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Old Kentucky Tales Podcast to release 100th episode

Brent Taylor, Jason Donner, Todd Birdsong

Abraham Lincoln, corn husking competitions, cottage cheese and Carry Nation. These are just some of the dozens of historical figures and oddities covered by Old Kentucky Tales in its first 99 episodes. The show is set to release its 100th episode this week.

Brent Taylor and Jason Donner have hosted the Kentucky history-focused podcast since 2016. Each episode focuses on a particular event or topic specific to Kentucky with segments devoted to old, often comical, advertisements taken from late 19th and early 20th century newspapers.

Taylor, a history professor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, responded to a call for people interested in creating shows for the station. He then approached Donner, a professor of public speaking at WKCTC, to be his co-host, recognizing his adept social skills and their friendship as colleagues.

“He’s actually very well versed in history and is a great conversationalist,” Taylor said of Donner. “So it has been a great match.”

Topics have included discussions of Henry Clay, Daniel Boone, and many other icons and tales from the Commonwealth’s history, including gun duels and a famous Kentucky “meat shower” in March of 1876.

The historic advertisements have included a device built to kill rodents described by Taylor as “basically like a gun hooked up to a string” and a “calcu-lighter’ that is a calculator with a built-in cigarette lighter.

“They are 100% real. We say that the products are real but only the sponsorships are fake,” he said. “Those products all existed. They were all sold. We take them primarily out of old Kentucky newspapers.”

Moving forward, the pair have started filming the podcast recordings at the TV studio on the campus of WKCTC. These segments will be produced by and aired on Paducah2, the community’s local television network.

Old Kentucky Tales is available on Apple Podcasts, the WKMS website and the NPR app. Future shows will also be viewable on YouTube.

Hurt is a Livingston County native and has been a political consultant for a little over a decade. He currently hosts a local talk show “River City Presents”, produced by Paducah2, which features live musical performances, academic discussion, and community spotlights.
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