Mr. Kurtis invests most of his spare time into a little town called Sedan, Kansas. He has recently been purchasing land and historical buildings in an attempt to attract tourism.
Mr. Kurtis and local investors own KIND Radio 1010 AM in Independence, Kansas. It is the station at which Mr. Kurtis began his career.
Mr. Kurtis' sister is Sen. Jean Schodorf (R), a Kansas State senator.
Bill Kurtis: I was 10,000 feet up, surrounded by the beauty and majesty and mystery of the Himalayas, and all I could think about was how the opening of the doughnut store went.
In 1999, Bill Kurtis and Kurtis Productions received the ACS Public Affairs Award. The award recognizes those involved in science and public policy issues.
Mr. Kurtis narrated the companion CD for "We Interrupt This Broadcast: The Events That Stopped Our Lives". A book that covers the major newsworthy events of the past century.
In 1966, Mr. Kurtis passed the Kansas State Bar Exam.
Bill Kurtis: I think I'm a nice guy with a calm, easygoing personality. But as an employer, I actually achieved a kind of Zen position, where you realize your reactions or actions--your style of leadership--can often dictate the reactions of others to you. I want to encourage people to come tell me things, and I'm not going to encourage them if I chew them out or lose my temper, because they won't want to be in my presence. So it's almost a meditative calmness in which you control your temper, you're serious but not a pushover.
Bill Kurtis: I had an advantage that I knew my business completely--from sweeping out the office to delivering the product. I had spent 30 years doing this, so I wasn't an outsider trying to get into TV. I wrote the scripts, was there with the camera crew, developed the structure of the story, did the final narration and controlled the product, so I knew where I was.
Bill Kurtis: The other things I knew I needed [to succeed at the business] were the right people. You need a very good financial person to keep you honest, and to keep track of income and outgo. And I wanted quality control, so I hired producers that I know to round out my staff, while the others could be free-lance. But early on I realized I needed a minimum of 10 employees.
Bill Kurtis: In 1985, when I was at CBS Morning News, I looked around and said, I don't see a job here I really want, not even 60 Minutes, because the reporter's role is limited to time on camera. What I wanted to do was long-form documentaries. So, I looked around and said this is the time to change.
Bill Kurtis: Choose something you like to do. I know it's a cliche, and you've heard it over and over. But the reason is, you're going to have to work long and hard to achieve any success. You better like it or life is going to be terrible.
"The New Explorers", produced and hosted by Bill Kurtis won the George Foster Peabody Award.
Land that Mr. Kurtis' mother owned and is now owned by Mr. Kurtis is used as a preservation and conservation area and was the original site of Little House on the Prairie.
Kurtis began producing and hosting The New Explorers on PBS, while still anchoring at Channel 2 News in Chicago.
In march, 2001, Mr. Kurtis' production company, Kurtis Productions, received a Genesis Award for Best Television Documentary for Investigative Reports: War on the Range.
Narrates an MP3 audio tour for OnScreenIllinois.com, which is a website dedicated to famous movies filmed in Chicago and Illinois.
From 1982 to 1985 was anchor of the CBS Morning News.
Has been awarded more than 20 Emmy awards. Owns a ranch in Kansas that raises grass-fed beef. Is CEO of Tallgrass Beef Company.