Pioneer Public TV gets new station in exchange for 40-mile move

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A planned capital campaign for new headquarters for Pioneer Public Television in Appleton, Minn., has taken a surprising turn: A donor volunteered to pay for and build the entire facility.

As part of the deal, the station will move to Granite Falls, about 40 miles to the southeast. The station has been headquartered in Appleton since 1966.

The potential to secure funding from private sources for a proposed Appleton facility “was deemed to be quite limited,” wrote General Manager Les Heen and Board Chair Pat Kubly in a joint letter on the station’s website. “Then, quite unexpectedly, while in the early stages of planning a capital campaign, Ron and Diane Fagen stepped forward with a generous offer to finance the entire building cost.”

Ron Fagen is owner and board chair of Fagen Inc., an industrial construction firm based in Granite City, which will build the facility.

The move will include an expansion of station facilities necessary to produce high-definition television, opportunities for more regional programming production and updates in TV technology, the letter said.

According to the local West Central Tribune, the new 15,000–square-foot facility should be ready in early 2017.

The Fagens told the news outlet that “the opportunity to help the rural television station meet its challenges and provide job opportunities in Granite Falls were the motivations” for the gift.

The station’s broadcast tower, transmitter and microwave relays will remain in Appleton.

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