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; 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 and college credit courses.


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. The group was unable to receive the money to start the station; they then decided to launch 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 flagship station 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 Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper. After landing support from University of Kentucky 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 (a position he held until 1991). However, 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 lead 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.[1] 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 when the network submitted and reorganized 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. In 1998, KET merged with WKPC allowing it to start a second service on the Louisville station it already owned, WKMJ-TV (channel 68).


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

KET (which at one time, was branded as KET1, to disambiguate the primary network from one of KET's two Louisville stations, WKMJ-TV) operates 16 full-power transmitters and three translators covering all of Kentucky and portions of seven surrounding states (Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia). The network's stations are available on all of the cable television providers serving Kentucky.[2]

As it is one of a few PBS member state networks 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.

Station City of license Channels
First air date Call letters'
ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
WKAS Ashland (Ironton, Ohio-Huntington-Charleston, West Virginia) 25 (PSIP)
26 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky
61.3 kW 137 m 34171 38°27′43.7″N 82°37′11.8″W / 38.462139°N 82.619944°W / 38.462139; -82.619944 (WKAS)
WKGB-TV Bowling Green (Glasgow-Nashville, Tennessee) 53 (PSIP)
48 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky
City of Bowling Green
54.8 kW 234 m 34177 37°5′22.7″N 86°38′5″W / 37.089639°N 86.63472°W / 37.089639; -86.63472 (WKGB-TV)
WCVN-TV Covington (Cincinnati, Ohio) 54 (PSIP)
24 (UHF)
September 8, 1969; 45 years ago (1969-09-08) CoVingtoN 53.5 kW 117 m 34204 39°1′50.6″N 84°30′23″W / 39.030722°N 84.50639°W / 39.030722; -84.50639 (WCVN-TV)
WKZT-TV Elizabethtown (Fort Knox) 23 (PSIP)
43 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's City of
61 kW 178 m 34181 37°40′55.2″N 85°50′31.2″W / 37.682000°N 85.842000°W / 37.682000; -85.842000 (WKZT-TV)
WKHA Hazard (Tri-Cities, Tennessee-Virginia) 35 (PSIP)
16 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's Town of
53.2 kW 369 m 34196 37°11′34.2″N 83°11′17.4″W / 37.192833°N 83.188167°W / 37.192833; -83.188167 (WKHA)
WKLE Lexington (Frankfort) 46 (PSIP)
42 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's Big City of
45.8 kW 257.6 m 34207 37°52′45″N 84°19′32.8″W / 37.87917°N 84.325778°W / 37.87917; -84.325778 (WKLE)
WKPC-TV1 Louisville (New Albany-Jeffersonville, Indiana) 15 (PSIP)
17 (UHF)
September 8, 1958; 56 years ago (1958-09-08) Kentucky
(for Central Park)
60.3 kW 237 m 21432 38°22′1.6″N 85°49′53.8″W / 38.367111°N 85.831611°W / 38.367111; -85.831611 (WKPC-TV)
WKMA-TV Madisonville 35 (PSIP)
42 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's City of
55.1 kW 298 m 34212 37°11′21.3″N 87°30′49″W / 37.189250°N 87.51361°W / 37.189250; -87.51361 (WKMA-TV)
WKMR Morehead 38 (PSIP)
15 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's Town of
51.4 kW 289 m 34202 38°10′38.3″N 83°24′17.2″W / 38.177306°N 83.404778°W / 38.177306; -83.404778 (WKMR)
WKMU Murray (Mayfield-Union City-Memphis, Tennessee) 21 (PSIP)
36 (UHF)
October 9, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-10-09) Kentucky's Town of
56.9 kW 187 m 34174 36°41′34.2″N 88°32′10.6″W / 36.692833°N 88.536278°W / 36.692833; -88.536278 (WKMU)
WKOH Owensboro (Henderson-Evansville, Indiana) 31 (PSIP)
30 (UHF)
December 31, 1979; 35 years ago (1979-12-31) Kentucky
OHio Valley
Kentucky's 2 Cities are
63.3 kW 124 m 34205 37°51′7″N 87°19′44″W / 37.85194°N 87.32889°W / 37.85194; -87.32889 (WKOH)
WKON Owenton 52 (PSIP)
44 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's Town of
49.7 kW 214 m 34211 38°31′31.5″N 84°48′39.4″W / 38.525417°N 84.810944°W / 38.525417; -84.810944 (WKON)
WKPD2 Paducah (Harrisburg, Illinois-Cape Girardeau, Missouri) 29 (PSIP)
41 (UHF)
May 31, 1971; 43 years ago (1971-05-31) Kentucky's City of
55.7 kW 143 m 65758 37°5′39.7″N 88°40′20″W / 37.094361°N 88.67222°W / 37.094361; -88.67222 (WKPD)
WKPI-TV Pikeville 22 (PSIP)
24 (UHF) [3]
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's Town of
50.4 kW 423 m 34200 37°17′6.3″N 82°31′28.3″W / 37.285083°N 82.524528°W / 37.285083; -82.524528 (WKPI-TV)
WKSO-TV Somerset (Knoxville, Tennessee) 29 (PSIP)
14 (UHF)
September 23, 1968; 46 years ago (1968-09-23) Kentucky's City of
53.3 kW 429 m 34222 37°10′2.6″N 84°49′29.8″W / 37.167389°N 84.824944°W / 37.167389; -84.824944 (WKSO-TV)


  • 1. WKPC-TV formerly operated as a standalone station; it was owned and operated by the city of Louisville from its 1958 inception up to the time it was acquired by KET in 1998. It used the callsign WFPK-TV from 1958 to 1969 and served as a member of NET from 1958 to 1970.
  • 2. WKPD formerly operated as a commercial independent station using the callsign WDXR-TV from its 1971 sign-on up to the time it was acquired by KET in 1981.

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. 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 percent (62%) of Kentucky's cable subscribers.[2] 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.

Station City of license Channels
First air date Call letters'
ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
WKMJ-TV Louisville 68 (PSIP)
38 (UHF)
September 2, 1970; 44 years ago (1970-09-02) Kentucky
Media and
61.6 kW 218 m 34195 38°22′1.6″N 85°49′53.8″W / 38.367111°N 85.831611°W / 38.367111; -85.831611 (WKMJ-TV)

KET also operates three translator stations:[4]

Station City of license Channels
First air date ERP HAAT Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
W20CT-D Augusta 38 (PSIP)
20 (UHF)
October 11, 2007; 7 years ago (2007-10-11) 61.3 kW 137 m 167571 38°46′4″N 84°0′35″W / 38.76778°N 84.00972°W / 38.76778; -84.00972 (WKAS)
W23DM-D Falmouth 52 (PSIP)
23 (UHF)
January 12, 2007; 8 years ago (2007-01-12) 0.8 kW 86 m 167570 38°40′9″N 84°19′35″W / 38.66917°N 84.32639°W / 38.66917; -84.32639 (W23DM-D)
W28DD-D Louisa 25 (PSIP)
28 (UHF)
January 12, 2007; 8 years ago (2007-01-12) 0.11 kW 72 m 167569 38°6′36″N 82°36′35″W / 38.11000°N 82.60972°W / 38.11000; -82.60972 (W28DD-D)

Signal coverage[edit]

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:

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The digital channels of most of KET's stations are multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
xx.1 720p 16:9 KET Main KET programming / PBS
xx.2 480i 4:3 KET2 PBS Encore / KET2
xx.3 KET KY Kentucky Channel (5:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m.)
KET ED (1:00-5:00 a.m.)

WKMJ's digital channel uses a different multiplexed lineup from the other fifteen KET stations:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[19]
68.1 480i 4:3 KET2 Main WKMJ-TV programming / PBS Encore ("KET2")
68.2 KETKY Kentucky Channel
68.3 KETWRLD World

KET KY (formerly branded as "KET3"), which is carried as the third digital subchannel on 15 of the KET stations and as the second subchannel of WKMJ, formerly broadcast all of the state network's educational programming throughout its broadcast day. In January 2008, KET3 was relaunched as KET KY, also known as "The Kentucky Channel," broadcasting programs by, about and for Kentuckians for 20 hours each day. KET KY also broadcasts coverage of the Kentucky General Assembly while it is in session, combining the services previously offered on KET5 and KET6. KET KY broadcasts 24 hours a day in standard definition.[2]

Since the fall of 2009, KET ED provides a feed of K-12 educational programming on KET KY from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time.[2] KET ED (formerly branded as "KET4"), formerly offered KET's digital service during primetime hours and programming from the Annenberg Channel at other times. At one time, this service was carried on the fourth digital subchannel of KET's station. In Louisville, this service was also available 24 hours a day on WKMJ's digital signal, but has since been discontinued, due to an increase of fees for the usage of the national PBSHD channel by PBS. Instead, KET reinvested the money to acquire new digital equipment, including upgrades to allow the transmission of locally produced and tape delayed programming in high definition. This increase of PBSHD fees has also led to KET scheduling HD programming themselves, rather than merely carrying the national feed.[20] Today, KET ED features a mix of educational programming from ITV and Annenberg, as well as KET's own professional development series and PBS' educational content, all of which was previously seen on either KET3 or KET4.[21]

KET5 and KET6 featured live coverage of the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate respectively on the services, while the state General Assembly was in session. These channels were discontinued in January 2008, when KET realigned its digital programming (see KET KY and KET ED above). As mentioned above, coverage of the General Assembly, while reduced significantly, is still carried on KET KY. In the state capital of Frankfort, however, both the Kentucky House and Senate are seen session-round in session on local cable providers Frankfort Plant Board and Windjammer Communications, overlapping the slots of C-SPAN3 and NASA TV.

KET World features programs about world history, featuring programming content sourced from the World network; it is currently available only on the third digital subchannel of KET's secondary Louisville station WKMJ-TV.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

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.[22][23] 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).

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.[24]

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)[25]
  • "Bringing Kentucky Together" (1989–early 1990s) [26]
  • "Simply The Best!" (late 1990s–early 2000s)
  • "Explore Kentucky, Explore the World" (2007–present)




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

External links[edit]