Bill Kurtis Keynote Address
Acclaimed Documentary Host, Producer, and Broadcaster
- Founder of Kurtis Productions, creating award winning programs including Investigative Reports, Cold Case Files and Investigating History
- Recipient of numerous humanitarian, journalism, and broadcasting awards
- Provided the satirical narration for the feature film comedy Anchorman
- Started Tallgrass Beef Company to champion the environmental and health benefits of grass-fed cattle ranching
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An Acclaimed documentary host and producer, network and major market news anchor, multimedia production company president, and grass-fed cattle rancher, Bill Kurtis is celebrating his 45th anniversary in the field of broadcasting. Over the years, Kurtis has created a body of work that is virtually unparalleled.
Born in Florida and raised in Independence, Kansas, Kurtis graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism. He attended Washburn University School of Law where he was awarded a Juris Doctor Degree.
Kurtis began his television career at WIBW-TV (CBS) in Topeka, Kansas. In 1966, after being recognized for his 24-hour coverage of a devastating tornado, Kurtis was hired by WBBM-TV in Chicago where he was a field reporter and later anchor of The Channel Two News. Kurtis moved on to the network level at CBS where he anchored the CBS Morning News and contributed to CBS Reports. He is credited with breaking the Agent Orange story and the story of American children in Vietnam. He returned to Chicago & WBBM-TV as anchorman from 1985-1997 and was reunited with co-anchor Walter Jacobson in the fall of 2010-2013.
In 1990, he founded Kurtis Productions, traveling to the far ends of the earth for the Peabody Award-winning series The New Explorers, which aired on PBS. Kurtis Productions has also created programs for the A&E Networks, including the long running, award winning Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files as well as Investigating History for the History Channel. Kurtis has also served as the host of A&E’s American Justice-the longest running non-fiction justice series on cable. Cold Case Files was nominated for 2004 and 2005 Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.
Kurtis also provided satirical narration for the feature film comedy Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy, starring Will Ferrell. In 2008-2009, Kurtis served as the on-camera television spokesman for AT&T in a series of popular & humorous commercials that featured him in internet challenges with sports superstars Michael Phelps, Floyd Mayweather, and Andy Roddick
Kurtis is also an author: the Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice (Public Affairs) is his most recent book, which explores issues surrounding capital punishment in America. By profiling two murder cases, Mr. Kurtis reveals his change of mind regarding capital punishment.
In his home state of Kansas, Kurtis is an active conservationist. His 10,000-acre Red Buffalo Ranch is located in the last section of North America to enjoy untouched tallgrass prairie.
In 2005, Bill founded Tallgrass Beef Company to champion the environmental and health benefits of grass-fed cattle ranching. Today, Tallgrass Beef can be found in restaurants, retailers, and on the internet at www.tallgrassbeef.com.
Mr. Kurtis is the recipient of numerous humanitarian, journalism, and broad casting awards. He is a member of the board of directors of several distinguished organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Chicago Green City Market, Chicago Botanic Garden, Brookfield Zoo, and the Field Museum of Chicago.
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