A nationally known broadcaster rose to the network level only to leave it, go on his own and eventually return to his roots. Broadcaster Bill Kurtis sat down for an interview with the Missourinet during a visit to Missouri where he attended a conference sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. Kurtis moved from Topeka to Chicago after a sterling on-air performance during coverage of a deadly tornado. He moved from WBBM in Chicago to CBS where he anchored the morning news with Diane Sawyer for three-and-a-half years. He had risen to the top of his profession, but found it wasn’t all he had expected. Kurtis no longer wrote, reported or went to the scene. He had assistants, producers and other staff to do the leg work, while he sat behind a microphone. Kurtis decided to leave the network, returned to Chicago and started his own company. The production company began what Kurtis calls the “golden age” of cable documentaries in 1990 and began producing documentaries for A&E. Kurtis continues to produce documentaries even as he has has returned to his native Kansas, buying 14 buildings on the mainstreet of the small town of Sedan. He has lured eight businesses to the small, southeast Kansas community which is located about 40 miles from where he grew up in Independence, Kansas. Kurtis says he’s not sure whether the venture will prove profitable. He also has high hopes for an 8,000 acre grass-fed beef ranch, located near Sedan.
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