Kentucky Educational Television

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"KET" redirects here. For other uses, see KET (disambiguation).
Kentucky Educational Television
Kentucky Educational Television logo.png
statewide Kentucky
United States
Branding KET (general)
KET: The Kentucky Network (secondary)
Slogan Explore Kentucky.
Explore the World.
Channels Digital: see table below
Subchannels xx.1 PBS
xx.2 PBS Encore/KET2
xx.3 Kentucky Channel/KET ED
Affiliations PBS (1970-Present)
Owner Kentucky Authority for Educational Television
First air date September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23)
Call letters' meaning see table below
Former affiliations NET (1968–1970)
Transmitter power see table below
Height see table below
Facility ID see table below
Transmitter coordinates see table below
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Educational Television Profile
Educational Television CDBS

Kentucky Educational Television (also known as KET: The Kentucky Network) is a state network of PBS member television stations serving the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. It's Owned and operated by the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television, which holds the licenses for almost all of the PBS member stations licensed in the state with the exception of WKYU-TV (channel 24) in Bowling Green. KET is the largest PBS state network in the United States;[1] the broadcast signals of its sixteen stations cover almost all of the state, as well as parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The network's offices and studio facilities are located in Lexington on Cooper Drive as adjacent to the campus of the University of Kentucky (however, Kentucky Educational Television has no direct affiliation with the university). KET carries national programming from PBS along with a wide range of local programming, basic skills and workplace education.[1]


Overhead view of transmitter tower in Ashland, belonging to KET satellite WKAS.

KET was founded by O. Leonard Press, a member of the University of Kentucky faculty, who was a pioneer in educational broadcasting. Before coming to the university, Press had developed the weekly broadcast from the National Press Club, which has aired for over half a century. In the mid-1950s, he taped a popular anthropology course, and the response to the telecourses was positive enough for Press and two of his colleagues to consider founding an educational television station at the University of Kentucky. This drive failed, but Press and his colleagues decided to set their sights higher and make a bid for a statewide educational television network along the lines of Alabama Educational Television (now Alabama Public Television). At the time, the only educational station in Kentucky was WFPK-TV (channel 15, now KET outlet WKPC-TV) in Louisville, which signed on the air on September 8, 1958.

The idea gained little momentum until 1959, when Press addressed the local Rotary Club in the state capital of Frankfort, and a story about it appeared in The Courier-Journal newspaper. After landing support from UK officials, what was supposed to be a short meeting with Governor Bert T. Combs turned into a proposal to start the state network. The Kentucky Authority for Educational Television was created in 1962 with Press serving as its executive director.[2]

The project made little progress until 1965 when Ashland Oil founder Paul G. Blazer personally acquired the first thirteen transmitter sites and then gifted the sites to the authority. Ownership of the sites led to KET's expanded inclusion in the state budget and eligibility for United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare and Appalachian Regional Commission grants.[3] KET finally took to the air on September 23, 1968 with its programming being relayed on ten stations. KET was affiliated with NET for its first two years of operation, before joining PBS in 1970.

Originally operating only during school hours, within a year it had acquired enough support to begin broadcasting its programming during the evening as well.[2] By 1975, it was showing programming seven days a week.

In 1998, KET merged with WKPC, allowing it to start a second service on the Louisville station it already owned, WKMJ-TV (channel 68).


  • Comment on Kentucky, KET's longest-running public affairs program.[4] It has been in existence since 1974. Series creator and original host, Al Smith, retired from the series in November 2007. It has since been hosted by Ferrell Wellman and Bill Bryant.
  • Kentucky Afield is a magazine, radio show and television program, and is the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The magazine is a quarterly periodical while the television and radio programs are a 30-minute broadcast, all of which is devoted to the fish and wildlife resources of Kentucky and covers a broad range of outdoor topics, including angling, hunting, conservation and land management.
  • Kentucky Collectibles, a series where participants have their possessions assessed by an appraiser, with hosts Dave Shuffett and Amy Hess discuss with the guests about the valuables.[5]
  • Kentucky Life features profiles of people, places an ideas of Kentucky. It is the most popular show on KET.[6]
  • Louisville Life features events, people, and culture of Louisville.[7]



KET, available to all cable subscribers in Kentucky,[8] broadcasts locally produced cultural and public information programs about the state, programs produced by independent Kentucky filmmakers, prime-time programming from PBS, PBS Kids series, and GED, how-to and adult education programs.[9]

As it is one of a few PBS member state networks[1] encompassing two time zones, KET's programming operates on an Eastern Time Zone schedule; in promos, online guides on the network's website and print advertisements, airtimes within the Central Time Zone (which covers the western part of the state) are identified secondarily, in the manner of the "Eastern/Central" scheduling references used by many national broadcast and cable networks. Most of the KET stations have callsigns beginning with "WK", with the exception of Covington-licensed WCVN-TV.

Louisville's WKPC and WKMJ are the only KET stations whose transmitters are located outside of Kentucky – both stations' transmitters are located at the Kentuckiana Tower Farm in rural Floyd County, Indiana (north of Floyds Knobs and New Albany). Because of its location and signal strength (according to FCC data), WKPC and WKMJ cover more of the Indiana side of the Louisville market than the Kentucky side.

In addition to the reach of WKPC and WKMJ, several of KET's other stations are viewed in significant portions of Kentucky's neighboring states as well:


KET2, based on KET's original Louisville station, WKMJ-TV, airs the national PBS schedule, local programming including shows focused on the Louisville area, children's programs, how-to series, documentaries and public affairs programs.[1] Outside of Louisville, KET2 can be seen on several cable systems across Kentucky as well as on KET's digital signals. It's broadcast in standard definition and it's available to 62% of Kentucky's cable subscribers.[8] Originally, WKMJ-TV was the KET translator serving the Louisville market alongside of the independent WKPC-TV; it carried the same programs as in the rest of the state.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

Climbing the analog antenna of WKAS's tower in Ashland.

Although the DTV Delay Act extended the mandatory deadline from February 17 to June 12, 2009, KET shut down the analog signals of all sixteen stations on April 16, 2009.[29][30][31] All of the sixteen stations remained on their respective pre-transition channel numbers (WKAS on UHF channel 25; WKGB on UHF channel 48; WCVN on UHF channel 18; WKZT on UHF channel 43; WKHA on UHF channel 16; WKLE on UHF channel 42; WKMR on UHF channel 15; WKMU on UHF channel 36; WKOH on UHF channel 30; WKON on UHF channel 44; WKON on UHF channel 44; WKPD on UHF channel 41; WKSO on UHF channel 14; and WKPI-TV on UHF channel 24). KET began broadcasting in high definition from its new high definition production facility in Lexington on October 1, 2009.[31]

Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display virtual channels for each KET station corresponding to their former analog channels (26; 53; 24; 43; 16; 42; 38; 17; 42; 15; 36; 30; 44; 41; 24; 14; and 22, respectively). In the cases of WKON-TV, WKMJ-TV and WCVN-TV, their pre-transition analog channels were among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition and would not have been used as their post-transition digital channels even if KET elected to relocate any of its stations' digital signals to their former analog allocations.

On January 29, 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture awarded KET a grant worth $357,700, as part of its Public Television Digital Transition Grant program, to upgrade 20 analog microwave relays for WKSO, WKMR, WKHA and WKPI to digital, in order to provide digital television service to rural areas of Kentucky.[32]

Distance learning[edit]

KET, among its many educational programs, runs a Distance Learning program. The program features Latin, Humanities, Physics and German language course offerings, and offers leveled courses ranging from introductory to advanced placement classes. It is offered primarily for Kentucky high school students, for whom it is offered tuition-free. However, out-of-state schools may enroll students in the course for a small tuition fee.

The aim of the program is to provide a full course in the aforementioned subjects for schools who do not offer a particular class. Often schools seek distance learning as a temporary solution in cases of funding cuts, which lead to dismissal of teachers or discontinuation of the teaching of certain subjects altogether. The program also is popular with parents of home-schooled children.

The program was established in 1989; the direct-to-school model became possible after a substantial expansion of the state network's headquarters (now dubbed "The O. Leonard Press Telecommunications Center") and legislative funding to provide a satellite receiver for every school and public library in the state. The course was originally administered and taught via live satellite broadcasts directly into classrooms with two-way keypads for real-time student-teacher interaction. Homework, tests, quizzes and other material were distributed by modem and mail.

Since the mid-1990s, KET's Distance Learning program has migrated from broadcast lessons to instruction via KET's website and multimedia lessons on videotape, CD and DVD.

KET slogans[edit]

  • "Where the Vision Continues" (1988, used in honor of KET's 20th anniversary)[33]
  • "Bringing Kentucky Together" (1989–early 1990s) [34]
  • "Simply The Best!" (late 1990s–early 2000s)
  • "Explore Kentucky, Explore the World" (2007–present)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Today's KET". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  2. ^ a b "About KET - History". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  3. ^ Press, pp. 103-104.
  4. ^ "About Comment on Kentucky". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  5. ^ "Kentucky Collectables". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  6. ^ "About Kentucky Life". Kentucky Life. Kentucky Educational Television. 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-05. 
  7. ^ "Louisville Life". KET. Kentucky Life. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  8. ^ a b c d "TV Channels". Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  9. ^ "TV Channels". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  10. ^,%20KY%20%20%20489%20mi.html
  11. ^ RabbitEars Query: Stations for Owner - Kentucky Authority for Educational Television
  12. ^ KET | Digital Television | Stations and Services
  13. ^,%20KY%20%20%20319%20mi.html
  14. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKAS
  15. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKGB
  16. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCVN
  17. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKHA
  18. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKMU
  19. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKOH
  20. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKON
  21. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKPD
  22. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKPI
  23. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKSO
  24. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKLE
  25. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKMR
  26. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKMA
  27. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKZT
  28. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WKMJ
  29. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  30. ^ "Calls come after KET, WKYT digital TV transition". Lexington Herald-Leader. April 17, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "The Digital Transition: The Malcolm (Mac) Wall Years". KET. Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  32. ^ "$2.5 million in grants will help rural stations complete DTV transition". January 30, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  33. ^ Frontline Funding and Washington Week Funding PBS/KET (February 1988)
  34. ^ PBS/KET Commercial Break (1990)



  • Press, O. Leonard (2008). The KET Story: A Personal Account. Lexington, Kentucky: The Clark Group. ISBN 978-1-883589-89-9. 

External links[edit]