Oct. 2, 2006

Dassel man hired by Vikings

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

One of Dassel’s own has been hired by the Minnesota Vikings to provide live feeds for pregame shows at the Metrodome.

Gary Ahlgren, owner of Dassel Satellite in Dassel, was offered to do a side job by providing satellite equipment for festivities on the plaza before the home games.

Up to three hours before the game, fans commence at the plaza as a part of a pregame party.

“It draws a pretty good crowd,” Ahlgren said.

There is a tent set up where fans can receive autographs and talk with former Vikings players.

Also in the tent are large TVs where fans can watch pregame shows on ESPN, FOX and the NFL networks, provided by Ahlgren.

This gives fans the opportunity to see what’s going on with other teams.

“Fans can see what’s going on in the league while they are warming up for the game,” he said.

Ahlgren’s job of providing feed for the pregame show evolved after he was hired to do similar work for the Vikings draft party at Winter Park in May.

Die-hard Vikings fans gather for the event to watch the NFL draft. Ahlgren provides live feeds for this event as well.

Ahlgren’s brother-in-law is to thank for his involvement with the Vikings. He works as an account executive for an audio/visual company in the Twin Cities which is active with the Minnesota Vikings.

Ahlgren was also hired by the University of Michigan for last weekends Gopher game at the Metrodome.

The University of Michigan is renting the same tent for an alumni pep rally.

Ahlgren will be providing satellite feeds for the showings of live college football games.

In the past, Ahlgren has done the same work for Lifetime Fitness’ triathlon at Lake Nokomis in July. This provides national exposure on NBC, he explained.

“This is a great opportunity,” Ahlgren said referring to the chance to work for the Vikings.

It allows him for a good reference for other jobs in the future and he even gets to attend all the home games, he explained.

“It’s fun providing entertainment for people,” he said.

Ahlgren’s satellite history

Ahlgren obtained Dassel Radio and TV from his father, Bud Ahlgren, who had been in the business since 1952.

In 1985, Ahlgren’s dad retired and sold the business to Ken Skalberg. In 1999, Skalberg retired and Ahlgren took over Dassel Satellite although Skalberg still helps man the office.

Ahlgren remembers the advent of satellite in 1983. Ahlgren had read articles about backyard satellite dishes and convinced his father to get involved with the new technology.

He remembers the first 10-foot fiberglass dish he sold to Bob Gilman in August of 1983 for $3,800.

All of the programming was free with the purchase of a dish. It wasn’t until 1986 when movie channels were scrambled and a customer had to pay extra for the programming.

The biggest change for satellite came in 1994 when Direct TV launched their small dish satellite.

Ahlgren remembers the first dish system costing customer only $7.99.

Dish Network came two years later.

Systems are now free for new customers.

The “hottest” technologies now for Ahlgren is high definition television and the Digital Video Recorder or DVR which allows viewers to record shows without a tape and pause and skip commercials during a program.

Throughout his years, Ahlgren has seen many changes in television from the first colored TV with only a few channels to high definition with hundreds of channels.

“Satellite technology has allowed the average consumer to have access to the world at a push of a button,” Ahlgren said.

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