The founder and first executive director of KET has died. O. Leonard Press was 97.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Press was a World War II veteran, who received a master’s degree in communications from Boston University, and moved to Kentucky in 1952 to work as the head of broadcast TV at UK.
After years of campaigning by Press, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation creating the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television in 1962, naming Press as the agency’s first executive director.
Press led KET as executive director for nearly 30 years, until his retirement in 1991, when he was succeeded by longtime colleague, Ginni Fox.
Last September, Press was instrumental in celebrating KET’s 50th anniversary, as part of the documentary The KET Story and the unveiling of a Kentucky Historical Marker at the Network Center.
Press is survived by his wife Lillian, their son, Lowell, daughter-in-law, Sasha Stoneman Press, and two grandsons.
(This story was originally published on August 1, 2019)