Meet the Television Staff
Production Manager Barbara Gravel was born in Pittsburgh, PA 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. In addition to his television responsibilities, Matt reviews films each Friday on Prairie Public’s radio program “Main Street.” Movies are one of Matt’s big passions, so he also serves as an adjunct professor in film studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Prior to coming to Prairie Public in 1998, Matt worked as a news reporter for KXJB TV, Fargo-Grand Forks. Matt is married and has two children.
Editor Cassie Pierce is a small town country girl from Herman, MN 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. Outside the studio, Cassie enjoys a wide range of different interests, including zumba and exercise, attending rodeos and county fairs, country music, cooking, baking and quilting.
Production Assistant Kelly Johnson grew up in Beulah, ND. He later moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota to go to college, and spent his summers working at the Sturgis motorcycle rally and gunslinging in Deadwood. In 2008 he moved to Moorhead and attended college at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Graduating in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication and emphases in broadcast and photojournalism he spent the next few years traveling. He enjoys roughing it out in the woods when he goes camping and driving across the country. Kelly’s favorite part about working at Prairie Public is meeting new people from all over and hearing their stories and telling a few himself.
Videographer/Editor Andy Garske grew up in Devils Lake, ND. 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, MN. 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 Meghan Vettleson was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota. Meghan attended college at Minnesota State University Moorhead for seven years and tried out three different majors before she figured out where her heart belonged, to film & film production. When she heard the film production degree calling her name, she heard another whisper on the wind, Prairie Public. Starting as just a part-time pledge crew person, she knew her destiny was to be a part of Prairie Public. Going from a part-timer, to receptionist, and finally settling in as a production assistant, Meghan loves the people she works with at Prairie Public. Playing pranks wherever she sees an opportunity, learning something new every single day, and supplying a plethora of jokes is all in a days work for Meghan. (And also working...)
Programming and Traffic
Program Manager Steve Wennblom was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He joined Prairie Public in 2000 as part of the “Riverwatch” team. Steve continues to serve as a documentary producer and team leader for television pledge. With more than 20 years broadcast news and public affairs experience, Steve has served as a producer and general assignment reporter in radio and television stations in Illinois, Oregon and North Dakota. He served as part and full-time news assignment editor for a CBS affiliate in Fargo, ND. Steve received a bachelor of arts degree in speech communication from the University of North Dakota. Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. His hobbies include bicycling, gardening, sailing and hunting.
Operations and scheduling coordinator 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 wife and son.
Operations & Scheduling Coordinator Doug Zinter was raised on a farm near Monango, ND. 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.
Programming Assistant Terri Greene was born and raised in Maddock, ND. After attending North Dakota State University, Terri lived in several parts of the United States until coming back to North Dakota. Terri came from a human resources background, so the television broadcasting industry was new to her, but she enjoys the challenge and looks forward to years at Prairie Public. Terri enjoys golfing, skiing, biking, reading, movies and theatre, and spending time with her family.