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Broadcasting greatness

Greenspring’s Channel 6 celebrates 15 years

Created date

March 8th, 2017
Winner of 29 international Telly awards, Greenspring’s in-house, cable Channel 6 recently celebrated 15 years on air.

Winner of 29 international Telly awards, Greenspring’s in-house, cable Channel 6 recently celebrated 15 years on air.

In January, Channel 6, Greenspring’s in-house, award-winning, cable station celebrated 15 years of service at the Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va. With more than 60 dedicated resident volunteers and three full-time staff members, the station produces high-quality, informative television programming. 

“It’s amazing that Channel 6 is 15 years old,” says community member Libby Haynes. “It is a tremendous resource for residents, providing news, information, and entertainment about everything going on at Greenspring. There
really is no excuse for being uninformed.”

At the heart of Channel 6’s program lineup is its first original program, the live morning show Village in Motion, produced Monday through Friday and airing multiple times each day and on weekends. 

The program features a variety of guests, including Greenspring staff members, local and regional politicians, experts in the fields of safety and education, health and fitness professionals, media representatives, and residents with unique talents or stories they wish to share with the community. 

In recognition of the momentous anniversary, Channel 6 produced a special edition of Village in Motion hosted by Station Manager and Executive Producer Diane Gatsis Havinga. The program featured three guests, all instrumental in the development of the station, including Jeff Watson, former Greenspring resident life director and current Erickson Living director of operations for resident life; Kimberly Nelson, philanthropy director and former station manager; and Frank Richardson, the station’s pioneer resident volunteer.  

“In the early days [before the station opened], we looked forward to the station and the shows that would air,” says Frank. “We interviewed residents to find out what they’d like to see. We learned that they wished to see interviews with residents, call-in programming, and shows about residents who’ve traveled to unusual places.”

Valuable volunteers 

The longevity of Channel 6 directly links to the unwavering dedication of its volunteers who provide numerous hours of service to meet the needs of the station’s more than 3,000 daily viewers. These volunteers 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.”

Community member Carolyn Posey had never worked at a television studio before walking through the doors at Channel 6. 

“I enjoy doing something that I have never done before,” she says. “Volunteering my time at the studio gives me the chance to work with neighbors and professional staff whom I would probably not know otherwise. Their competence and dedication inspire me.”

Frank also enjoys the camaraderie.

“I admit I’ve developed an attachment to the operation,” he says. “I enjoy what I do and find it fun to work with both staff members and volunteers.”

Full steam ahead

Last summer, Channel 6, in an effort to keep up to date with the latest technological advances, underwent a full transition to high-definition programming and received numerous equipment upgrades. 

The station also received three Telly Awards, the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking Web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. 

“That brings our total to 29 Telly awards,” says Gatsis Havinga. “This wonderful accomplishment illustrates the creativity, skill, and dedication our volunteers and staff have for their craft.”

In the year ahead, Gatsis Havinga and her team look forward to bringing new, engaging programming to their faithful viewers. The station will also continue to broadcast replays of various community meetings and events for those unable to attend. (Shows are also posted on YouTube for families and friends to watch.)

“I watch Channel 6 just about every day,” says Libby. “I know that I will always find quality programming as well as footage of meetings I miss. The staff and volunteers do a terrific job.”