Meet the TV Staff
Bob Dambach, director of television, began his Prairie Public career as program manager in 1985. In 1991 he became the manager of programming and production and was promoted to the director of television in 1996. He has a communications degree from the University of Dayton and a Masters degree in radio, television and film from the University of Iowa. Bob’s wife Virginia was Prairie Public development director from the mid ’80s to the mid ’90s. They have two grown daughters who live in the Fargo area. Bob provides the male voice that you hear at the end of on-air promotions and has appeared on screen in more than 100 Prairie Public television membership drives. Some of Bob’s award winning productions include “The Germans From Russia,” “Schmeckfest,” “Pyramids on the Prairie,” “Nature in the Balance” and “The Old Red Trail.”
Executive Producer Kim Stenehjem is an Air Force brat who settled temporarily in North Dakota 37 years ago and hasn’t left since. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English education from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Masters in management (marketing) from the University of Mary. She first joined Prairie Public in 1995 as director of its fledgling online service Prairie Online and built Prairie Public’s first web site (four whole pages with graphics!). She soon moved on to the television department to produce documentaries and studio programs. Kim said the most difficult part of a producer’s job is explaining what a producer does. Outside the television studio, Kim creates art quilts and one-of-a-kind handmade purses. Her vast extended family includes one husband, two children, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren in addition to hundreds of nieces, nephews, siblings, in-laws, and cousins scattered across the country.
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 young 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 review films each Friday on Prairie Public’s radio program “Hear it Now.” 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.
Videographer David Grant grew up in beautiful Enderlin, ND. After attending Moorhead State University as a Fine Arts Major he worked into a full time videographer position at KTHI-TV now known as Valley News Live and stayed for 34 years. Over the years he was honored with over 160 news achievement awards from various broadcast organizations. He now enjoys working on longer format documentaries for Prairie Public Broadcasting. Dave also enjoys cabinetry, carving, landscaping and gardening. Dave is married to his beautiful and talented wife Debbie, the love of his life, and has three grown sons.
Editor Cassie Larson 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 and 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.
Editor/Producer/Videographer Shane Reetz grew up in Bismarck watching PBS and making skateboarding videos. His grandpa once told him if you’re bored, you’re not paying attention. Between video editing, computer code, and graphic design, he’s a swiss-army knife of creative problem solving. Shane is self-taught but he owes a lot to mentors who’ve helped him develop a passion for storytelling. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science from NDSU and is an Apple Certified Pro. At Prairie Public, he enjoys being able to tell stories in an honest and beautiful way. Video is more than just his job though – the camera is practically an extension of his arm. His free time is occupied by design, music, road bikes, podcasts, making good coffee, and adventuring with his wife Bree.
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.
Beverly Pearson, education services manager, began her career in public television in June of 1991 as the coordinator of the instructional television service of Prairie Public and Lakeland Public Television. As education initiatives grew at Prairie Public, she was promoted to education services manager in 2002. A North Dakota product, Bev earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English, speech and drama, and library science education and has done graduate work at the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. Prior to joining Prairie Public, Bev taught English and communications for several years, was a high school media specialist, and co-owned and managed several small businesses including radio stations in North Dakota and Oregon. She continues her interest in local sports, including her recreational and instructional participation in curling.
Lynette Burgan joined the Prairie Public Education Services staff in August of 2013. She holds a Master’s in Theatre from the University of North Dakota and has a background in children’s theatre and web marketing. She is excited to apply her skills in the Education Services department. She is active in theatre around the Fargo community, enjoys singing and writing, and lives in West Fargo with her husband and step-daughter.
Tammy Swift coordinates and promotes preK-12 education events, workshops and conferences – with special emphasis on Ready to Learn initiatives (early childhood education). She is also responsible for departmental newsletters and assists with grant writing, departmental social media and some web content. A native of Glen Ullin, ND, Tammy graduated from North Dakota State University with a mass communications degree. Her 25-year-career has mostly been spent in newsrooms around the state. She has been a reporter, columnist, features writer and editor at the Bismarck (ND) Tribune and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Tammy also has worked as a writer in University Relations/Publications Services at NDSU and as a social media marketing director at Kilbourne Group in Fargo.
Jessica Wayne joined the Prairie Public Education Services team in December of 2013. She is originally from Litchfield, MN and moved to Fargo, ND for college with her husband. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She always had in interest in children programing and grew up watching PBS. She is excited to be involved in the process of inspiring children through learning.
Shaina Winning brings a background in early childhood education to her new position as Education Services Associate. In her new role, she will concentrate on Ready to Learn initiatives as well as curriculum connections for Prairie Public’s extensive online resources. Born and raised in Valley City, ND, Shaina graduated from Valley City State University with a degree in elementary education. Her credentials are in Early Childhood Education, Title I Reading and Title I Math, and she is working toward being credentialed in ELL (English Language Learners). She taught elementary school for seven years – the last five of those in the Bismarck (ND) Public School District. Prior to joining the Prairie Public team, she was a Title I Reading and Curriculum Specialist at Dorothy Moses Elementary School in Bismarck. She is currently attending North Dakota State University’s master’s degree program for School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
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, Wennblom 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. Wennblom 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 Bachelors 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), travelling, 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 and came back to North Dakota about four years ago. 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 enjoy golfing, skiing, biking, reading, movies and theatre, and spending time with her family.
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