Spence Kinard – voice of the Tabernacle ChoirAug 06, 2021 10:36AM ● By Becky Ginos
Giving the Spoken Word in the Salt Lake Tabernacle during General Conference.
BOUNTIFUL—When people hear the name Spence Kinard they usually think of Music and the Spoken Word but Kinard is also known for his years at KSL and for his role in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Kinard is retired now but at 81, still as busy as ever.
“I spend a lot of time with my family,” he said. “I have five children and my wife has five children and I have eight great grandchildren and two more coming.”
Kinard is also part of the Friends of Antelope Island. “We’re trying to raise $12 million to rebuild the visitors center,” he said. “The legislature committed $1 million so we’ll be sending out an RFP in the fall. We’re calling it a learning center instead of a visitors center so that students and other people can come out and learn about the lake.”
People come flying in from all over the world and look out the window at the lake, he said. “They ask, ‘how do I get to the lake?’ Residents say, ‘I don’t know.’ People don’t know what a unique treasure it is. The danger now is that it is at its lowest in history. Hopefully it will come back.”
Kinard didn’t start out in broadcast news. “I wanted to be a photojournalist,” he said.“When I was in my ninth grade class in junior high I’d take pictures and chase fire engines. When I was a sophomore at Davis, I was on the bus one day and a huge earth moving machine had fallen near where the Tanner Clinic is today. I went to school and asked if I could borrow a camera and had a buddy drive me back. I stopped at Frosts and bought a roll of film. I took a picture and sold it to the Ogden Standard.”
He started covering sporting events and freelanced for the Tribune, selling his photos for $5 a piece. “When I got home from my mission in 1963 I took a photography class at Weber State,” Kinard said. “They asked me to teach the class. I also took a public speaking class and the professor asked me what I wanted to do with my life. He suggested I consider broadcasting.”
Kinard took a job at a radio station and did some newscasting. Then in 1964 he started at KSL. “In 1965 KSL radio and TV merged. They brought (Bob) Welti and (Paul) James from channel 4. KSL went from fourth to the top news station and never looked back.”
In 1972, Kinard was invited to replace Richard L. Evans as voice of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the choir’s Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. He spent 18 years there. “It was not a job,” he said. “It was unpaid and I did it on the side. I’m not a musician but to listen to these singers – there’s incredible talent.”
Kinard said some of his best memories are from the traveling he did with the choir. “We’d go every other year and went to Japan, Australia, Germany. It’s also the friendships I built.”
The guest artists that performed with the choir have also been memorable, he said. “When Jimmy Stewart came for Mr. Krueger’s Christmas his career was winding down. You’d see him on set in a chair with his head down and his eyes closed. We’d wonder, ‘did he die?’ Then when it was time for him to do his part he’d brighten up and do the role then go rest again.”
During these years, Kinard became the news director of KSL and after leaving that post became deputy director of the Utah Travel Council, taking part in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“We could do the Olympics today and they’d be better than ever,” he said. “It was the volunteers that made it a great place to be. It was just a fun time.”
Looking back on his career, Kinard said news isn’t what it used to be. “I’m dismayed that people don’t respect news anymore. Most can’t even tell you the name of the news anchor. I blame it on social media. There’s a good and a bad side.”
Anyone can put out information or misinformation and people believe it, he said. “We’re missing the journalistic process. Local newspapers are dying. We need to read about what other people are doing. We need a balance. You can’t just get it from one source. That’s not news, it's hearsay.”
Listen to the full interview with Spence Kinard on our Davis Beat podcast at anchor.fm/davisjournal or through a link on our website at www.davisjournal.com.