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Great State: 65 Years of Channel 4 History Pass Through Jon Spence’s Living Room

NICHOLS HILLS, OKLAHOMA — His living room has been made into a simple, television studio.

On the morning we visit Jon Spence conducts another interview sitting on a comfortable couch.

His subject is Weldon Watson, a WKY, Channel 4 reporter from 1974 to 1978 brought here to discuss his employ at Oklahoma’s first television station.

“WKY-TV was my launching pad,” says Weldon to the camera.

Watson wasn’t the only former WKY employee to come in that day.

Ray Bennett, a director during the 1970’s came in too.

A few days previous WKY’s first staff photographer Johnny Shannon dropped in as did former producer and reporter Gene Allen.

It’s getting to be a regular thing at the Spence household.

The walls of his house echo with great stories from talented broadcasters who came before.

Ray Bennett told us, “I always wanted every other place I worked to be like Channel 4. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. They didn’t have the same quality of people.”

Spence himself worked at WKY from 1963 to 1969.

Sitting at his in-home editing suite Spence jokes, “For continuity sake I’m wearing the same underwear I had on yesterday.”

His employ wasn’t very long compared to other employee standards, but, like so many others, he learned things at WKY that he took to other places.

He cherished his Channel 4 memories too much to let them ‘fade to black’.

“I just took it upon myself to start recording these things,” says Spence. “People have been so gracious to come to my home and sit in the famous chair, and talk to the camera like I’m doing now. I don’t ask them questions or pump them for information. They just remember all the good times we had.”

Over the past couple of years Spence has interviewed more than 50 different people, from current personalities to some of the first WKY employees.

He’s talked with anyone who ever worked at Channel 4 and who was willing to sit. “If nobody watches that’s fine,” he says. “But if you don’t record them, nobody hears them.”

He publishes his videos to YouTube.

It’s television history now on the computer, old and new, great memories on the air and the cloud.

Click here if you’re interested in watching Spence’s WKY interviews.