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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 06 2013

Forum Communications Co. names director of broadcast

FARGO – A Sioux Falls, S.D., television executive has been named director of broadcast for Forum Communications Co.

Mari Ossenfort starts her position in November in Fargo.

“I’ve had other opportunities (to advance), but nothing felt right,” Ossenfort said. “This opportunity that was presented to me just felt right.”

Ossenfort, 43, will be in charge of WDAY-TV in Fargo, WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks, KMCY-TV in Minot and KBMY-TV in Bismarck.

“We were looking for someone that would not just keep the successful history of being the No. 1 television station, but help us create new ways to impact the community even more,” said Bill Marcil Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer of FCC and publisher of The Forum.

“When Mari walked into my office, I knew, with her solid professional experience and strong family values, she was part of our team,” Marcil said.

Ossenfort said she was impressed by FCC’s broadcast properties.

“WDAY and the other stations are all fine organizations, and I just want to keep the excellence and the tradition rolling ahead and progressing into the future,” she said.

Ossenfort has been the general manager and general sales manager of KDLT-TV, KDLV and KDLT.com for seven years.

Before that, she was KDLT’s general sales manager for eight years and an account executive for three years.

She began her career in the television industry in 1994 as an account executive for KTTW-FOX TV in Sioux Falls.

Before that, she was a manager for The Mattress Firm in Houston and Denver from 1992 to 1994.

She serves on the South Dakota Broadcasters Association board of directors.

Ossenfort graduated from Yankton (S.D.) High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

She also has a Fargo connection. She attended Grace Lutheran School and Oak Grove Lutheran School from fourth to ninth grades.

“I grew up here in Fargo, so I know it’s a great community,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of friends up here that I’ve kept in touch with, and I’m really excited to reconnect.”

She is married and has two sons.

Ossenfort takes over for Mark Prather, who retired Friday as vice president of broadcast.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583