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Wednesday AM August 27th, 2008

image of Bill KurtisDocumentary-maker and former C.B.S News Anchor Bill Kurtis will talk to Rice University students about his path from journalist to entrepreneur. Ed Mayberry reports.



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Bill Kurtis has produced investigative reports for the A&E Network, as well as documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel.  That’s after many years with CBS News.  Kurtis is also a cattle rancher and founder of Tallgrass Beef Company.  He’s championing the environmental and health benefits of grass-fed cattle ranching.

“Investigative reporting gives me sort of access to the knowledge, and then turning that information into a real commodity.  I think it’s real interesting.  You know, I’m 68, so I’ve done almost everything in the business.  I’m looking either for the next big story or documentary that I can do, or start a new business.  Maybe I’m a serial entrepreneur!”

Kurtis isn’t new at starting up a business.  He began a media production company after his years as a reporter and news anchor.

“I did 30 years with CBS and wanted to do documentaries and realized that they were shutting down documentary departments at the networks.  To be able to make it as an entrepreneur, producing, again, a product for which there was no market at the time, you have to be a businessman.  And I found that I was interested in the principles of business.  I would read my little books, and fortunately I knew some people in the business, and hooked up with A&E in 1990.” 

Kurtis speaks Thursday night at the 9th annual Rice Alliance kick-off at the Jones Graduate School.  

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.