KET History

The General Assembly establishes the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television; O. Leonard Press becomes KET’s first executive director.

KET signs on the air September 23, broadcasting weekdays during school hours on the second largest land-based network in the world via a statewide, 15-transmitter network.

Kentucky Is My Land is KET’s first instructional production.

Weekday broadcasts expand to evenings.

Sesame Street premieres.

Julia Child’s The French Chef premieres on PBS, pioneering how-to programming for television.

Friends of KET, a statewide network of volunteers, is incorporated.

Masterpiece Theatre premieres.

PBS provides unprecedented coverage of the Watergate hearings.

Comment on Kentucky premieres with host Al Smith.

The GED® series begins national broadcast.

Television broadcast expands to seven days a week.

Universe & I is KET’s first nationally distributed instructional TV series.

The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, now PBS NewsHour, premieres.

KET’s College on TV telecourses launch.

Coverage of the Kentucky General Assembly begins.

This Old House and The Victory Garden premiere.

KET Fund for Excellence is established.

Enterprise division is created to market educational programs nationally.

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross premieres.

Nightly open-captioned, statewide news service begins.

Second-generation GED® series and study-at-home initiative launched.

Kentucky Afield, the nation’s longest-running outdoors program, debuts on KET.

KET Kids Club is established.

Summer Celebration event is established at Donamire Farm.

Interactive Distance Learning service begins.

Live broadcasts of professional development seminars for Kentucky educators begin.

Ken Burns’ The Civil War sets PBS audience records.

John Sherman Cooper: Gentleman from Kentucky premieres at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Virginia Gaines Fox named Executive Director and CEO.

Star Channels Distance Learning system receives national Innovations Award from the Ford Foundation.

O. Leonard Press Telecommunications Center is dedicated.

GED—Get It! airs nationwide as the centerpiece of a national outreach project.

Kentucky Tonight premieres.

Kentucky Life premieres. launches.

The Commonwealth Fund for KET is established with John R. Hall as chairman.

The W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Endowment for the Arts is established.

Mountain Born: The Jean Ritchie Story and Signature “George C. Wolfe” premiere nationally on PBS.

LiteracyLink, a video and online project featuring GED® and workforce basic skills content, is developed.

WKPC, Channel 15 in Louisville, merges with the statewide network and KET2 launches.

Street Skills, a teen-oriented safe driving series, is nominated for a national Emmy Award.

Antiques Roadshow welcomes 7,000 treasure hunters at Louisville’s Convention Center.

Signature “Barbara Kingsolver” airs nationally on PBS.

The O. Leonard Press Endowment for Public Affairs programming is established.

Kentucky’s first digital television transmitter is activated, KET’s WKPC-DT in Louisville.

KET produces public television’s first drama in high definition: American Shorts “The Ryan Interview,” starring Ashley Judd.

Workplace Essential Skills is unveiled at the National Press Club.

The video-streaming initiative is piloted.


More than 10,000 Kentuckians read Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees as part of the statewide literacy campaign What If All Kentucky Reads the Same Book?

The statewide digital transmission system is activated.

Broadcasting expands to 24 hours a day.

GED® Connection, KET’s third-generation test preparation series, premieres nationally on PBS.

Jubilee premieres nationally.

Executive Director and CEO Virginia Gaines Fox retires and receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Malcolm Wall is named Executive Director and CEO.

The Arts Toolkit launches.

Legislative coverage expands to digital broadcast and online video-streaming.

Kentucky’s Last Great Places: A Kentucky Life Special becomes the most successful local pledge program on KET.

KET EncycloMedia begins, providing online multimedia resources to Kentucky’s public schools.

KET’s “Be Well Kentucky” health initiative launches.

Connections with Renee Shaw premieres.

One to One with Bill Goodman premieres.

Louisville Life premieres.

Antiques Roadshow returns to Louisville.

Al Smith retires after 33 years as host of Comment on Kentucky.

The Endowment for Kentucky Productions is established.

The Everlasting Stream airs nationally on PBS.

The Kentucky Channel launches.

Kentucky Muse premieres.

The O. Leonard Press Telecommunications Center transitions to a high-definition production and broadcast facility.

Ceasing analog transmissions, KET broadcasts three digital channels, 24/7 on 16 transmitters statewide.

Education Matters debuts.

The Friends of KET receive the National Friends of Public Broadcasting’s Grassroots Advocacy Award.

The Kentucky Green Banks initiative helps implement energy efficiency measures in the network center.

Shae Hopkins is named Executive Director and CEO.

Everyday Science for Preschoolers launches.

Downton Abbey premieres.

KET’s Education Division receives the Enterprise and Innovation Award from the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

Kentucky on iTunes U launches, with KET as a lead partner.

Thoroughbred airs nationally on PBS.

KET receives the Association of Public Television Stations National Advocacy Award.

The Louisville Production Center on Main Street opens, with a high-definition studio.

Kentucky Collectibles premieres.

In partnership with NASA and EKU, a live uplink between Kentucky middle school students and an astronaut aboard the International Space Station is broadcast.

With KET, WGBH, and WNET as primary content producers, PBS Learning Media debuts, featuring more than a thousand KET-produced resources.

The Everyday Learning Collaborative for early childhood education is established.

The KET Legislative Coverage App launches.

KET Fast Forward launches nationally as the most advanced multiplatform learning system for  GED® test preparation.

PBS/KET online video apps launch on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Dropping Back In premieres nationally.

The Kentucky Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognizes KET with its State Media Award.

The Legislative Production Center in Frankfort adds a studio and is upgraded to high definition.

Kentucky Health premeires as a KET production

The John R. Hall Endowment for Education is established.