across the mighty Columbia River from Portland, Ore., where his mother lived at the time. (He worked at several other stations around Texas while serving his apprenticeship as a singer-songwriter, to varying degrees of success, getting fired from nearly all of them for keeping late hours onstage in clubs and failing to show up on time for his DJ gig.)

Showing here is a circa 1956 print ad for Willie’s “Western Express” program on KVAN (910 AM in Vancouver, “the station with the sense of humor”), where he hosted the 2:30 to 3:30 PM shift, six days a week, proudly proclaiming himself as “yer cotton pickin’, snuff dippin’, tobacca chewin’, stump jumpin’, gravy soppin’, coffee pot dodgin’, dumplin’ eating, frog giggin’ hillbilly from Hill County, Texas” — a bit of doggerel that Willie (a/k/a “Booger Red”*) worked up all on his own.

Man At Radio Controls (Cartoon)

* — Yeah, that’s another story. Read the book!