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On Air

New talk show features Charlestown friends and neighbors

Created date

March 20th, 2012

If you re ever lucky enough to have dinner with John and Dawn Strumsky, you might subsequently find yourself appearing on TV. Not only does this dynamic duo comprise two of the most energetic, fun-loving people you ll ever meet, they host a new talk show, Our Charlestown Neighbors, now airing on Charlestown s in-house TV station, Channel 972. Last May, when we moved to Charlestown, we decided we would eat dinner with someone new every night, says John, a retired U.S. Marine. We wanted to meet our new neighbors and really immerse ourselves in the community. We quickly discovered just how many fascinating people live and work here. Many of their stories were so interesting we thought others would enjoy hearing them too.

At home on the set

The 30-minute show, which debuted this January and airs twice monthly on Thursdays, features fellow Charlestown community members like William Davis, who served under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter; Gloria and Marvin Cook, newlyweds who met and married at Charlestown; as well as noteworthy Charlestown staff. We pitched the idea, along with a list of 30 potential guests to station manager Tom Moore and indicated we already had three people who agreed to go on camera and tell their stories, says John. Without hesitation, Moore agreed. John and Dawn have such warm and friendly personalities and they have become so involved socially around the campus in the short time they ve lived here, says Moore. They also have a great rapport with one another, which I suspected would help put their guests at ease in front of the camera. And with that, the Strumskys hit the ground running. For the first show we spent about eight to ten hours preparing and pre-interviewing, says John. After it aired we were startled by the number of calls and messages we received from people offering congratulations and potential prospects for future shows. The couple even commissioned neighbor and musician David Wehr to write a jingle for the show. It s been a wonderful learning process, says John. If you would have told me ten years ago I would be producing and appearing on a television show, I wouldn t have believed you. That s what makes Charlestown such an interesting place to live. There s no telling what you ll be involved in next.

Lights, camera, action

John and Dawn aren t the only community members to step in front of (or behind the cameras) at Channel 972. The TV staff is supported by almost two dozen resident volunteers who host programs, develop show content, run cameras, input data for the electronic bulletin board, edit, and dress the set. We typically produce 35 to 40 regularly scheduled shows each month, says Moore. Having the support of the residents is priceless. Since they live here in the community, they are more in tune with what s happening and can guide us as to what resonates with their friends and neighbors. The upcoming lineup for Our Charlestown Neighborsincludes a show on the history of Charlestown, interviews with pioneer residents, and late resident Charles Earp s (distant cousin to legendary western lawman Wyatt Earp) Civil War writings. John says with the success of the show they hope to continue bringing to light many of the extraordinary events in the lives of the people who live at Charlestown. We love Charlestown and the wonderful spirit and attitude that permeate the community, he says. We feel lucky to be meeting all of these interesting people and making so many wonderful friends. The way I see it, with nearly 2,000 neighbors and 1,200 staff members here at Charlestown, if we continue to tape one show every other week, it will take 120 years or more before we run out of fresh material and have to rerun shows.