LEXINGTON — Bill Goodman, a native of Glasgow and host and managing editor of the Emmy award winning public affairs series “Kentucky Tonight” on KET, has taken a position as executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council.
The announcement was made earlier this week.
“After 36 years in journalism and 20 plus years at KET, this opportunity literally fell into my lap and came out of the blue,” he said. “I had never expected to leave at KET at this time, although I have had a great run here and I love what I do and have been so blessed to have been involved with KET for many years.”
Goodman says he will miss the people he has worked with at KET, as well as the people he has had an opportunity to meet and interview over the years whether it was on Monday nights with “Kentucky Tonight” or his interview conversations with “One to One” on Sundays and Wednesdays.
“I think it has been a blessing to be associated with so many different people with great ideas, great thoughts — authors, politicians, historians and regular every day people who have in their heart the best for this best commonwealth that we live in,” he said.
Ronnie Ellis, a reporter for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Daily Times, appeared on Goodman's shows occasionally, usually on election nights.
"Bill was always scrupulously professional and well-prepared in his interviews of public and political figures, persistent in his questioning while doing so in a very civil way which was refreshing to viewers and politicians alike,” Ellis said.
"He made significant contributions to the public's knowledge about those seeking to represent them and he'll be missed at KET and by Kentucky journalism."
When Goodman begins his new duties with the humanities council, he said his outreach will be diminished to a degree.
“That's the challenge I have before me,” Goodman said. “Something I want to do is promote the work they do and let people know who they are and how available they are and the resources that are available to local communities, especially in rural parts of the state like Barren County.”
Phil Patton, former Circuit Court Judge for Barren County, sits on the humanities council board of directors but is not involved in the selection process for a new executive director, said he was very pleased to learn Goodman had been selected for the position.
“I've known Bill, he used to be called Billy, for probably 35 years or so when he lived here. We went on hikes together frequently. We hiked much of the Appalachian Trial and hiked out in the Rocky Mountains,” Patton said.
“I think he has certainly the name recognition and a great background in the humanities and the history of Kentucky. He will just be pretty much a perfect fit.”
Prior to going to work for KET, Goodman served as the news director for KPRC, the NBC affiliate, in Houston.
His father, Henry, who founded the Goodman Candy Co. in Glasgow in 1933, asked Goodman to come back to Glasgow in the early 1990s and help him sell the family business.
“We did that over a course of five years, and on the very day we signed the papers to sell the company to an outside group, my father passed away,” he said. “He took it all the way to the end. This new company, H.T. Hackney, out of Knoxville, Tennessee asked me to stay on as the general manager, so I ended up spending 10 wonderful years in Glasgow before I got the call to interview and then accept the job to be at KET.”
Goodman originally was spurred to seek a career in journalism while a student at Western Kentucky University. He took his first courses on the top floor of Cherry Hall on the university's main campus in Bowling Green.
“After thinking about another career or two while at Western, I really fell in love with broadcasting,” he said.
Goodman left Western in 1970 to take his first television job at what was WLAC at the time, now WTVF, in Nashville.
“I spent the rest of my career in journalism as a news director in Nashville and Houston before I came back for what turned out to be a 10-year break from broadcasting before I came back to KET in 1996,” he said.
Goodman will remain with KET until Dec. 31, at which time he will officially start his new duties with the humanities council.
This weekend, however, he will be one of the featured authors at the Kentucky Book Fair in Lexington and will be promoting his book, “Beans, Biscuits, Family and Friends: Life Stories,” which is about his time spent growing up in Glasgow. The book fair is being hosted by the humanities council for the first time in many years.
Goodman was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2012, he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction from Spalding University.