Posts Tagged ‘O. Leonard Press’

Happy 45th

KET celebrates 45 years

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013

PressHopkins | KET image

KET founder O. Leonard Press and KET executive director Shae Hopkins

KET’s founding father, O. Leonard Press, didn’t set out to create the nation’s biggest statewide educational TV network. He originally worked to launch a local ETV station in Lexington.

“We couldn’t get the money,” laughed Mr. Press, “so we thought bigger and came up with the idea of a statewide network.”

That earliest inclination to think big, to innovate, to find efficiencies, became the DNA of KET.

Mr. Press spent the early years traveling the state, speaking to education, business, and political leaders about using television to provide equal access to education, overcoming geography and economic limitations.

On September 23, 1968 — 45 years ago today, his dream became a reality when KET signed on for its first broadcast. Back then, KET was only on air Monday through Friday during the day.

Today, KET is still helping Kentuckians overcome geographic and economic barriers to education.

And KET is still thinking big, providing educational media online and on three channels 24/7/365. We’re on every screen, from computers to smart phones, to tablets and the largest HDTVs — in your living room, classroom, and on the go.

While viewers enjoy Masterpiece’s “Downton Abbey” and Curious George, teachers and students utilize KET EncycloMedia for high-quality classroom instruction and professional development. Adults study online for their GED® test, and high school students learn physics, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and more with our digital courses.

As KET celebrates 45 years of service this month, more than 1 million Kentuckians watch each week. We’re so grateful you’re one of them.

KET was created through the determination of Mr. Press and those who believed in his vision. It has grown and flourished for 45 years through the support of thousands of Kentuckians just like you.

Thank you for watching, believing in, and supporting KET.

Congrats, Len Press

KET founder recognized for contribution to Kentucky

February 14, 2013

O. Leonard Press | KET image

We would like to extend our congratulations and appreciation to our founder, O. Leonard Press, who has been awarded the 2012 Vic Hellard Jr. Award for excellence in public service from the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. You can watch the entire award ceremony here.

Len is a pioneer for using the power of television to bring educational resources into Kentucky’s classrooms and homes. In the 1950s, when television itself was taking its first tentative steps, an idea was formed in Kentucky: Use the medium to overcome geographic barriers and educate young people.

And the story of how that idea became Kentucky Educational Television is the story of O. Leonard Press. Read it all here.

Says Shae Hopkins, KET executive director and CEO: “We are so pleased that Len Press is being recognized with this award. Through his vision and hard work, he created and established KET as Kentucky’s only broadcast network and one of the nation’s preeminent public broadcasting services. From KET’s inception, Len Press set forth the educational mission and priorities that still serve the Commonwealth and nation today. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor for his selfless lifelong public service.”

Happy 90th, Mr. Press!

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray declares Nov. 10 “Len Press Day” on KET founder O. Leonard Press’s 90th birthday

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

In the 1950s, when television itself was taking its first tentative steps, an idea was formed in Kentucky: use the medium to overcome geographic barriers and educate young people. KET’s founder and first executive director, O. Leonard “Len” Press, had to camp out on a governor’s doorstep and travel the back roads of Kentucky to make the idea a reality.

Today, KET is the largest public television network in the country and second-largest in the world. On Thursday, Nov. 10, Press celebrates his 90th birthday. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has declared this day “Len Press Day” in Lexington.

All day Thursday, Nov. 10 on KETKY, watch programs that explore Press’s contributions:

  • KET: 40 Years of Exploration at 9 am and 9 pm
  • One to One with Bill Goodman: O. Leonard Press at 1 pm and 9:30 pm
  • O. Leonard Press: Distinguished Kentuckian at 2 pm

About Press
A native of Lowell, MA, Press arrived in Kentucky from Boston in 1952. His teaching work at the University of Kentucky gave him insight into the state’s educational needs and reinforced a conviction he had gained as a graduate student in Boston: It is the responsibility of the media to serve education.

“Across Kentucky, I saw the heroic struggle to provide equal education thwarted by the barrier of unequal resources,” Press said. “It was essential that we harness the power of television to assure the education and enrichment of our people so they would have every possible opportunity. We could not afford to accept less.”

With these words, KET embarked on a journey to improve the quality of life for all Kentuckians. For 43 years, KET has nurtured the human mind and spirit, encouraged independent thought, connected people and traditions, and strengthened families and communities.

Click here to read Press’s complete biography. Share with us here or on Facebook or Twitter what KET has meant to you over the years! On Twitter, use hashtag #Happy90LenPress to see what birthday wishes others are sharing!

Giving in Press’s honor
Also, on the occasion of Press’s 90th birthday celebration, please consider a special gift to KET’s “Press 90” campaign in his honor. This challenge seeks to generate $90,000 in 90 days in honor of Press’s vision for KET and Kentucky.


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