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Making a Difference: Meeting Kentucky’s Needs

When John Domaschko first joined KET’s governing board in 1994, he acknowledges he didn’t know a whole lot about the network aside from that it delivered educational content to Kentucky schools and aired television programs he enjoyed.

But as he learned more about KET’s role serving the Commonwealth, his appreciation for the network deepened.

“It became clear to me early on that KET was making a difference every day in people’s lives,” said Domaschko, an accounting executive from Covington. “Whether it was supporting emergency responders through its transmission network, enhancing children’s education with classroom resources, or helping people earn their GED and hone their workplace skills to get a job; the more I learned about KET, the more I wanted to be involved with it.”

John Domaschko smiling in  blue shirt in his apartment with his back to a window overlooking the Cincinnati skyline.

And become involved, he did.

Domaschko went on to join the Commonwealth Fund for KET, the network’s fundraising body for private and corporate support, which he continues to serve on today. He also accepted an appointment to the national PBS Board of Directors in Washington, D.C., ultimately serving as General Vice-Chair from 2009 to 2011, as well as PBS’ fundraising board.

Everything KET does is designed to educate, inspire and inform.

John Domaschko

Over three decades of volunteer board service, Domaschko said he was continually moved by KET’s unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of the people of Kentucky.

“The most impressive part, to me, is that KET never lost its way,” Domaschko said. “KET has always understood that education is its primary mission, and it has never lost sight of that. Everything KET does is designed to educate, inspire and inform.”

A case in point, he said, is KET’s programming. Whether national programs such as Nova, Nature or Finding Yours Roots or local productions such as Kentucky Edition, Kentucky Health or Kentucky Tonight, KET engages Kentuckians in important conversations across a variety of genres, he said.

“So much media today appeals and even panders to pre-conceived notions rather than discussing other points of view,” Domaschko said. “KET strives to provoke thought, not anger. It covers topics, issues and stories that others can’t or won’t. In a world where there is so much skepticism about the reliability of what we hear in the media, KET is a near singular source of bringing light to the issues of our Commonwealth and our nation.”

Additionally, KET has continually adapted with the times, keeping abreast of changes in technology to ensure that Kentuckians can access programs and resources, whether they’re using a phone, tablet, computer or television.

“KET does a great job of reaching people wherever they might be in their lives and making sure they have access to the tools that help them succeed,” Domaschko said.

One of the highlights of serving on KET’s boards, he said, is that he receives a transcription of viewer comments. Reading the packet, he said, has become a favorite monthly ritual, one that continually reinforces the difference KET makes in Kentuckians’ lives.

He recalled a comment that left an impression on him: It was from a woman who said, in her younger years, she had been a dancer but was now in a wheelchair. She called to say how much she enjoyed KET’s arts programming.

“She closed her comment by saying that the previous night she had watched a ballet program on KET and that, for an hour, she danced again,” Domaschko said. “I get a little choked up just thinking about it, but that’s the kind of impact that KET has. And that’s what’s kept me involved with KET and public television all these years. It’s time well spent.”