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Amy Luttrell and Adria Johnson

Renee Shaw speaks with Amy Luttrell, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, and Adria Johnson, chief impact officer of Metro United Way, about the work of their organizations and how COVID-19 has impacted their operations.
Season 16 Episode 12 Length 28:12 Premiere: 12/13/20

Two Vital Organizations Helping Kentuckians During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been an additional burden for Kentuckians who were already struggling with food and job insecurity as well as medical conditions and disabilities. But the health crisis has also been a challenge for the non-profit social service agencies committed to helping these individuals.

“When COVID hit, we immediately looked at what we had within our own coffers, and issued investment out into the community in a way that allowed many of those direct-service organizations to serve an even greater capacity, given the demand that they were seeing,” says Adria Johnson, chief impact officer of Metro United Way in Louisville.

“The need always outweighs the resource,” she says. “But we truly have a community with an incredible amount of individuals and foundations that have really, really giving hearts, and that are all working incredibly hard to make that sacrifice... to help lift everyone else in need.”

Metro United Way works to improve persistent challenges around education, health outcomes, and financial independence for people in Jefferson County and six other Kentucky and southern Indiana counties that surround Louisville. The agency musters funding, administrative support and volunteers for more than 100 local non-profits, including the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Louisville Urban League, the Center for Women and Families, and others.

“We’re proud that when this pandemic hit and we needed to go into crisis-response mode, we were able to do that and do that very effectively,” says Johnson.

The agency raised and distributed more than $1.5 million in COVID-related funding, helped people facing eviction, and distributed thousands of face masks and gloves as well as more than 125 gallons of hand sanitizer to needy groups.

Johnson says Metro United Way also administered federal CARES Act relief aid that went to local child care facilities. Early childhood success is one of the goals of the organization, helping to ensure that all children are prepared for kindergarten and have achieved the proper social and emotional developmental milestones.

But with the pandemic forcing the closure of many of those centers, Johnson says it’s important to develop ways to help those facilities rebound, and help reengage the children and families that were impacted.

Given this year’s protests over racial injustice and police brutality, Johnson says her organization is also committed to addressing the equity issues the prevent all individuals in their seven-county service region from thriving – issues that she says the pandemic has exacerbated.

“We have to really look at all of those persistent things that have lingered in this community where we’ve got gaps in educational attainment, where we have gaps in income and wealth attainment,” Johnson says. “At the root of that is a lot of racial inequity.”

“You can’t... ignore that the playing field just isn’t level for many of our peers,” she continues. “What do we do about that and how do we come together and have some honest conversation about what it’s going to take to actually change that situation in this community? The time is now.”

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky

For 97 years, Goodwill Industries has helped Kentuckians with disabilities or other disadvantages attain independence, self-sufficiency, and an improved quality of life. Like Metro United Way, Goodwill is also experiencing greater demand for its services during the pandemic.

“We used to hear everybody who wants a job has a job, and we know that was not true,” says Amy Luttrell, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “There were so many people who were still shut out of the labor force because of the barriers that they hadn’t been able to overcome.”

With COVID-related layoffs and business closures, Luttrell says more people need help finding work or learning a new skill. Clients may also have a criminal record, addiction problem, mental health concern or issues with housing, child care, or transportation that can make finding and holding a job difficult.

“We try to address as many of those barriers as possible so that they have a real chance to succeed,” Luttrell says. “We know that a job is not just a paycheck,” she continues, “... It’s a boost to their self-esteem.”

Goodwill offers clinics to help people with criminal records navigate the expungement process as well as more general classes for all clients on topics like workplace soft skills, financial literacy, and other job-readiness topics.

“We see people really not knowing how to manage their money because they’re not used to having any,” says Luttrell. “There’s a lot of information that can help them get more mileage out of their paycheck dollars.”

Traditionally those classes were offered in person, but during the pandemic Goodwill has pivoted to providing that instruction virtually so clients from Pikeville to Paducah can still participate. They’ve also supplied computers to addiction treatment centers, halfway houses, and other group-living facilities so that people there can also participate.

Perhaps the most visible aspect of Goodwill’s work are its 64 stores located in 44 Kentucky communities.

“Those stores provide not only funding but also jobs for people who need a place to start, who need a chance to show what they can do,” says Luttrell. “Our mission is to bring opportunity to people and help them get not only into a job but really a career track so that they can build the kind of life they want to have.”

More than 1,000 Kentuckians work at Goodwill stores. In 2019 alone, the organization paid $10 million in wages.

“We prioritize in hiring people who have a criminal background, who lack a high school education or a GED, who have a disability, or who’ve been unemployed for at least six months,” she says.

Goodwill stores thrive on donations made by the public that include clothing, furniture, and small appliances as well as books, DVDs, and toys. Luttrell says people have continued to be generous even during the pandemic, but she says they can always use more items.

“We may have ‘too much’ at one individual store, but the winter months are lean months for us donation-wise,” says Luttrell. “Also we have a lot of stores in our more rural counties, particularly eastern Kentucky, and we always have to supplement the donations that they receive directly.”

Luttrell says Goodwill has an inventory management system that enables them to warehouse excess donations for no longer than two years before they are distributed to stores that are most in need of new stock.

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Season 16 Episodes

Filmmaker Elizabeth Helm-Frazier

S16 E37 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 08/01/21

Early Childhood Development Initiatives in Louisville

S16 E36 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 07/25/21

Kathy Werking and Jim Embry

S16 E35 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 07/17/21

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack

S16 E34 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 07/11/21

Boone Co. Judge Executive Gary Moore

S16 E33 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 06/26/21

The Demands and Rewards of Fatherhood

S16 E32 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 06/20/21

Psychologist Julie Cerel

S16 E31 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 06/13/21

Restaurateur and Chef Ouita Michel

S16 E30 Length 27:56 Premiere Date 06/06/21

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

S16 E29 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 05/16/21

A Conversation with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

S16 E28 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 05/09/21

Cynthia Knapek of Louisville Leadership Center

S16 E27 Length 27:35 Premiere Date 05/01/21

Vaccine Equity and Hesitancy

S16 E26 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 04/24/21

State Treasurer Allison Ball and Sharon Price

S16 E25 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 04/18/21

Chef and Activist Dan Wu

S16 E24 Length 27:52 Premiere Date 04/11/21

EKU Criminal Justice Professor Pete Kraska

S16 E23 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 04/03/21

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

S16 E22 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 03/28/21

Authors Prisha Hedau, Carly Muetterties and Maddie Shepard

S16 E21 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 03/21/21

Charles Booker

S16 E20 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 03/14/21

Mental Health and COVID-19

S16 E19 Length 28:39 Premiere Date 02/14/21

Community Activist Christopher 2X

S16 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 02/07/21

Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Keith Jackson

S16 E17 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 01/31/21

A Mission to End Institutional Racism in Kentucky

S16 E16 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 01/24/21

Celebrating the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County

S16 E15 Length 28:33 Premiere Date 01/17/21

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman

S16 E14 Length 27:06 Premiere Date 01/10/21

Caroline Randall Williams

S16 E13 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 12/20/20

Amy Luttrell and Adria Johnson

S16 E12 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 12/13/20

Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass

S16 E11 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11/22/20

Louisville Metro Police Interim Chief Yvette Gentry

S16 E10 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 11/15/20

Jecorey Arthur and Quintez Brown

S16 E9 Length 27:31 Premiere Date 11/08/20

Terrance Sullivan

S16 E8 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11/01/20

2020 Election Preview with Colmon Elridge and Tres Watson

S16 E7 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10/25/20

Beth Howard and Michael Harrington; Devine Carama

S16 E6 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10/18/20

Nana Ama Aya Bullock and Muriel Harris

S16 E5 Length 28:26 Premiere Date 10/11/20

Betsy Johnson, Saundra Ardrey

S16 E4 Length 28:41 Premiere Date 10/04/20

Fabian Alvarez, Leyda Becker and Mercedes Harn

S16 E3 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 09/27/20

Devine Carama; Marjorie Guyon and Barry Darnell Burton

S16 E2 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 09/20/20

Marsha Weinstein

S16 E1 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 09/11/20

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Premiered On: 08/04/2017

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Jeff Hawkins and Robert Brown

Premiered On: 08/11/2017

The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) serves 21 school districts in southeast Kentucky. Renee speaks with Jeff Hawkins, executive director, and Robert Brown, professional learning lead, of KVEC.

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Premiered On: 08/18/2017

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Sam Quinones

Premiered On: 09/01/2017

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Kristin Ashford - Smoking Cessation and Pregnancy

Premiered On: 09/08/2017

Renee speaks with Kristin Ashford, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing whose research focuses on prenatal care and interventions aimed at preventing/ending tobacco use and illicit drugs. The program features a young woman who's participating in "Get Fit and Quit" recovery/smoking cessation program that is a partnership between the UK College of Nursing, Chrysalis House (a treatment center for women), and the YMCA. Part of KET's on-going initiative "Smoking and Health" funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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Premiered On: 09/22/2017

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Premiered On: 09/29/2017

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Gordon Hamlin

Premiered On: 10/13/2017

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Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Premiered On: 10/20/2017

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  • Thursday December 22, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Premiered On: 11/03/2017

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Premiered On: 11/17/2017

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Premiered On: 12/15/2017

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Silas House

Premiered On: 01/12/2018

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Premiered On: 01/19/2018

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Gerald Smith

Premiered On: 02/09/2018

Dr. Gerald Smith, a history professor at the University of Kentucky and co-editor of "The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia", joins Renee to discuss race relations in honor of Black History Month. Topics include activism around removing Confederate statues, the status of black leadership in Kentucky, and Dr. Smith's thoughts on the needed response from the faith-based community in eradicating racism.

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Bob Jackson - Murray State University

Murray State University is celebrating its centennial birthday this year. Renee Shaw talks to the president of MSU, Bob Jackson, about his presidency, career, and a new book he has co-authored, entitled "The Finest Place We Know: A Centennial History of Murray State University, 1922-2022."

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Educational Innovation

Premiered On: 02/16/2018

Educational innovation in the mountains is leading to a teaching and learning renaissance in southeast Kentucky. Renee and her guests, Dr. Dessie Bowling, associate director of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative and Rose Shields, rural project manager for the Center for Excellence in Rural Health at the University of Kentucky, discuss recent innovative education practices in the region.

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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Premiered On: 04/06/2018

"Connections" remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Renee speaks with organizers of a commemorative event in Frankfort and shares highlights from speeches at the MLK Memorial March to Move.

  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 3, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Child Marriage Laws in Kentucky - Donna Pollard

Premiered On: 04/13/2018

Renee speaks with Donna Pollard, a child marriage survivor and founder of Survivors' Corner, who has become the ambassador for changing child marriage laws in Kentucky with the passage of Senate Bill 48 that was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on March 29, 2018. SB 48 raises the legal age to marry to 18 in Kentucky with some exceptions.

  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks

Premiered On: 04/20/2018

In part one, Renee speaks with Keith Inman with Kosair Charities and Dr. Jennifer Green, University of Louisville Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellow about Kosair Charities Face It Movement that provides resources for parents and caregivers on child abuse. In part two, Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, talks about legislation passed in the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly that benefits children and families.

  • Thursday January 5, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Dr. Donna Grigsby

Premiered On: 05/11/2018

Renee speaks with Lexington pediatrician Dr. Donna Grigsby about early childhood brain development and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on cognitive and physical health. Dr. Grigsby discusses how to develop literacy skills in young children.

  • Friday January 6, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 6, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 6, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 6, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
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Cory Jewell Jensen - S12 E18

  • Monday December 5, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 5, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
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Restaurateur and Chef Ouita Michel - S16 E31

  • Sunday December 4, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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David Thompson - S12 E11

  • Friday December 2, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Mitzi Sinnott - S12 E3

  • Thursday December 1, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf - S12 E2

  • Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Phil Wilkins - S11 E43

  • Tuesday November 29, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Tameka Montgomery - S11 E42

  • Monday November 28, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 28, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Dayna Seelig - S15 E12

  • Sunday December 4, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 4, 2022 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday December 3, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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  • Sunday November 27, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Dominique Wilkins - S11 E41

  • Friday November 25, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 25, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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UK President Eli Capilouto - S18 E6

  • Thursday November 24, 2022 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Thursday November 24, 2022 10:30 pm CT on KET
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Gary Tuggle - S11 E40

  • Thursday November 24, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Dr. Leana Wen - S11 E39

  • Wednesday November 23, 2022 10:29 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:29 pm CT on KETKY
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  • Wednesday November 23, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Terrence Walton - S11 E38

  • Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 22, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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  • Tuesday November 22, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 22, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack - S11 E37

  • Monday November 21, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 21, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Author Emily Bingham - S18 E11

  • Sunday November 27, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
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  • Saturday November 26, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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  • Sunday November 20, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KET2
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  • Sunday November 20, 2022 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 11:00 am CT on KET

Kimberly Johnson - S11 E36

  • Friday November 18, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 18, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Jason Merrick - S11 E35

  • Thursday November 17, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 17, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Fayette County Veterans Treatment Court - S11 E34

  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Lynne Saddler - S11 E33

  • Tuesday November 15, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 15, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 15, 2022 2:25 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 15, 2022 1:25 pm CT on KETKY
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  • Tuesday November 15, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Scott Hesseltine - S11 E32

  • Monday November 14, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 14, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Bill Goodman - Kentucky Humanities - S18 E10

  • Sunday November 20, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 19, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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  • Sunday November 13, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 11:00 am CT on KET

Jessie Laine Powell - S11 E31

  • Friday November 11, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 11, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Oral Health Care In Kentucky - S11 E30

  • Thursday November 10, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 10, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday November 10, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 10, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kishonna Gray - S11 E29

  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Gretchen Hunt - S11 E28

  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Erin Frazier - S11 E27

  • Monday November 7, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Restoring American Democracy - S18 E9

  • Friday November 25, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday November 25, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 25, 2022 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 25, 2022 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 25, 2022 6:30 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 25, 2022 5:30 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 12, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 12, 2022 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 11:00 am CT on KET

Breast Cancer - S18 E8

  • Sunday November 6, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 5, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 5, 2022 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Crystal Wilkinson - S11 E26

  • Friday November 4, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Criminal Justice Reform - Cherise Fanno Burdeen - S13 E34

  • Thursday November 3, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 3, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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