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Making a Difference: Zach Macaluso

For musician and mailman, KET really delivers

When Zach Macaluso was in college, he spent much of his time studying the sciences, calculus, and other courses to prepare him for his degree in meteorology. And when it came time for electives, he chose classes in literature — and continued his participation in Purdue University’s band — to balance out all that science.

After graduation, Macaluso, 34, accepted a position as meteorologist for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s weather center in Lexington.

Today, Macaluso has resettled in Louisville, where he spends less time predicting the weather and more time in it, as a rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in eastern Jefferson County.

And he still divides his time between his two interests through his wide range of viewing habits on KET.

“One of the many things I enjoy about KET is their diversified programming when it comes to arts and literature,” he said.

“So whether it’s Great Performances where it’s a symphonic performance at the New York Philharmonic or a production at the Met, or it’s Masterpiece Mystery or Masterpiece Classic, the Poirot mysteries or Sherlock, “Downton Abbey” or Call the Midwife … all of those subjects are much more entertainment-focused instead of science-focused, and I really enjoy having that extra outlet.”

Macaluso tries his hand at many of the arts subjects that interest him. Maintaining membership in a community band through the University of Louisville allows him to keep up his musical side. He has completed two paintings, which grace the den of his suburban home — though he admits with a smile that the process pleased him more than the actual result.

And KET’s “how-to” programs have provided entertainment as well as some inspiration, he said.

“The reason I really enjoy watching The Great British Baking Show and America’s Test Kitchen is I enjoy watching people do things that I cannot do myself,” he said with a laugh.

True to his science background, Macaluso turns to KET to keep that part of himself informed.

“I have a degree in meteorology and I’ve always been fascinated by science — weather, physics, astronomy. Any show on KET such as Nova or Nature always grabs my attention,” he said.

“Especially since I’m not as active in the field as I used to be, it keeps me up to date on what’s going on now and what I can learn. Any program, such as recent ones about the large hadron collider, or the discovery of uranium, always piques my interest.”

Macaluso has found that many KET programs have enhanced his life beyond the screen.

“Something that I value most in KET’s arts programming is inspiring me to get back into my music myself and join the community band here in Louisville,” he said. “The reason I really enjoy playing music is that it allows me to use my brain in a different, refreshing way. It’s very relaxing.”

Since Macaluso spends so much of his television viewing time with KET, he made the decision to become a contributor, opting to become a Sustaining Member, where withdrawals are made monthly right from his checking account.

“I thought to myself one day, ‘I watch KET all of the time and I should donate. I like them, I like what they do and I want them to continue.’ At first I just made yearly donations but then I thought, ‘No, I’m going to be a Sustaining Member.’ It was easy to set up, and as a bonus, it’s tax-deductible — and I get Visions magazine!”

Often, Macaluso said, he’ll enjoy a drama or other work on KET, and then will be prompted to seek out more similar works. And conversely, he’ll look forward to viewing material he’s already familiar with and have it amplified though series such as Nova or Nature.

“When I watch shows on KET it inspires me to learn more about those subjects on my own. If I see Masterpiece Mystery and I find the source material is from a novelist, I can go to my local library and check out that novelist and read more of their books,” he said.

“If I see a story on Nova and there’s a science aspect that I like, I can go to a magazine or the internet,” he said.

“KET just really opens up my world to new things,” he concluded, “and that’s what I really enjoy about having KET in my home.”