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Volunteer-driven television station receives high-tech advances

Created date

July 19th, 2016
Greenspring's in-house television studio.

The recent transition of Greenspring’s Channel 6 from analog to digital HD-SDI improves the quality of all programming, including Village in Motion, the daily live interview morning show.

More than 50 dedicated Greenspring resident volunteers and 3 full-time staff members work daily to produce high-quality, informative television programming for the community’s in-house cable Channel 6. 

Recently, in an effort to keep up to date with the latest technological advances, the station underwent a full transition from analog to digital HD-SDI (high-definition serial digital interface) with the assistance of Communications Engineering, Inc. (CEI), based in Newington, Va.

The station, which has produced 26 Telly Awards for outstanding production work, also received numerous equipment upgrades, including a digital server for recording and video playback; three Sony HD cameras; Sennheiser gold studio microphones; a digital file recorder; and a portable camera recording system.

“With the new upgrades, Channel 6 is now completely ready to meet the needs of our community,” says Station Manager and Executive Producer/Director Diane Havinga. “Residents have definitely noticed the difference.”

Dedicated volunteers

For the resident volunteers, the upgrades represent a commitment to the many hours they spend creating programming for the station’s more than 3,000 daily viewers. They coordinate audiovisual requests, support lighting and sound needs, operate cameras, and serve as interviewers and guest speakers. 

“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Channel 6,” says Gatsis-Havinga. “Almost no one arrives with any experience in television technology, yet everyone is eager to learn something new and help our station run in a variety of ways.”

“Volunteering my time at Channel 6 gives me a chance to work with neighbors and professional staff whom I would probably not know otherwise,” says community member Carolyn Posey. “Their competence and dedication inspire me. I enjoy doing something that I have never done before.”

Every Monday through Friday, since the channel’s inception in January 2002, the station has produced Village in Motion, a live morning show featuring a variety of guests, including Greenspring staff members, local and regional politicians, health and fitness professionals, media representatives, and residents with unique talents or stories they wish to share with the community. 

Additionally, the station produces other special programming, including That’s Life, a program focused on social work around the community and Talk Sports, highlighting current sports news.

“Channel 6 is constantly bringing on guests who are experts in their field, regardless of whether they live in the community or not,” says Diane. “Our goal is to be an effective source of information to the community. We are excited these new upgrades will help us provide more high-quality programming.”

Keeping up in a high-tech world

Last year, in order to meet these growing needs, Greenspring contracted CEI for a full upgrade of the Channel 6 facilities to digital high definition. 

CEI worked within the project’s budget and kept Channel 6 on-air during the entire digital transition. Now that the project is complete, CEI provides ongoing service and support for the Channel 6 facility. CEI performs quarterly preventive maintenance, and CEI’s renowned field service team steps in when unexpected troubles arise, keeping the Greenspring television facilities always up and operational.

“In terms of the production process, the upgrades have been seamless,” says community member Vince Aungier, who works the soundboard or one of the cameras during the live Village in Motion broadcasts.

“The upgrades have also significantly increased the variety of programming available to us and improved the clarity of the digital picture we receive,” says community member Clint Lambert, who has volunteered at Channel 6 as an interviewer and host. “The commitment to improving Channel 6 demonstrates Erickson Living’s ongoing dedication and determination to provide top-notch services to their residents.”

To catch a glimpse of the Telly Award-winning program produced at Channel 6, visit their You Tube channel.