Tribune Print Share Text

‘I’m a TV star since I retired!’

Seabrook’s TV studio showcases community’s spirit

Created date

February 21st, 2012

I m a TV star since I retired! exclaims Carole Barnhard, host of Seabrook s To Your Health TV show and resident of the Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J. Since moving to Seabrook more than four years ago, Carole has mastered her on-screen personality, learned TV graphics, and befriended just about everyone at the community. Everybody knows me here because of the show, she says. Carole, along with 30 other regular volunteers and two staff members, helps Seabrook s in-house TV studio produce an average of 480 productions a year. While the productions range from 30-second spots to 30-minute shows, they plan, direct, film, and air every one from inside the community. [The studio] is designed to be a source of information, entertainment, and an activity for residents, says Peter Hansen, community TV lead coordinator.

On camera and backstage

Not every volunteer works both on and off camera. Most master one area or another, spending anywhere from 10 to 15 hours in the studio a month. Noel Kirchner, who moved to the community in summer 2007, has volunteered behind the scenes since October of that year. Like most new community members, recently retired Noel was looking for something to do and had no prior experience with television other than watching it in his living room. Noel quickly learned to operate the camera, record events, and produce specials. I also learned how to switch channels to make what the camera is filming show up on air, he says. A former CPA, Noel has found pleasure in venturing out of his comfort zone. It s a completely different and new field. I find it very satisfying, he says. I get the opportunity to view firsthand what s going on at Seabrook, and I m performing a service to my neighbors. Like Noel, Betty Hill had no prior experience in a TV studio. But you d never know it watchingSeabrook Today, a daily live show. On the show, spunky Betty welcomes local business people, reviews restaurants, and interviews interesting Seabrook community members. For example, she s hosted a florist who brings plants from a local nursery a big hit during gardening season. She s also hosted Michele Deroian of Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, located just a mile from Seabrook. [Michele] brings gift ideas for the holidays like Mother s Day and Father s Day, and she gives discounts to our residents. She s a big hit too, Betty says.

Neighborhood orientation

Not all studio volunteers have zero prior experience. Carole s friend and co-volunteer, Riki Kass, started her career in radio. But, It s still very different, Riki says. She began volunteering right away and says the studio helped acclimate her to the community and made her feel at home when she moved there almost a year ago. I met Pete [Hansen] on my first day here, she recalls. I turned on channel 20 [the community TV station], and the background music was music I played when I worked at WRTN. I ran down to the TV studio and told Pete, You re playing my music! This is home! The music wasn t the only thing that helped her feel at home. Through her work at the studio, Riki has met many friends and learned about her new community. I didn t know anybody when I moved [from Florida], but now I know a lot of people, she says. Riki now works the cameras two to three days a week and records voiceovers. There s a novelty of learning something completely new in a place where I didn t expect it, she says. Aside from orienting her to the community and introducing her to friends, the TV studio showed Riki the true spirit of Seabrook. I guess you consider Seabrook a retirement community, but I never really felt like I wanted to fully retire, she says. Here people are not sitting around doing nothing. Everyone is active, and so many people volunteer. Everyone is friendly. It s a great place to live. Residents host almost all shows produced by Seabrook s TV studio, a high-tech room on campus dedicated to providing information and entertainment to the community. But residents aren t the only community members involved. We get the whole community involved, Hansen says. Shows feature fellow neighbors, Seabrook medical center practitioners, pastoral ministries staff, local politicians, and even penguins from the local aquarium. It s especially great for new residents to familiarize themselves with everything Seabrook and the surrounding community have to offer. The TV studio truly promotes Seabrook s motto: We share our gifts to create community and celebrate life. To learn more about how you can get involved with the Seabrook TV studio, call 1-800-532-1267.