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U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

Renee speaks with Congressman Andy Barr who has served Kentucky's 6th Congressional District since January 2013. They discuss his record in supporting the federal tax cut package, reducing mandatory government spending on certain government programs, tariffs, healthcare, and more.
Season 14 Episode 8 Length 29:16 Premiere: 10/26/18

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

When Andy Barr first decided to run for Congress in 2009, he travelled the state’s 6th District to learn what voters wanted from their representative. He says Democrats and Republicans told him they wanted someone who would be accessible to constituents in order to resolve their problems, answer their questions, and hear their feedback.

Although Barr lost that election, he never forgot what voters told him. When he did win a seat in Congress in 2012, Barr and his staff launched an accessibility initiative that included office hours in every county of the district as well as in-person coffee klatches and telephone town hall meetings.

“My favorite part of the job is people and visiting with the people,” Barr says. “If you do the job you’re elected to do, then the politics should take care of itself.”

The Lexington Republican has made constituent services a hallmark of his three terms in office. As he competes for re-election, Barr appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss his views on economic policies and health care. This is the second of three programs featuring candidates running in the 6th Congressional District race. The first, with Democratic candidate Amy McGrath, aired on Oct. 21. The third, with Libertarian candidate Frank Harris, will air on Nov. 2.

Taxes and the Economy
When Barr first entered politics during the presidency of Barack Obama, the American economy was struggling to recover from the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Now, he says Republican policies of tax cuts, deregulation, domestic energy production, and banking reform have fueled strong economic growth and record low unemployment.

“This term in Congress has been a Congress of keeping promises, solving problems and delivering results,” he says.

Barr defends the tax cut package enacted last December, saying that the move to lower corporate and individual rates has created a fairer tax system and tax cuts for middle-class Americans.

“If you look at the distribution of how much federal income tax is being paid into the federal government now after tax cuts, it’s interesting: the tax code has become actually more progressive from the standpoint of the share of total federal revenue being paid,” the Congressman says. “The top 20 percent of taxpayers… they’re actually paying a higher percentage of the total income taxes collected by the government and folks in the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers are paying less.”

As a result, Barr says the average family in his district pays $2,000 less on their federal income taxes. Plus, he says millions of American workers are receiving higher pay and bonuses as corporations reinvest their tax savings in their employees. But Barr acknowledges that many Kentuckians still struggle financially.

“The prosperity that we’re experiencing needs to hit everybody,” he says. “We can’t leave anyone out.”

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 permanently reduced corporate taxes, the lower rates for individuals are set to expire in 2025. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the individual and small business tax cuts permanent. (The Senate has no plans as of now to take up the measure.)

Barr, who touts himself as a fiscal conservative who endorses the Balanced Budget Amendment, voted for the original tax cuts and the extension bill even though some economists estimate the measures will add trillions of dollars to the national debt.

“One of the main reasons I ran for Congress was to save the country from bankruptcy,” says Barr. “The deficit and national debt continue to be a major concern of mine.”

But he adds: “The tax cuts are not the cause of the deficits.”

The Republican attributes the spiraling deficit to slowing increasing interest rates, which means the government has to pay more to borrow money. Another factor, he says, is that Congress hasn’t addressed government expenditures, especially on Medicaid, Medicare, Society Security, and welfare programs.

“Mandatory spending is now almost 70 percent of all federal outlays,” says Barr. “Clearly, the growth in mandatory spending is what’s driving our long-term debt and deficit challenges. It also threatens the solvency of those very important safety-net programs.”

Barr says he wants to reform welfare to help able-bodied, working-age adults with no dependents get the skills they need to hold a job. He contends that a paycheck is the best way for people to escape poverty.

At the same time, Barr says the Congressional Budget Office estimates that economy will grow by more than $6 trillion thanks to the Republican tax cuts. He says that will result in higher personal incomes, more people paying taxes, and fewer Americans needing government support as they move off welfare and into jobs.

Trade Policy
The federal tax bill also includes tax breaks that will benefit Kentucky bourbon distillers. Barr says he pushed for a provision that creates a level playing field between companies that produce aged distilled spirits, and those that produce non-aged spirits. The tax package also contained a cut in the federal excise tax on distillers.

But Barr fears those gains could be at risk as President Donald Trump pursues tariffs on foreign goods. That’s caused the European Union to retaliate by placing their own levies on Kentucky bourbon and other products.

“We don’t want the trade policy in this country to negate the benefits of tax cuts for bourbon and for soybean exports,” he says.

Barr supports the president’s goal of free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals, but he says lawmakers should have a role in the process. Barr has cosponsored legislation that would give Congress final approval on any tariffs requested by a president.

Health Care
The House has voted dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Barr says some of his constituents like the ACA, but he also thinks that many more people have been hurt by it because he says they lost access to plans and doctors they liked, their health care options have dwindled, and prices have skyrocketed.

“That is not, to me, a health care system worthy of the American people,” he says.

Rather than simply repeal the ACA, Barr says he voted in May 2017 to repeal and replace it with the American Health Care Act. Among its many provisions, the AHCA would have eliminated the individual mandate, funded high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, and rolled back the expansion of Medicaid. A Senate version of the bill failed to win passage last summer.

Barr says he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions but he does not want a public option, which he contends would only exacerbate current heath care problems. He also opposes the Medicaid expansion because he says too few providers participate in that system, so patients get “access to a waiting line” instead of access to care.

He says the real cost drivers in health care come down to two populations: People in the individual market and uninsured Americans who are not eligible for Medicaid.

“I was very satisfied that the American Health Care Act was helping deal with the challenges in those groups,” says Barr, “because we were offering something far better than expanded Medicaid.”

“We want a more robust, competitive, private health insurance marketplace with tax credits,” he says. “The American Health Care Act provided that.”

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Host Dr. Wayne Tuckson in a dark shirt and gray jacket on the program set with a "Check Schedule" button.Host Dr. Wayne Tuckson in a dark shirt and gray jacket on the program set with a "Check Schedule" button.

Season 14 Episodes

The 'I Was Here' Project

S14 E36 Length 27:42 Premiere Date 08/04/19

Mike Runyon and Sherita Miller; Wendy Kobler

S14 E35 Length 26:57 Premiere Date 07/28/19

Filmmaker Lynn Novick

S14 E33 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 07/14/19

Brent Hutchinson; Christine Thompson - Education

S14 E32 Length 27:37 Premiere Date 07/07/19

Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton - Youth Mental Health

S14 E31 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 06/02/19

Julie Cerel - Youth Suicide Prevention

S14 E29 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 05/19/19

Dale Suttles - Sunrise Children's Services

S14 E28 Length 27:33 Premiere Date 05/12/19

Education in Rural Eastern Kentucky

S14 E27 Length 28:13 Premiere Date 05/05/19

Joshua A. Douglas - Voting Rights Reform

S14 E25 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 04/21/19

Jay Box - Ky. Community & Technical College System

S14 E24 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 04/14/19

Author and Life Coach Colene Elridge

S14 E23 Length 26:19 Premiere Date 04/07/19

FIRST STEP Act - Criminal Justice Reform

S14 E22 Length 27:44 Premiere Date 03/31/19

Cheryl A. Oldham

S14 E21 Length 26:38 Premiere Date 02/22/19

Linda Hampton - Early Childhood

S14 E20 Length 29:47 Premiere Date 02/15/19

Donald Mason

S14 E19 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 02/08/19

Community Action Council; First 5 Lex

S14 E18 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 02/01/19

Seamus Carey

S14 E17 Length 26:57 Premiere Date 01/25/19

Michael Benson

S14 E16 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 01/18/19

Dr. Aaron Thompson

S14 E14 Length 28:13 Premiere Date 01/11/19

Mary Todd Lincoln and Lincoln Lexington Walking Tour

S14 E13 Length 28:55 Premiere Date 12/14/18

Youth Suicide

S14 E12 Length 29:22 Premiere Date 12/07/18

Jean Schumm and Amanda Gale

S14 E11 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 11/16/18

M. Christopher Brown II

S14 E10 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 11/09/18

Frank Harris

S14 E9 Length 25:17 Premiere Date 11/02/18

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

S14 E8 Length 29:16 Premiere Date 10/26/18

Amy McGrath

S14 E7 Length 29:02 Premiere Date 10/19/18

Kevin Chapman - Youth Mental Health

S14 E6 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 10/12/18

Carol Cecil; Resa Gonzalez - Youth Mental Health

S14 E5 Length 26:03 Premiere Date 10/05/18

Joe Bargione - Youth Mental Health

S14 E4 Length 28:57 Premiere Date 09/28/18

WKU President Timothy Caboni

S14 E3 Length 28:40 Premiere Date 09/21/18

Dr. Neeli Bendapudi

S14 E1 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 09/14/18

See All Episodes

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Scholar and Author Anastasia Curwood

Renee Shaw speaks with Anastasia Curwood, the director of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies at the University of Kentucky, about her latest book, "Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics," a biography about the former Congresswoman and Democratic candidate for United States president.

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Reporter Jonathan Bullington

Jonathan Bullington, an investigative reporter with the Louisville Courier Journal, talks about the outsized mass incarceration rates in Kentucky and an analysis of 43 years of persistent felony offender cases by Courier Journal investigative reporters and the Vera Institute of Justice linking jail and prison overcrowding to Kentucky's Persistent Felony Offender (PFO) law.

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Kidney Health: Prevention, Treatment, and Organ Donation

Renee Shaw talks about kidney health, prevention and mitigation of chronic kidney disease and the importance of being a kidney donor with Dr. Kenneth Afenya, internal medicine and nephrology specialist, and Sarah Crouch, executive director of the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky.

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Child Abuse Prevention in Kentucky

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Renee Shaw and her guests discuss the statistics of kids who suffer from abuse in Kentucky and some ways state organizations and policymakers are working to protect them. Guests include Shannon Moody, chief officer of strategic initiatives for Kentucky Youth Advocates and Sonja Grey, executive director of Exploited Children's Help Organization.

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Jill Seyfred - Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky

Renee Shaw talks with Jill Seyfred, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, about how the organization strives to educate communities, families and children about abuse awareness and prevention.

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Brigitte Blom - Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Brigitte Blom, president and CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, talks about how education fared during the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly and how the organization is engaged in policymaking around early childhood education, equity and student success.

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Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health America of Kentucky

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Renee Shaw talks with Marcie Timmerman, executive director of Mental Health America of Kentucky, about recent policies advancing mental health in Kentucky and intervention strategies for preventing suicide.

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Ben Chandler - Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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Gun Control Advocate Whitney Austin

Whitney Austin, a mass shooting survivor, talks about the recent events in Texas and a policy proposal to curb gun violence that she’s pushing in Kentucky to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

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School Safety in Kentucky

Renee Shaw talks with Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass; Jon Akers, executive director of the Center for School Safety; and Ben Wilcox, the State School Security Marshal, about Kentucky laws and policies that seek to enhance the safety of public schools.

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Fatherhood; Financial Literacy

David Cozart, head of the Commonwealth Center for Fathers and Families, talks about his organization's effort to engage fathers more, especially those incarcerated, in their children's lives. Next, Renee Shaw speaks with financial experts Dale Morgan and Beverly Bowens about their efforts to educate and empower youngsters and the larger Lexington community regarding financial literacy.

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Lyle Roelofs - Berea College

Renee Shaw speaks with retiring Berea College President Lyle Roelofs about his 11-year tenure at the college.

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State Treasurer Allison Ball

Renee Shaw talks with Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball about her future run for state auditor; unclaimed property amounts returned to Kentuckians, the eastern Kentucky counties ravaged by recent floods and more.

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Melynda Jamison - CASA of Lexington

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can help change the story of a child who has suffered abuse and neglect. Renee Shaw talks with the executive director of CASA of Lexington, Melynda Jamison, about what CASAs do, the training they need, and why their work is so vital.

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David Adkins - The Council of State Governments

Renee Shaw talks with David Adkins, executive director and CEO of the Council of State Governments, about how the non-partisan organization serves all three branches of government by working on a range of public policy issues, with a particular emphasis on criminal justice reform.

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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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Darlene Thomas - GreenHouse17

Darlene Thomas, executive director of GreenHouse17, an advocacy agency committed to ending intimate partner abuse in families and the community, talks about services provided by the agency, including a 24-hour hotline, 42-bed emergency shelter, legal advocacy and more.

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UK President Eli Capilouto

Renee Shaw talks with University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto about his vision for the flagship university and the billions of dollars invested in improving the campus.

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Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams runs down the list of election-related dates and ballot items, discusses how baseless claims of election fraud are impacting county clerks, creative recruiting techniques for poll workers and more.

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Breast Cancer

Renee Shaw talks with UK HealthCare obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Rachel Saunders about early detection of breast cancer, treatment options and higher mortality rates in African American women. The program also features two breast cancer survivors: a young Bowling Green woman diagnosed with the disease in her 30s and a male survivor of breast cancer.

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  • Thursday March 16, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday March 16, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Addressing Needs of Kentuckians with Disabilities - S17 E11

  • Wednesday March 15, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 15, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 15, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 15, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Terry Brooks - Kentucky Youth Advocates - S15 E6

  • Tuesday March 14, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 14, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 14, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 14, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Chelsea Ellis-Hogan - S17 E9

  • Monday March 13, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 13, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday March 13, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 13, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Author Emily Bingham - S18 E11

  • Sunday March 19, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 19, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday March 18, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday March 18, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday March 12, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 12, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Devine Carama - S17 E7

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

Rufus Friday - S17 E6

  • Thursday March 9, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday March 9, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday March 9, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday March 9, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence - S17 E4

  • Wednesday March 8, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 8, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 8, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday March 8, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Filmmaker Sarah Burns - S17 E3

  • Tuesday March 7, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 7, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 7, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday March 7, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kathy Werking; Jim Embry - S16 E37

  • Monday March 6, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Restoring American Democracy - S18 E9

  • Sunday March 12, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 12, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday March 11, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday March 11, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack - S16 E36

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

Pastor Edward Palmer - Racial Bias and Juvenile Justice Reform - S15 E2

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

The Demands and Rewards of Fatherhood - S16 E33

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

Psychologist Julie Cerel - S16 E32

  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Central Kentucky Chefs - Samantha Fore and Isaiah Screetch - S18 E21

  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 5:00 am ET on KET
  • Tuesday February 28, 2023 4:00 am CT on KET
  • Sunday February 26, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday February 26, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday February 26, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday February 26, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Terrance Sullivan - S16 E8

  • Friday February 24, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday February 24, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Restaurateur and Chef Ouita Michel - S16 E31

  • Monday February 27, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday February 27, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday February 24, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday February 24, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday February 24, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday February 24, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education - S16 E29

  • Thursday February 23, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday February 23, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday February 23, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday February 23, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Cynthia Knapek - Leadership Louisville Center - S16 E27

  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Vaccine Equity and Hesitancy - S16 E26

  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

EKU Criminal Justice Professor Pete Kraska - S16 E23

  • Monday February 20, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday February 20, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday February 20, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday February 20, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday February 20, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday February 20, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Affrilachian Poet Frank X Walker - S18 E20

  • Monday March 6, 2023 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday March 6, 2023 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday March 5, 2023 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday March 4, 2023 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday March 3, 2023 11:30 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday March 3, 2023 10:30 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday March 3, 2023 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday March 3, 2023 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Saturday February 25, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday February 25, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 4:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday February 22, 2023 3:30 am CT on KET
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 5:00 am ET on KET
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023 4:00 am CT on KET
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Aaron Thompson - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education - S18 E19

  • Sunday February 19, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday February 19, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday February 18, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday February 18, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence - S16 E22

  • Friday February 17, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday February 17, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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