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Rufus Friday

Rufus Friday

After more than three decades in the newspaper industry, Rufus Friday talks about his new role as executive director of The Hope Center, Inc. and One Parent Scholar House, which provides comprehensive services to the homeless and those at risk. Friday is a former president and publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
S17 E6 Length 27:56 Premiere: 10.10.21

Retired Newspaper Executive Channels Passion Toward Helping Reduce Homelessness

After nearly 34 years in the newspaper business, Rufus Friday might be due a relaxing retirement. Instead, the former president and publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader is applying the many skills he honed as a media executive to a different set of challenges as the new executive director of the non-profit Hope Center and One Parent Scholar House.

“I’m 13 weeks in on the job now, and I can easily say that I am thrilled to be doing what I’m doing,” says Friday. “This is where I need to be.”

The Hope Center in Lexington provides homeless individuals with a range of services from food, clothing, and shelter to addiction recovery, mental health treatment, and employment assistance. The group operates a men’s center on Loudon Avenue and a women’s facility on Versailles Road.

Friday says he sees his job as finding innovative ways to address homelessness in Fayette County and help unhoused individuals become self-sufficient.

“We live in the most prosperous country on the face of the earth, and we have homelessness,” he says. “How can that be?”

Many of the Hope Center’s programs are run by people who were once clients of the organization. As graduates of the organization, Friday says they want to give back to others facing similar situations they once did. He says that gives them the knowledge and the empathy they need to successfully serve people who are going through homelessness, mental health problems, or addiction.

A point of pride for Friday is that the organization has continued to provide its vital programs throughout the pandemic.

“At the height of COVID… not one day did the Hope Center close its doors,” he says. “They pivoted, they made all kinds of adjustments to make sure that we were taking care of those individuals.”

The Hope Center also manages One Parent Scholar House, which helps single parents, especially single mothers, pursue a college degree or postsecondary training by offering affordable housing, child care, and social and academic supports.

“We come alongside those individuals and provide some life-building services for them,” says Friday. “We provide them with access to that educational component. We also provide an area for their kids to go.”

Overseeing Monumental Changes in the Newspaper Industry

A native of North Carolina, Friday worked for the Gannett and McClatchy newspaper chains in his home state as well as in Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, and Washington before arriving at the Herald-Leader in 2011. During his career he says he saw newspaper production evolve from printing plates made of molten lead to modern digital equipment. Although the technology changed, Friday says the spirit of the work remained the same.

“It was always great to be part of an industry where you start with a blank sheet of paper every day,” he says.

But technology didn’t just change how newspapers were produced. It transformed the entire media landscape. First came the launch of 24/7 cable television news in 1980. Friday says CNN founder Ted Turner pledged then to put newspapers out of business within five years.

“His prediction was totally off, but what it did do was it helped us… up our game when it came down to how we produce and provide news and information,” he says.

The bigger disrupter, Friday says, turned out to be the social media revolution.

“We were so used to making sure that before a story was ever filed by a reporter, it was going to go through a number of filters, from an editor to a copy editor, and back again to the copy editor before it was actually printed or put up online,” he says. “Then you’ve got social media… and there is just no filter as to what’s factual and not.”

As newspapers struggled to compete with the immediacy of social media and cable news, Friday says he stressed to his employees a fundamental principal of journalism.

“It’s not all about being first, it’s about being factual,” he says. “First is good, but being factual is more important than anything.”

That grounding in accuracy also helped Friday respond to readers who were angry about his paper’s coverage. He says he understood that people might be angry about how a story was reported, but his primary concern was if it was factually correct.

“Never fear criticism when you’re right, and never ignore it when you’re wrong,” says Friday.

A Different Job, but Similar Skill Sets

After retiring from the Herald-Leader in 2018, Friday worked as a marketing consultant and as special assistant to the president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Although he had served on the Hope Center board of directors since 2014, Friday says he was initially uncertain about taking the job of executive director. But then he thought about his father, who was an overseer in a cotton mill. Friday says his dad would rise at 4 every morning and visit the homes of each of his employees to make sure they were getting ready for work or to drive them to work if they didn’t have a car.

“It was all about his mission to make sure that he took care of those individuals,” says Friday. “I think that’s where I got it from.”

After talking with friends and praying about the Hope Center position, Friday says he realized this was the place he was meant to be.

“It comes down to… how can I help individuals have the type of fortunate life that I have,” he says.

While running a social service agency may seem like a far cry from managing a daily metropolitan newspaper, Friday says success at both jobs depends on common traits.

“One of the things I had to learn and appreciate was the skill sets of listening, having this level of empathy and compassion, and not judgment,” he says.

Now about three months into his new job with the Hope Center, Friday will serve a smaller, more focused audience than he did at the helm of the newspaper. But he is no less excited about the opportunities that await him each day.

“I’m looking forward to working with any partner, any corporate partner, our great friends at the city to assure that we are going to do everything that we can to put this fragile population on the road to self sufficiency,” says Friday.

Program Details

Connections

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Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people - including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more - explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

Author Jacinda Townsend discusses her critically acclaimed novel, "Saint Monkey", a coming-of-age story set in 1950's Eastern Kentucky. The book won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Townsend is a former Hurston-Wright Award finalist and currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.

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Dorothy Butler Gilliam - S11 E7

Renee speaks with journalist Dorothy Butler Gilliam, who was the first African-American female reporter at The Washington Post. She retired in 2003 after a 35-year career with the paper.

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Devine Carama - S17 E7

Renee Shaw speaks with hip hop artist, community activist, and motivational speaker Devine Carama talks about his appointment as director of One Lexington, a program that mobilizes city government and community resources against violence and other topics.

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Connections - S17 E8

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Allison Joseph - S11 E8

Allison Joseph is the author of six poetry books. She teaches at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where she helped found {Crab Orchard Review}, a literary journal, and the Young Writers Workshop, a co-ed residential summer program for teen writers.

  • Monday October 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Ari Berman - S11 E9

Renee's guest is Ari Berman, a contributing writer for "The Nation" magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights and the intersection of money and politics. The title of his new book is "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America".

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Miss Kentucky Clark Davis - S11 E10

Renee speaks with Miss Kentucky Clark Davis, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky majoring in vocal performance, with a minor in political science. Davis was diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary school. Her pageant platform is dyslexia awareness.

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Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear - S11 E11

Renee speaks with Jane Beshear, former first lady of Kentucky, about her policy initiatives and programs during her time in the Governor's Mansion.

  • Thursday October 28, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Wayne Lewis - S11 E15

University of Kentucky professor Wayne Lewis, Ph.D., author of The Politics of Parent Choice in Public Education and the forthcoming, Black Choice, talks about charter school legislation in Kentucky and its effectiveness in other states in narrowing the achievement gap.

  • Friday October 29, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Connections - S17 E9

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Anthony Smith - S11 E16

Anthony Smith, CEO of Cities United, a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence related to African American males, talks about the violence-curbing initiatives he helped create in Louisville including the Right Turn program for teenagers 16 to 19 who have committed minor infractions that have landed them in the court system.

  • Monday November 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Andrew Brennen - S11 E17

Renee speaks with Andrew Brennen, national field director for Student Voice, a for-students-by-students nonprofit organization spearheading a social movement to integrate student voices into the global education conversation. He is also co-founder, director of the Student Voice Team at the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

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A Tribute to Georgia Davis Powers - S11 E18

In this special episode, Renee and her guests Raoul Cunningham, president of the Louisville NAACP, and State Sen. Gerald Neal celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer and former Kentucky Sen. Georgia Davis Powers, the first African-American and first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate. Powers died January 30, 2016 at the age of 92. The program features never-before-seen footage of an interview Renee conducted with Powers two years ago.

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Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention - S11 E24

Jill Seyfred, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, discusses efforts to increase awareness and prevention of child abuse in the state.

  • Thursday November 4, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes - S11 E25

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes talks about her legislative agenda and the new online voter registration portal.

  • Friday November 5, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Connections - S17 E10

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Crystal Wilkinson - S11 E26

Affrilachian poet and author Crystal Wilkinson talks about her first novel, "The Birds of Opulence", that tackles the issue of mental illness and the plight of the African American female experience in the South.

  • Monday November 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Dr. Erin Frazier - S11 E27

Renee's guest is Dr. Erin Frazier, a pediatrician with Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. She also serves as medical director at Children's Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy and chair of the Partnership to Eliminate Child Abuse. Dr. Frazier discusses coping techniques for parents that can prevent child abuse. She specializes in educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of shaking infants and strategies for dealing with persistent crying babies.

  • Tuesday November 9, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Gretchen Hunt - S11 E28

Renee's guest is Gretchen Hunt, who heads the Office of Victims Advocacy within the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General. She talks about recent legislative successes in protecting women from violent crime. Hunt was a leader in helping to advocate for passage of Kentucky's Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act.

  • Wednesday November 10, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Kishonna Gray - S11 E29

Renee's guest is Dr. Kishonna Gray, assistant professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. She is also the founder and director of the Critical Gaming Lab housed in the School of Justice Studies. Dr. Gray also holds a joint position in Women & Gender Studies and is an affiliate faculty in the African/African-American Studies Program. Her research and teaching interests incorporate an intersecting focus on identity, culture, and new media.

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Oral Health Care In Kentucky - S11 E30

Renee and her guests Lacey McNary, a health policy consultant and principal of McNary and Associates and Dr. Laura Hancock Jones, a dentist working with the UK College of Dentistry Public Health Division's Western Kentucky Dental Outreach Program and chair of the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition, discuss the state of oral health in Kentucky. Part of KET's "Inside Oral Health Care" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Friday November 12, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Connections - S17 E11

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Jessie Laine Powell - S11 E31

Lexington-based national recording jazz artist Jessie Laine Powell performs and discusses her new album, "Fill the Void". Powell talks about how her teenage daughter inspired the song, "You're Okay."

  • Monday November 15, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Scott Hesseltine - S11 E32

Scott Hesseltine, vice president of addiction services at Seven Counties Services, discusses new models of treatment to help those with opioid abuse disorders recover. He also talks about a new facility that serves expectant mothers with addiction throughout their pregnancy with wraparound services to get them on the path to recovery. Part of KET's "Inside Opioid Addiction" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Tuesday November 16, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Dr. Lynne Saddler - S11 E33

Dr. Lynne Saddler, district director of health at the Northern Kentucky Health Department, talks about the heroin epidemic in Northern Kentucky. She discusses current community efforts and the impact of a syringe exchange program. Part of KET's "Inside Opioid Addiction" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Wednesday November 17, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Fayette County Veterans Treatment Court - S11 E34

Kathy Vasquez, veterans justice outreach specialist, and Elton Terry, recovery coordinator, with the Lexington VA Medical Center, talk about the Fayette County Veterans Treatment Court (FCVTC). The FCVTC program provides court-supervised treatment for veterans as an alternative to incarceration, services and treatments address substance abuse and/or mental health; connection to benefits; and help with housing, employment, and education. Part of KET's "Inside Opioid Addiction" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Thursday November 18, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Jason Merrick - S11 E35

Jason Merrick, director of inmate addiction services at the Kenton County Detention Center, discusses the inmate drug and alcohol treatment program he launched consisting of counseling sessions, time for inmates to pursue their GED certificates, and attend 12-step programs. Part of KET's "Inside Opioid Addiction" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Friday November 19, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Connections - S17 E13

  • Sunday November 21, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
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Connections - S17 E12

  • Sunday November 14, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
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  • Wednesday November 17, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
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Kimberly Johnson - S11 E36

Renee's guest is Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Center for Substance Abuse promotes community-based substance abuse treatment and recovery services for individuals and families in every community. Taped at the SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, Renee talks with Dr. Johnson about the nation's reliance on high-powered pain killers to manage pain, addiction recovery models, drug abuse prevention, and more. Part of KET's "Inside Opioid Addiction" initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

  • Monday November 22, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 22, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY
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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

  • Thursday October 21, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Kellie Blair Hardt - S11 E5

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Childhood Cancer - S11 E4

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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia - Gerald Smith - S11 E3

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Devine Carama - S17 E7

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Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk - S11 E2

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Kinship Care - S10 E46

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Faith Politics - S10 E45

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JoAnne Wheeler Bland - S10 E44

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Andre Taylor - S10 E43

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  • Monday October 11, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday October 11, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Rufus Friday - S17 E6

  • Sunday October 17, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 17, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday October 16, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 16, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 13, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 13, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 13, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 13, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Aaron Thompson - S17 E5

  • Sunday October 10, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 10, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Infant Nutrition and Breastfeeding - S10 E42

  • Friday October 8, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Cathe Dykstra - Family Scholar House - S10 E41

  • Thursday October 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday October 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday October 7, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday October 7, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday October 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday October 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Gigi Butler - Gigi's Cupcakes - S10 E39

  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 6, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Cathy Zion - Zion Publications LLC - S10 E38

  • Tuesday October 5, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 5, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 5, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 5, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

  • Friday October 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Susan and Morgan Guess - S10 E34

  • Thursday September 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Jay Williams - S10 E33

  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Pellom McDaniels - S10 E30

  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 28, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kiley Lane Parker - S10 E29

  • Monday September 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence - S17 E4

  • Sunday October 3, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 3, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday October 2, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 2, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Kevin Chapman - S10 E28

  • Friday September 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 2:11 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 1:11 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 24, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kendell Nash - ECHO - S10 E27

  • Thursday September 23, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 23, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 23, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 23, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dorothy Edwards and Diane Fleet - S10 E26

  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Lois Combs Weinberg - S10 E25

  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 2:03 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 1:03 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 21, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Elaine Chao - S10 E23

  • Monday September 20, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 20, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 20, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 20, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 20, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 20, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Filmmaker Sarah Burns - S17 E3

  • Sunday September 26, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 26, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 25, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 25, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 22, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET
Top

Season 17 Episodes

Devine Carama

S17 E7 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 10.17.21

Rufus Friday

S17 E6 Length 27:56 Premiere Date 10.10.21

Aaron Thompson

S17 E5 Length 28:04 Premiere Date 10.3.21

Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence

S17 E4 Length 27:01 Premiere Date 9.26.21

Filmmaker Sarah Burns

S17 E3 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 9.19.21

Charlene Buckles and Dan Wu

S17 E2 Length 27:23 Premiere Date 9.12.21

Explore KET