Making a Difference: Bill Kight
Leading by Example
It’s truly putting my money where my mouth is. I would like my contemporaries and colleagues and friends to know that I’m a donor—maybe it will motivate them to donate.
Bill Kight – Photographer/pilot and KET member
If you tell Bill Kight to get his head out of the clouds, he’s not going to mind. He’ll probably just tell you to hang on—he’ll be down soon.
He is, after all, a former Courier-Journal photographer who spent his time shooting Derbys, disasters, and other aerial marvels from the bird’s-eye view of a Cessna airplane. And even today, he’s still in the pilot’s seat much of the time.
But when he comes down to earth and joins his wife, Marcia, to settle in for viewing quality television, there’s no other choice for the high-flying Kights than KET.
“The reason I’m drawn to public television is because it has programming you can’t find on commercial television,” said Kight. “You’d never see American Experience on commercial television. You’d never see Ken Burns if it weren’t for public television.”
A longtime contributing member, Kight’s commitment to helping secure KET’s financial future through his annual donations stems from his belief in KET’s mission to provide educational and enlightening programs—and from his personal enrichment.
“KET just has the programming that I like. I like history, science, documentaries,” he said. “When I read, I read non-fiction. My wife likes the fiction KET carries, such as Masterpiece Mystery! with Miss Marple. But really, when you think about it, there is something for everybody.”
The couple’s daughters, Elaine and Emily, now grown, were KET kids from the beginning. They loved programs such as Sesame Street so much that one Halloween, appropriately shaped pumpkins got the full Bert and Ernie treatment.
With such a deep family devotion to KET programming, Kight declares that it’s his responsibility to help support its mission financially.
“It’s truly putting my money where my mouth is,” he said. And it’s important for others to join him, to ensure that KET remains available to all Kentuckians, regardless of their means, he says.
“I would like my contemporaries and colleagues and friends to know that I’m a donor—maybe it will motivate them to donate,” he said. “Before I was in a position to make a substantial donation to KET, I would look at who donates to KET. And now that I do have the resources, I donate—and I think they should, too.”
The unique service that KET provides, says Kight, is another reason he prizes KET so highly.
“I do not want KET to go away,” he emphasizes. “I want KET to have the resources it needs to continue, to produce programs like Kentucky Life. To travel throughout the state and bring to light all the interesting things and places we have in Kentucky.”
Kight, whose work takes him all over the United States, frequently watches public television when he’s on layover in other cities. He says that what he sees when he’s far from home makes him appreciate the riches back in the Commonwealth—which he fears many may take for granted.
“Kentucky gets a bad rap on a lot of things, but we have some doggone good public television,” he said.
“As hokey as that sounds, it’s the God’s honest truth.”