Pioneer PBS selects interim manager, erects relay towers to complete move to Granite Falls

Pioneer PBS is reporting the erection of two relay towers that will allow completion of the staff move to the new Granite Falls studio for the public television station. And the board has selected an interim general manager while the search continues for a permanent general manager and CEO

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The new relay tower is shown being erected at the Pioneer PBS television station in Granite Falls. Pioneer erected this and another tower near Watson to provide a direct relay to its broadcast tower at Appleton. The erection of the towers will allow the remaining staff in Appleton to relocate and new master control equipment to be installed in the new location in Granite Falls. Submitted photo

GRANITE FALLS — Pioneer PBS has appointed a new interim general manager, hired a new director of engineering and erected two new relay towers, the public television station announced Tuesday.

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Nancy Straw

The Pioneer PBS board of directors has engaged Nancy Straw to serve as interim general manager while the board continues its national search for a permanent general manager and CEO to succeed Les Heen.

A native of southwest Minnesota, Straw is the former president and CEO of the West Central Initiative and former executive director of United Community Action Partnership . She has a wide range of experience with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, rural community development and philanthropy.


Straw lives in Marshall where she provides individualized consulting services and specializes as an interim CEO for organizations in transition. The national search for a general manager for Pioneer PBS continues. Interested candidates can apply at .

Straw is stepping in to serve Pioneer PBS as longtime director of engineering Jon Panzer, who was also acting as the interim general manager, is departing to take a new position as engineer with sister station WDSE in Duluth.

“Everyone at Pioneer PBS will miss Panzer as his long-term commitment to the station and to his colleagues has been a big part of Pioneer’s success,” stated Mark Olson, board chair of Pioneer PBS.

Panzer has overseen the move to the new studio in Granite Falls, the installation of new equipment and the development of several new methods — broadcast and online — to receive the station’s signal.

A new director of engineering, Paul Fisher, who grew up in Sacred Heart and most recently worked as an engineer at KSMQ in Austin, has been hired to replace Panzer.

Pioneer PBS in its announcement this week also said a major milestone was accomplished toward completing the transition of moving the master control operation from Appleton to Granite Falls with the erection of two new towers — one near Watson and one next to the new studio in Granite Falls. These towers will allow Pioneer PBS studios in Granite Falls to have a microwave link to the 1200-foot headend tower in Appleton, enabling the remaining staff to relocate and new master control equipment to be installed in Granite Falls.

The 54-year-old public television station serves viewers in western and southwestern Minnesota, the eastern Dakotas and northwestern Iowa.


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