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2000s

2000-2003: Building Toward a Digital Future

2000

  • A sequel to the “Germans from Russia” series premieres: “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia” preserves memories of prairie mothers who left no records of their lives, but who are remembered daily in the recipes and rituals of food preparation.
  • “Prairie Public Cooks! D is for Desserts” premieres.
  • Prairie Public is awarded substantial funding from the Otto Bremer Foundation of St. Paul for “RiverWatch.”
  • “The Changing Face of Agriculture” premieres, along with its companion programs, “Emerging Industries” and “Bonanza Farms.”

2001

  • Mister Rogers announces he will tape his last episode in November.
  • “One Shining Moment: the History of North Dakota Class “B” Basketball “premieres, produced by Matt Olien. The show wins a regional Emmy nomination.
  • “Fish Decoys: Folk Art Beneath the Ice” premieres, produced by Tapio Kube.
  • “Here & Now,” North Dakota Public Radio’s daily call-in show, changes its name to “Hear It Now.”
  • “Prairie Public Cooks! P is for Pork” premieres.
  • “Winnipeg’s Paradise Beaches” premieres.
  • North Dakota Public Radio hosts a live broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion” at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks.

2002

  • “RiverWatch” beings second season.
  • “Dot.com,” a seven-part local series that teaches viewers to build their own Web sites, premieres. Prairie Public partners with the University of Mary to offer college credit for the courses.
  • “Lewis and Clark Pathways” premiers.
  • Prairie Public Broadcasting partners with Reiten Television, Inc. in Bismarck to inaugurate the digital television signal in that area. An open house is held at the Doublewood Inn in Bismarck.
  • A local production, “Leafy Spurge,” finally premiers after years in the making and funding from the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
  • “Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices, Iron Crosses of the Great Plains” and “Scandinavian Traditions” premiere.

2003

  • “Dakota Mysteries & Oddities hosted by William Jackson” and “Assiniboine Park: Winnipeg’s Park for all Seasons” premiere.
  • A celebration of 40 years of public broadcasting begins.
  • Fred Rogers passes away on February 27, after a brief battle with stomach cancer. His legacy lives on as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood continues to be broadcast on public television stations across the nation.
  • Prairie Public Television premieres “Home or High Water,” “Ranching Perspectives,” “Ecotourism” and “Altered Lives: Stories from the Medina Tragedy.”
  • www.RiverWatchonline.org is the destination for millions of Web hits as people around the world watch the project’s “Falcon Cam,” which recorded the daily life of two peregrine falcons and their brood in a nest high above downtown Fargo.
  • John E. Harris III is appointed as Prairie Public Broadcasting’s president and CEO.
  • North Dakota Public Radio takes on the station formerly known as Northern Lights Public Radio, KFJM 90.7fm.
  • With a generous grant from PBS, Prairie Public Television begins offering Ready To Learn workshops to teachers, parents and caregivers across the broadcast region.
  • North Dakota Public Radio can be heard in Winnipeg on 93.9 cable radio. Prairie Public Television completes the digital transition and offers digital broadcasts to most of North Dakota.

2004

  • 2004 A new community affairs program, “Prairie Pulse,” premieres with John Harris serving as host.
  • “Dakota Datebook” a daily look at North Dakota history, premieres on North Dakota Public Radio.
  • North Dakota Public Radio wins six first-place and three second-place ND Associated Press Awards.
  • With its partner in television, public radio offered the most comprehensive election coverage available.
  • North Dakota Public Radio’s live weekday show, “Hear It Now,” adds a 7 p.m. broadcast to its schedule.
  • PSTV begins offering Teacherline professional development courses to K-12 teachers.
  • Prairie Public Television premiered “Lewis and Clark Pathways and “Building Our Future,” “More Precious Than Gold,” “North to the Mandan Nation,” and “Winnipeg in Bloom.”

2005

  • Prairie Public Broadcasting begins offering the MemberCard benefits to new and renewing members.
  • Buck Paulson returns to the Fargo television studio to tape new episodes for his fourth season, as well as hosts a free painting seminar for the public.
  • Prairie Public Television receives authorization from the FCC to run a low-power tower in Grand Forks, ND, once again providing KGFE Channel 2 service to viewers within the city.
  • Prairie Public Television makes the decision to air POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER “Sugartime!” despite criticism of the program from PBS viewers around the nation and the Department of Education.
  • Over 120 children from the region participate in the 11th Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest.
  • “Red River Divide” premieres on Prairie Public Television.
  • Prairie Public Television receives $7,500 grant from the Talaris Research Institute to participate in “Parenting Counts: A Focus on Early Learning,” a public broadcasting, multimedia initiative.
  • North Dakota Public Radio partners with the Family Health Care Center (FHCC) to produce “Health Access.”
  • “A Soulful Sound, Music of the Germans from Russia,” the fourth installment in the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, premieres.
  • North Dakota Public Radio adds “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” to its Saturday schedule.
  • Randy Lee, host of “In the Mood” on North Dakota Public Radio, dies.
  • The “lost” episodes of “Keeping Up Appearances” air on Prairie Public Television.
  • The second annual “Share a Story” is held at Rheault Farm in Fargo and features a visit from Brother and Sister Bear of the Berenstain Bears.
  • The Capitol Steps perform at the Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck and the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks.
  • “Nature in the Balance: CO2 Sequestration,” examining energy concerns of the time, premieres on Prairie Public Television.
  • StoryCorps mobile recording booth parks in from the of the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck and in New Town, collecting oral history stories.
  • President and CEO, John Harris, and Director of Radio, Bill Thomas, travel across the region for a series of “Café Chats.”
  • Clifford visits Fargo residents during the 2005 Downtown Street Fair.
  • “Antiques Roadshow” comes to Bismarck, ND for the fourth stop in its 2005 tour.
  • Prairie Public Television takes part in “International Fun Days” during the summer on Sunday afternoons in Winnipeg.
  • “Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin” replaces “Adventures in Good Music with Karl Haas” in the North Dakota Public Radio schedule.
  • “Energy: Powering North Dakota’s Economy” and “The Bank of North Dakota” premiere on Prairie Public Television.
  • North Dakota Public Radio and Jade Presents welcome Natalie MacMaster to the Historic Fargo Theatre.
  • Debi Rogers, host of “River Road,” hangs up her headphones.
  • North Dakota Public Radio staff receive eleven 2005 Associated Press Awards.
  • “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen Volume II” premieres on Prairie Public Television and is made available on the three-in-one DVD “Germans from Russia: Food Pantry,” featuring full length programs “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia,” “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen Volume I,” and “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen Volume II.”
  • Prairie Public Television hosts Andre Rieu live in concert at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
  • Prairie Public Television service returns to the remaining KGFE Channel 2 area when the final digital tower near Devils Lake, ND is completed and begins broadcasting.

2006

  • Prairie Public changes its identity to make the brand consistent whenever and wherever it’s seen. Prairie Public Television and North Dakota Public Radio are now know known as “Prairie Public.”
  • Buck Paulson returns to the Fargo television studio to tape new episodes for his fifth season, as well as hosts a free painting seminar for the public.
  • Prairie Public’s local production “Indian Pride,” the first and only television cultural magazine series that focuses on matters of Native American interests, debuts at a January reception at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. One month later, the 13-part show debuts on Prairie Public and on public television stations across North America.
  • Two local television productions that serve the specific needs of the prairie region premiere in September. “Adding Value” celebrates the ingenuity and creativity of farm families, and “Education: North Dakota’s Challenge, North Dakota’s Future” gives new insight into the struggles faced by the state’s education systems.
  • “A Soulful Sound: Music of the Germans from Russia” wins a 2006 Gold Aurora Award—an international award designed to recognize excellence in the film and video industries.
  • Prairie Public partners with the Lake Agassiz Arts Council to document their “Herd About the Prairie” project—a community art event in which artists transformed fiberglass bison statues into works of art that roamed through Fargo-Moorhead throughout the summer months. The half-hour documentary follows the process alongside several of the participating artists.
  • A dream is realized when the Fargo-based radio studio moves from the North Dakota State University campus to downtown Fargo—into the same building as Prairie Public’s corporate offices. The grand opening is celebrated with a ribbon cutting, delicious treats, and plenty of guests eager to see the new studio.
  • Garrison Keillor and his “A Prairie Home Companion” cast mates travel to Grand Forks for a live show from the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Prairie Public hosts a meet-and-greet with the cast and dozens of grateful fans of the old-time radio show.
  • Radio changes its format in the Fargo-Moorhead listening area, replacing its classical music format with new roots, rock and jazz music.
  • The radio news staff is honored with six first-place and three second-place North Dakota Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards.
  • Prairie Public’s education services staff travel across the region and lead Ready To Learn workshops with 270 early childhood educators, parents and caregivers.
  • Two Prairie Public local music productions, “Sound Check” and “North Dakota Jazz,” premiere in October.
  • “Read, North Dakota” debuts as lovers of literature assemble in a virtual book club to read “Peace Like a River” by author Leif Enger. The project is the cumulative ambition of Prairie Public, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the North Dakota Humanities Council, the North Dakota Library Association, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and celebrates literature either about North Dakota or writtten by North Dakota authors.
  • Prairie Public hosts Andre Rieu live in concert at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on October 28.
  • Over 350 children from the region participate in the 12th Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest.
  • More than 1200 kids and parents attend the Share A Story event at Rheault Farm in Fargo in May. The free literacy event’s special guest is Rachel Coleman, creator and host of the hit PBS Kids show “Signing Time!” Prairie Public expands its efforts, and offers grants to schools that can host their own Share A Story events.

2007

  • Prairie Public hosts a worldwide premiere of “Indian Pride” at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
  • In February, “Indian Pride,” the 13-part cultural magazine produced by Prairie Public and the first of its kind, premieres on television.
  • The Rural Meth Awareness Project premieres in April with three television programs: “Meth, No Easy Answers,” “The Shadow of Meth,” and “Safe Behind Bars.”
  • Prairie Public hosts the Blue Man Group live in concert at the Fargodome April 6, 2007, and at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks September 12.
  • PBS president Paula Kerger visits North Dakota, and Prairie Public hosts a dinner in her honor at the Fargo Country Club April 26.
  • “The Old Red Trail” premieres at a private Department of Transportation reception in Bismarck, and later at a public reception. The local television production premieres on Prairie Public in April.
  • Prairie Public hosts seven Share A Story literacy events across the state. At the Fargo event, once again the special guest is Rachel Coleman, creator and host of the hit PBS Kids show “Signing Time!”
  • “Read, North Dakota,” now in its second year, hosts author Larry Woiwode and encourages all of North Dakota to read his book “What I Think I Did: A Season of Survival in Two Acts.”
  • A contingent of Prairie Public supporters travel to Branson Missouri on October 30, 2006, for concerts with the Lennon Sisters and Daniel O’Donnell, among many others.
  • “Red River Showcase,” a local production that puts the spotlight on the interesting people and places in the Red River Valley, premieres in July.
  • Prairie Public talks tech at the Upper Great Plains Technology Conference, and greets kids and families at the Midwest Kids Fest, the Fargo Street Fair, and the North Dakota State Fair.
  • Prairie Public supporters gather at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg to hear Irish crooner Daniel O’Donnell on May 29, 2007.
  • Prairie Public hosts a Chuck Suchy concert at the Fargo Theatre with A Prairie Home Companion’s Peter Ostroushko, Joel Sayles and Joe Savage. They perform music from “The Old Red Trail” and other Suchy originals.
  • In the summer of 2007, television’s Steve Wennblom, radio’s Bill Thomas, and CEO John Harris travel across North Dakota for a series of live radio “Café Chats.”
  • On June 26, Prairie Public partners with Audubon Dakota to screen “American Masters: John James Audubon at the Fargo Theatre.”
  • In October 2006, Prairie Public hosts radio debates for candidates for the the offices of Ag Commissioner, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and MN 7th district congress.
  • In March radio premieres a series of narratives titled “Growing Up German Russian.” In August, a new series of narratives titled “Voices from the Heartland” premieres.
  • The radio news team wins 11 North Dakota Associated Press Awards and several from the Northwest Broadcast News Association
  • Prairie Public hosts screenings in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck of the new “This American Lif”e television series.
  • Prairie Public hosts WWII Veterans and their families at pre-screenings of the Ken Burns series “The War” in Bismarck and Fargo.

2008

  • Prairie Public hosts the radio show “Vinyl Cafe” at the Fargo Theatre, and nearly sells out the house on March 20.
  • Prairie Public prepares for the upcoming year of radio and television coverage of the 2008 election.
  • Prairie Public hosts the 14th Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators contest, and one of the entries, Kenzie Carson of Walhalla, North Dakota, wins third place in her grade level at the national level.
  • The Prairie Public family is saddened by the death of friend and co-worker, Shirley Orn Weaver.
  • The education services department begins offering PBS TeacherLine courses to North Dakota and Minnesota educators.
  • In February, producer Matt Olien, who serves on the Fargo Theatre Film Festival board, hosts a “Film Festival Preview Show” with MSUM film studies professor Tom Brandau.
  • In the summer of 2008, television’s Steve Wennblom, radio’s Bill Thomas, and CEO John Harris once again travel across North Dakota for a series of live radio “Café Chats.”
  • More than 400 kids and parents attend the Share A Story event at Rheault Farm in Fargo during an unexpected blizzard in May. The free literacy event’s special guest is “Sesame Street’s” Grover.
  • In March, radio premieres a new series of narratives titled “Growing Up German Russian II.” In December, a new series of Christmas memories narratives premieres.
  • Prairie Public ramps up its campaign to educate the public about the transition to digital television.
  • Prairie Public premieres its television documentary “Prairie Churches” on April 7.
  • Prairie Public airs the television documentary “Rodin: the Gates of Hell” and sponsors a Rodin show at Plains Art Museum.
  • Veterans from Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota share their memories with “WWII Prairie Memories,” which premiered in May, 2008.
  • “A Prairie Home Companion” makes a stop in Bismarck with its not-for-broadcast “Rhubarb Tour” in August.
  • “Prairie Pulse” premieres its fourth year of newsmaker interviews.
  • Prairie Public receives a grant to produce a series of radio programs to enhance The Prairie Stewardship Network’s July 10 and 11 conference at the University of Mary in Bismarck.
  • Prairire Public’s radio signals are now available in both traditional analog and the new digital technology.
  • The Prairie Public television signals in Dickinson and Williston cease, and those communities are the first to experience the complete transition to digital.
  • Prairie Public hosts singer Sarah Brightman at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on December 6.
  • The radio staff are honored with four first- and three second-place Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards.
  • Prairie Public and its Read ND partners host “An Evening with James McPherson,” who is a distinguished professor of history at Princeton and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Prairie Public Broadcasting is honored with an Aurora Award for its television documentary “The Old Red Trail,” a historical retrospective about the development of what we now know as Interstate 94.
  • Prairie Public’s radio and television teams host debates during the historic 2008 election
  • Prairie Public hosts premiere showing of “When the Landscape is Quiet Again, a film by Clay Jenkinson and David Swenson” in Fargo and Bismarck to honor the ND Governor.
    Prairie Public premieres the television documentary “Our State Fair: The North Dakota Experience.”
  • Prairie Public premieres the radio series “Natural North Dakota” with Chuck Lura, a biologist at MSU-Bottineau.
    Radio premieres a new “German-Russian Christmas Memories” program in partnership with the NDSU Libraries.

2009

  • In 2009, Prairie Public completed the transition to digital television that was mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The process took more than ten years. Prairie Public now offers three different television program schedules: the programs you’re accustomed to seeing in the the times you’re accustomed to seeing them, regionally-produced programs on the second multicast program stream, and how-to programs and made-for-the-classroom curriculum on the third multicast program schedule.
  • The radio service of Prairie Public is also broadcasting digitally. With a digital radio, you can hear both radio program streams: news and entertainment on both, but classical music on one and roots, rock, and jazz on the other.
  • Television produced and debuted “Bill Holm: Through the Windows of Brimnes”; DTV Helpline”; Fargo Film Festival Preview Show”; “ND Legislative Review”; “North Dakota Musicians”; “Our State Fair: The North Dakota Experience”; “Painting with Paulson,” series 10; “A Photographer’s View of Iceland”; “Prairie Churches”; “Prairie Pulse,” seventh season; “Read ND: An Evening with James McPherson”; and “WWI Prairie Memories.”
  • The television team is honored by the Communicator Awards with awards for “Out of the Air Into the Soil: Land Practices that Reduce Atmospheric Carbon”; “Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: The Role of Markets”; and “Prairie Churches.”
  • The television team is honored by the Aurora Awards with awards for “The Old Red Trail Concert”; “Our State Fair: The North Dakota Experience”; “Prairie Churches”; and “Out of the Air Into the Soil: Land Practices that Reduce Atmospheric Carbon.”
  • The radio staff is honored with a Television News Directors Association Regional Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists 2008 Mark of Excellence Award.
  • Dave Thompson is honored with a National Public Radio News Directors Inc. Award.
  • The radio staff is honored with five 1st place awards, five second place awards, and four 3rd place awards from the Associated Press.
  • High Risk High: Youth Drinking in North Dakota expanded its mission to educate young people, and the general population, about the dangers of youth drinking.
  • Radio broadcast reports from the 2009 Climate Summit in Copenhagen and covered the International Climate Stewardship Solutions Conference in Bismarck.
  • Outreach in 2009 included a record-breaking crowd at the 2009 Share A Story family literacy event with special guest ‘Super Why,’ the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, the Teddy Bear Picnic, and the FM Visual Artists Studio Crawl.
  • Radio’s “Why? Philosophical Discussions about Everyday Life” premiered in February.
  • Radio teamed up with the NDSU Dakota Memories Oral History Project to present a new collection in its German-Russian narrative series—”Home Grown: German-Russian Farm Kids Remember.”
  • In honor of new and renewing radio members, Prairie Public and volunteers planted trees at Northern Cass High School and at the Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Interpretive Center.