Meet the Television Staff
Production Manager Barbara Gravel was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Poland, Ohio. She began her career at Prairie Public as a director in the production department from 1990 until 1998. She took an eight-year break to be a stay at home mom, but returned to Prairie Public in 2006 as production manager. Barbara received her bachelor of arts degree in television production from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a master of arts degree in public relations from North Dakota State University. Barbara taught television production at North Dakota State University (1992-1996). Her short time away from Prairie Public only strengthened her passion for award winning television production, specifically directing and producing. She lives in West Fargo with her husband Tom and their three children. Her hobbies include practicing yoga and traveling.
Television producer Matt Olien was born in Great Falls, Montana. Since joining Prairie Public in 1998, he has produced many documentaries, appeared on air in pledge drives, interviewed newsmakers, and currently serves as producer of Prairie Public’s weekly interview show “Prairie Pulse.” The most fun Matt had working on a project was producing the Emmy nominated “One Shining Moment: The History of the North Dakota State ‘B’” chronicling the history of small town, high school basketball in North Dakota. Movies are one of Matt’s big passions, so in addition to his television responsibilities, Matt reviews films each Friday on Prairie Public’s radio program “Main Street” and he teaches broadcast performance at Concordia College each spring as an adjunct professor. Prior to coming to Prairie Public in 1998, Matt worked as a news reporter for KXJB TV, Fargo-Grand Forks. Matt has two children.
Editor Cassie Pierce is from Herman, Minnesota, and started working with Prairie Public during pledge drives while attending Minnesota State University Moorhead. After graduating with a major in film studies and minor in philosophy, she began working for Prairie Public as a production assistant. With the tasks attributed with her position, she is grateful to have the opportunity to work with such an accomplished team and has produced and edited several Emmy-nominated and award-winning features, including Tim Pierce: Knife Maker and Mandy Groom.
Producer Andy Garske grew up in Devils Lake, North Dakota. He got started in video production in his high school television production class and making movies with friends. Andy went on to attend Brown College in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Soon after graduating Brown College, he went to work for Pioneer Public Television where he worked for nine years on many different projects. After Pioneer, Andy worked in Bismarck at an ad agency for a year and a half. After being away from public television for a bit, Andy wanted to get back to making and sharing stories from the places regions he grew up and has now found a home at Prairie Public Broadcasting.
Production assistant Nayeli Castro grew up in Indiana, where she attended Indiana State University and earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication with a concentration in media studies and a minor in business administration. While attending college she worked with her campus news station, Sycamore Video, as well as her campus sports station, ESPN3. After graduation, she worked in marketing and sales for a year and a half before moving to North Dakota to work at Prairie Public.
Production assistant Alex Bertsch grew up in Buxton, North Dakota. He attended Minnesota State University-Moorhead, where he earned his B.A. in Film Production, graduating in 2021. While at MSUM Alex worked on many different projects, as well as editing the campus newspaper, The Advocate. Alex's thesis film, Kinesthesia, was featured in the 2022 Fargo Film Festival. After graduation, Alex spent time working as a production assistant and broadcast director at WDAY TV in Fargo, before joining the production team at Prairie Public.
Programming and Traffic
Program Manager Chris Meissner is a native of Fargo-Moorhead with a background in academic film and media studies and libraries. Prior to joining Prairie Public in 2012, he worked at several different colleges in the region as a part-time instructor and librarian. Chris has a bachelor's degree in communication from Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduate degrees in film and media studies from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!). His interests include film (he’s a longtime volunteer for the Fargo Film Festival), reading (mainly non-fiction), traveling, and spending time at the lake. He lives in Moorhead with his family.
Lifelong PBS fan Jessica Fibelstad hails from the far northern part of North Dakota, and grew up in a three-channel antenna household. The TV was usually tuned to Prairie Public. Following a circuitous path to broadcasting after a stint in academia, she began in the engineering department before transferring to programming. Jessica enjoys nature, kiting, and can tell you more than most people care to know about Lawrence Welk, British soaps, and comedies.
Operations & Scheduling Coordinator Doug Zinter was raised on a farm near Monango, North Dakota. He attended college at NDSU. He started at Prairie Public in 1990, first working in Master Control, and later in the Programming Department. He enjoys nature, live theatre, and traipsing around the country with his camera. You may occasionally see him staring intently at a tree because there’s a bird in there that he’s trying to identify.