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Howdy Highland Springs

New TV show hits the air at North Dallas community

Created date

July 23rd, 2013

Norma Hill may have spent her working years as an elementary school principal, but that didn t stop her from taking on a different role in retirement. Norma is the producer of a new television show airing on the in-house channel at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas. Howdy Highland Springs, a talk show in the style of Letterman and Leno, features residents and staff as guests. The purpose of the show is to highlight the various events taking place at the community each week, says Norma. We also include a few human interest pieces, like how-we-met stories from some of our married residents. Now in its fourth month of production, Howdy Highland Springs is gaining viewers, driven in part by a clever marketing strategy. We tape the show on Thursday afternoons, and it airs on Fridays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Dr. Pepper time, says Norma, alluding to the soda-maker s popular advertising campaign. It s easy for people to remember.

Teasers for upcoming events

Each episode runs between 30 and 60 minutes and is divided into two- or three-minute segments. The show is filmed at Highland Springs. We have a crew of about 12 to 15 volunteers, all with various talents, who put it together, says Norma. There s a production meeting every Wednesday to plan out the week s episode. Our goal is to include as many residents and staff from the different programs around Highland Springs to share teasers for their event or opportunity. Resident Betty King appeared on a recent episode to announce the shows for upcoming movie nights in the Hillcrest Clubhouse. Howdy Highland Springsis such a good idea, says Betty. It s much more interesting to learn about community happenings this way than to read about them on a piece of paper. The camera doesn t intimidate Betty, an actress who appeared in Terms of Endearment, Silkwood, and Tender Mercies, but she says she had to get used to the talk show format. I remind myself it s just like having a conversation, says Betty.

Host for a month

The show s host changes each month as volunteers take their turn on the set. Catherine Johnson hosted the show during the month of June and says she was chosen for her gift of gab. Catherine worked as a speech pathologist and participated in musical productions at her church, so she understands the value of communication. This is fun, and it lets people know what s going on at the community, she says.