Jon Spence has worked in Oklahoma City television most of his life. Although most of his career has been focused on television advertising, his love affair with the industry began during a Cub Scout field trip in which he learned to make a pretend camera fashioned from an old curtain rod and a shoebox. Throughout most of his youth and all through high school at Harding, Spence could be seen with a Brownie camera in his hand. So he was the natural choice when his brother, who was friends with reporter Bob Chaddock in the news department at WKY-TV, heard of an apprenticeship opening for a cameraman at the historic station in 1963.
Spence rose quickly behind the scenes at WKY-TV running the camera, coiling camera cables and even sweeping the floors when necessary and eventually he made studio supervisor which included helping to create commercials for the station and some of its clients. On-air personality Pat Shockey noticed Spence’s talent and referred him to her husband, Bill, who recruited him for the prominent Glenn Advertising Agency in 1969. While resigning as studio supervisor, Spence’s boss at WKY-TV told him he’d never make it in advertising. But over the next thirteen years Spence wrote, produced and directed a number of commercials for high profile clients at Glenn, picking up several Addy Awards along the way.
Many of the spots seen on the Retro Metro website, including those for Eckhardt Motors, APCO, First National Bank and Gold Spot Dairies, were award winners for the agency. In 1982, Spence joined in a partnership as Angell Bledsoe & Spence Advertising Agency and then eventually struck out on his own. Spence & Associates is still active today producing various video productions, including many of the Metropolitan Library’s author interviews and history videos which can be viewed on the library’s website or their YouTube channel.
The Spence Collection here on Retro Metro OKC represents just some of the items Spence has collected over the years. Most of the spots bear his mark; some are his work, a few are the work of the agencies he has worked with, but we are indebted to him for saving these items for future generations. Indeed, most clients represented here are now absorbed into national corporations, making these video reminders of them all the more cherished.