Explore Kentucky… Explore the World…  Those words were the mantra of my time spent in early new motherhood when we lived in Louisville.  We have never bought cable or satelitte since we’ve been married, but we were excited when we got almost 7 channels on our TV with a regular antennae.  I love KET, all the versions.  I grew up watching KET (Kentucky Educational Television) and the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) programming they aired.  Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, The Write Channel, were staples of my education, and I have to say it is a huge part of what gave me the courage to call myself a writer.  A huge part of who I am as a person.

Deladis was about 2 years old when she was watching evening programming with me as I rocked her to sleep.  Explore Kentucky… Explore the World… flowed out of the television and Deladis repeated the words with the same cadence and tone as it was spoken by the narrator.  My eyes welled with tears.  It was one of the first times I realized that she heard words like I do.  Hearing those words spoken in that way for that KET advertisement made me proud to be a Kentuckian.  I loved hearing them, and in them Deladis heard the same value.  KET and PBS produce such a quality programming, which is so hard to find now days.

Now, that we live back in the hills, we don’t get any channels.  We watch television and movies through Netflix.  I watch KET/PBS anytime I get the chance – renting their shows through Netflix and watching for free online through their websites.  Public broadcasting is still such a part of our lives through radio as well.  NPR and PRI programming through WEKU and are my chosen sources for news, education, and entertainment in the car and at home.  Not only that, but WMMT (Mountain Community Radio) is our community’s (Appalachia’s) leading source for programming that is at the heart of our culture and community.  I host a show on there once a month called Mountain Talk. 

It was only a week or so ago, when no radio was playing, or TV going, Deladis broke out in her play as perfect as a radio announcer and said – “P…R…I… Public Radio International.”  I felt the tears well again.  Her gorgeous child’s voice, hearing words so beautifully.  It’s an awesome thing for me as her mother to hear.

So, right now my heart hurts over the funding cuts proposed by our Congress to all public broadcasting – radio and television.  It would mean the end of so many of the shows I value so much.  Not only have they proposed this but also complete cuts of funding for preventing teen and unplanned young adult pregnancy programs, and cutbacks for initiatives geared toward maternal and child health.  I have no clue what is going on here.  I understand we need to budget, but there are so many programs wasting government money, not to mention the government itself, that I can’t see justification in cuts such as these.  I don’t like to get political here, but in this case I have to write on it.  Funding cuts for the arts, public broadcasting, family health, education, etc… really???

Read KET’s urgent plea here.  Make your voice heard.  Mr. Fred Rogers isn’t around to do it for us this time as he did in 1969.  Can someone… can we fill his shoes?

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