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Want to be a TV star?

Now you can at Maris Grove’s in-house studio

Created date

December 25th, 2012

Wanted: studio crew and on-air talent for local television station. Will train, and you can walk to work. That make-believe ad describes opportunities at Channel 11, the in-house TV station at Maris Grove. It s one of many creative activities at Erickson Living s community in Delaware County, Pa. For resident Ted Kerwin, it s a perfect fit.

All in a day s work

Ted plays golf twice a week with friends from his former Media neighborhood. But there s no golf in winter, he says. And because Maris Grove s grounds crew keeps the community s sidewalks, parking lots, and roads clear of snow and ice, there are no winter chores to do, he says. [The TV studio] sounded neat, so I thought, why not try it? He does occasional camera work and uses his deep, rich voice in voiceovers of commercials about Maris Grove s housekeeping department. But his niche is graphics. Specifically, Ted and another resident share the job of creating bulletins for the station s scrolling list of announcements, an electronic bulletin board of campus announcements that runs on Channel 11 every day. His flexible schedule suits his lifestyle. Ted lives close to the station, so I might put in my wash, come and do the scrolling list of announcements, then go home and finish my laundry, he says. Maris Grove s maintenance-free, one-level living includes a washer and dryer in every apartment home.

Endless opportunities

Community TV Coordinator Rose Azrael oversees the studio crew and the scroll. Her desk sits opposite Ted s with only a window between them, and they ve become good friends. When I make a mistake, she kids me, says Ted. There s no pressure here. Azrael and Lead Coordinator Heather Baver facilitate studio activities, and Azrael set up Channel 11 s Facebook page. Her postings tease visitors with topics scheduled for the station s daily Thru the Lens program. While Azrael and Baver create topics and shows, as well as edit videos of special campus events like the annual Christmas cantata, they also guide residents in learning and perfecting those key studio skills. Some 25 volunteers comprise the station s staff. They learn to operate studio equipment, then proceed to follow their bliss as on-air talent, program hosts, stage crew members, even producers or documentary filmmakers. If they ve always wanted to be a TV star, now they can be! says Azrael. She and Baver aim to produce quality programming. But we also want people to participate and have fun, Azrael says. None of our volunteers ever did this before. To her, the presence of an on-site TV studio illustrates Maris Grove s progressive thinking. It says a lot that they have this line of communication with residents and also use it as a means of entertainment and lifelong learning, she says. And speaking personally, Getting to know our residents is the best thing about working here. One comment can lead to stories you wouldn t have expected. And I m always keen to listen.