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Highland Springs Resident-Produced TV Program Celebrates Milestone

April 19, 2017

Dallas, Texas—Every Wednesday at 3pm, a group of resident volunteers from Highland Springs put their heart and soul into a newscast that would make the professionals at Dallas stations Fox 4, CBS 11, NBC 5 and ABC 8 proud.

The show is "Howdy, Highland Springs," and it captures the news and personalities that make the Erickson Living retirement community such a vibrant place to live.  The program is found on a dedicated channel dubbed Highland Springs TV-Channel 80, easily accessible on the cable station guide.

A "resident production" in the truest sense of the phrase, volunteers share their talents to plan the programming, interview guests on set, report on events throughout the 89-acre campus, operate the cameras and edit the final show.  Their hard work was celebrated on March 15 as the group taped the 200th episode of "Howdy, Highland Springs."

"We've come a long way since that first episode on May 10, 2013," recalled Mr. Bob O'Steen, formerly of nearby Richardson and a resident of the community since March 2012 with his wife, Patty.  The retired educational marketing manager with McGraw Hill admitted the entire process is a labor of love.

"Most of us had no television-specific skills, but we came together to try something new that would be of benefit to our fellow residents and enhance the communication platforms of Highland Springs," said Mr. O'Steen who served as the show's first host and now fills the role of producer.  "We have 40-60 volunteers who contribute in some aspect of the production."

The weekly shows run from 40 minutes to an hour.  As Highland Springs grows, the "Meet Your New Neighbor" segment is especially popular as are the reports from three residents who cover events on campus.

"'Howdy Highland Springs' has become a favorite show for viewers of our in-house TV station because they can watch interviews with new neighbors and first-hand conversations with staff members who discuss upcoming events," stated Lana VanGiesen, Director of Resident Life.  "The residents involved with its production should be proud that it has become the 'go-to' show for keeping up with all the excitement at our community."

"So many talented residents have made these 200 episodes possible.  Norma Hill was the first producer through the initial 37 shows.  Bill Dorn, the 'Gnome Master' of Highland Springs, has been our camera operator since day one.  And Walt Thieme brought us from the dark ages with his editing expertise.  Our shows now have the bells and whistles that make viewing it even more pleasurable," noted Mr. O'Steen. 

To those behind the scenes, "Howdy, Highland Springs" is much more than just a television show. 

"Our underlying philosophy is, of course, to be non-partisan and non-denominational.  We ask everyone involved with its production to have a 'glass half full' attitude," stated Mr. O'Steen.  "We're here to have fun and involve everyone who wants to participate."

Mr. O'Steen has no worries about finding content for 200 more episodes of "Howdy, Highland Springs."

"The number of residents we have will always be the number of interesting stories we have," he said.

About Highland Springs:  Highland Springs is one of nineteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living.  Located in North Dallas, Texas, the scenic 89-acre campus is home to more than 925 residents.  Highland Springs is the ideal greater Dallas retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure. 

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