NOAA 2005-R252
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat Slattery
5/26/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


NOAA HONORS BROADCASTER BILL KURTIS WITH MARK TRAIL AWARD

NOAA today presented a Mark Trail Award to broadcaster and KIND radio owner Bill Kurtis for support of the agency’s NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards program. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Now in its ninth year, the awards program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards receivers or transmitters to save lives and protect property. Seventeen award recipients were recognized nationally this year.

Kurtis is being honored for contributing his voice, studio and editing skills to the production of NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards public service announcements for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Wichita, Kan., and later made available to National Weather Service offices across the country via the Internet.

“With this award, we recognize Bill Kurtis for his important contribution to protect the lives and property across our country,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Whenever danger threatens, whatever the hour, NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards can provide those extra minutes of warning in situations where minutes can save lives.“

Kurtis will be honored today during a ceremony in the Canon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Officials with NOAA’s National Weather Service in Wichita will present the award to him locally at a later date.

“Bill Kurtis was gracious enough to lend his well-know voice to public service announcements to air over the Wichita NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards broadcasts and to donate his station’s time, personnel and equipment to ensure top quality recordings,” said Chance Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA’s National Weather Service in Wichita. “Now, National Weather Service offices around the country can access the announcements off the World Wide Web for use in their own areas. Bill Kurtis definitely went above and beyond the call for us.”

The Mark Trail Awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character that serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of the radios. In recent years, the strip's education message has included the fact that anyone listening to NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards has instant access to the same lifesaving weather reports and all-hazards information provided to meteorologists, emergency personnel and the media.

“Jack Elrod and his alter ego, Mark Trail, have been great partners to NOAA’s National Weather Service in helping educate the public to the importance of having this device nearby. When weather dangers loom day or night and minutes count, a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards is the one tool that gives you and me the instantaneous information we need to protect ourselves,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards broadcasts official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other civil emergency information 24 hours a day. NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards includes more than 800 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Editor’s Note: Information on NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards and graphics of Mark Trail and are available at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Weather Service in Wichita, Kansas: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ict/