Emerson was right. You remember old Ralph Waldo’s famous saying; "An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.”
The institution is KET, observing the 50th anniversary of going on the air this month.
The “one man” is Len Press, who conceived the idea of KET and after many hardships got it going. Len would be the first to say he didn’t do it alone, and his book points out the many people all over Kentucky, and in DC who had his dream and reality. But still, this month as we celebrate KET, we must celebrate Len Press (and his wife Lil, very much also involved in KET’s history).
I hope you see the 50th birthday program which KET will be airing a lot, even if you don’t read his book. KET is so much more than the PBS schedule in prime time many of us confuse with KET. So much more. It—and Len’s—prime mission was to bring education to those who didn’t have it, and who badly needed it. While other states (and KET, too) have drifted from his primary goal, it is, please remember, Kentucky EDUCATIONAL Television.
I hope 50 years from now we will still have KET. If so, it will be on the frontiers of whatever good broadcasting is about. But I am not entirely hopeful. The legislature has squeezed its budget badly. Good, veteran staffers have been laid off, programs have been cancelled or cut back; more than KET will admit, and these days we need it more than ever.
But so many people realize its worth, and hopefully will continue to do so, that 50 years from now, there will be another shadow, another Len Press to guide it into another uncertain future, and for that, and for what KET has achieved in its first half-century, we may all be very, very proud.
I'm just sayin'...