Greenspring's Award-Winning TV Station

Staying connected, engaged and healthy at Greenspring

Award-winning television station keeps community up-to-date throughout COVID-19

Springfield, Va. – July 1, 2020 – Honored with 33 International Telly Awards over the last 16 years, the in-house cable television station at Greensping, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living, provides residents with up-to-date news and outstanding original programming. Since the first cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the U.S. earlier this year, GSV-TV, Channel 1960 has served as one of the primary sources of important, time-sensitive news for residents.

GSV-TV has been the Greenspring communications center since day one of the coronavirus pandemic,” says resident Susan Gerhard, a long-time volunteer at the station. “Our campus leaders use GSV-TV as the initial source of releasing information to residents.”

Even before Governor Ralph Northam issued the stay-at-home order for the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 12, 2020, Greenspring staff were already communicating important community-wide safety precautions to residents through the use of Channel 1960. In fact, from mid-March to the end of June, viewership has increased by more than 200 percent.

“During this unprecedented time, GSV-TV continues to serve as a primary communication resource in our efforts to keep our community members and staff fully informed,” says Greenspring executive director Chandra Kumar. “Twice a week, we host a community update call-in show providing detailed safety information including preventative protocols and phased reopening measures. In addition, GSV-TV also provides the unique ability to provide dynamic, resident-run programming which goes a long way in keeping our community members engaged and connected.”

At the heart of GSV-TV’s COVID response are the bi-weekly updates featuring Kumar and assistant executive director Melissa Robson. Each Tuesday and Thursday, the hour-long program includes a news report from management followed by a call-in segment where community members are encouraged to ask their important questions.

Informative and entertaining

“GSV-TV is a marvelous source of up-to-date Greenspring information,” says Susan. “As residents, we appreciate how quickly information is updated, sometimes daily, the transparency of the management team, and the opportunity to ask questions.”

Each week, viewership continues to grow as the program addresses everything from meal preparation, mask-wearing requirements, and physical distancing measures. In the most recent program, Kumar provided updates on entering phase one of re-opening, preparations for the Fourth of July holiday, and transportation scheduling.

In addition to the important updates, GSV-TV continues to provide popular programming including the live morning show, Village in Motion, produced Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. and airing multiple times each day and on weekends.

GSV-TV station manager and executive producer Diane Gatsis Havinga works diligently with her team, comprised of both staff and volunteer residents, to keep Village in Motion informative and entertaining. For example, a recent episode featured a Zoom interview hosted by resident Clint Lambert, with Resident Council members Betty Christman and Phil Scianna. The two community leaders provided an update on the Council’s recent activities.

“We continue to hear how much our residents appreciate hearing from, and seeing, via GSV-TV, their neighbors,” says Gatsis Havinga. “In our efforts to help our community continue to thrive, our in-house television station is a wonderful asset.”

Getting creative

Throughout these unprecedented times, Gatsis Havinga and her staff continue to create programming designed to keep residents engaged in community life, including exercise classes featuring Greenspring’s wellness professionals; departmental updates; a variety of religious services; travelogues; and sing-a-longs.

Resident Gray Parks, a dedicated GSV-TV volunteer, continues to perform songs in his role as the Greenspring Troubadour.

“I used to work in the studio when creating programming but I now use a camera and my personal PA system in my apartment to make a tape of four weekly programs for my Troubadour show,” he says. “I enjoy working with the staff of GSV-TV and other resident volunteers in developing and broadcasting programs of interest to the residents. The professionalism of the staff and the professional equipment of the station enables us to provide high quality programs for our Greenspring community.”

Gatsis Havinga in grateful to Susan, Gray, and other Greenspring volunteers for their creativity and flexibility during this unprecedented time.

“So much of what we are able to do is because of the dedication of our residents,” she says. “The creativity in bringing programming to life, despite some of the physical distancing measures, is truly remarkable and a testament to the spirit of the Greenspring community.”

About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,000 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.

Photo Credit: Kelly Shue

Photo Caption: Throughout COVID-19, Greenspring Executive director Chandra Kumar addresses residents every Tuesday and Thursday on GSV-TV’s call-in update show.

Story written by Kelly Shue