KET History

1962
The General Assembly establishes the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television; O. Leonard Press becomes KET’s first executive director.

1968
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.

1969
Weekday broadcasts expand to evenings.

Sesame Street premieres.

1970
Julia Child’s The French Chef premieres on PBS, pioneering how-to programming for television.

1971
Friends of KET, a statewide network of volunteers, is incorporated.

Masterpiece Theatre premieres.

1973
PBS provides unprecedented coverage of the Watergate hearings.

1974
Comment on Kentucky premieres with host Al Smith.

1975
The GED® on TV series begins national broadcast.

Television broadcast expands to seven days a week.

1976
Universe & I is KET’s first nationally distributed instructional TV series.

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

1978
College on TV telecourses launch.

Coverage of the Kentucky General Assembly begins.

1980
This Old House and The Victory Garden premiere.

1981
KET Fund for Excellence is established.

1982
Enterprise division is created to market educational programs nationally.

1983
The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross premieres.

1984
Nightly open-captioned news service begins.

1985
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 established.

1988
Summer Celebration event is established at Donamire Farm.

1989
Interactive Distance Learning service begins.

Live broadcasts of professional development seminars for Kentucky educators begin.

1990
Ken Burns’ The Civil War sets PBS audience records.

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

1991
Virginia Gaines Fox named Executive Director and CEO.

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

1992
O. Leonard Press Telecommunications Center is dedicated.

1993
GED®—Get It! airs nationwide as the centerpiece of a national outreach project.

1994
Kentucky Tonight premieres.

1995
Kentucky Life premieres.

KET.org launches.

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

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

1996
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.

1997
WKPC, Channel 15 in Louisville, merges with the statewide network and KET2 launches.

1998
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.

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

1999
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.

KET.org video-streaming initiative is piloted.

2001

More than 10,000 Kentuckians read Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees as part of a statewide literacy campaign.

2002
The statewide digital transmission system is activated.

Television broadcast service 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.

2003
Malcolm Wall named Executive Director and CEO.

2004
Legislative coverage expands to live broadcast and online video-streaming.

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

Louisville Outreach office opens.

2005
KET EncycloMedia, the predecessor to PBS LearningMedia, launches and provides online multimedia resources to Kentucky’s public schools.

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

Connections with Renee Shaw premieres.

2006
One to One with Bill Goodman premieres.

Louisville Life premieres.

2007
Antiques Roadshow returns to Louisville.

Endowment for Kentucky Productions is established.

The Everlasting Stream airs nationally on PBS.

2008
Kentucky Channel launches.

Kentucky Muse premieres.

2009
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.

2010
Education Matters debuts.

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

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

Shae Hopkins named Executive Director and CEO.

Everyday Science for Preschoolers launches.

2011
Downton Abbey premieres.

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

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

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

Thoroughbred airs nationally on PBS.

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

2012
Kentucky Collectibles premieres.

2013
A live uplink between the International Space Station and middle school students is broadcast.

PBS Learning Media debuts, with KET, WGBH, and WNET as primary content producers.

The Everyday Learning Collaborative for early childhood education is established.

Morehead State University begins offering KET Distance Learning courses for dual credit.

2014
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.

2015
Kentucky Health debuts from KET’s Louisville studio.

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

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

2016
The John R. Hall Endowment for Education is established.

More than 65,000 K-12 professional development certificates were awarded to educators and other school personnel.

The Hilltoppers premiered at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story premiered.

Kentucky Veterans of the Vietnam War: In Their Own Words premiered at events honoring veterans in Lexington, Owensboro, and Louisville.

2017
KET PBS KIDS channel launches on-air, on mobile, and online.

Journey to Recovery premieres as part of the Inside Opioid Addiction initiative.

KET receives the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award from the Kentucky Board of Education for leadership, commitment and service to equity and opportunity in education for all Kentucky children.