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Reason to celebrate

Howdy Highland Springs films its 200th episode

Created date

June 27th, 2017
Howdy Highland Springs volunteers celebrate the program’s 200th episode.

Howdy Highland Springs volunteers celebrate the program’s 200th episode.

The chance to look back over your work and celebrate a job well done doesn’t come along every day.

So when the resident volunteers who run Highland Springs’ in-house television program Howdy Highland Springs filmed their 200th episode, they paused for a moment to acknowledge the achievement with cake and champagne.

Howdy Highland Springs has been on the air since 2013,” says Bob O’Steen, a retired marketing manager for McGraw-Hill Education. “The show started with 12 volunteers, and now we have a crew of 60 residents who volunteer their time and talent to put the show on the air.”

The program airs weekly on channel 80, a dedicated channel seen only at Highland Springs. 

Hosts of Howdy Highland Springs announce events for the week ahead, feature human interest stories, and introduce neighbors new to the North Dallas Erickson Living community. The show also highlights points of interest from around the greater Dallas metroplex during its “Behind the Scenes” segments.

Fledging production

Norma Hill served as the initial producer of the show. She’d lived at Highland Springs for barely a year when she found herself in a meeting where Community Resources Coordinator Barbara Blachly asked for volunteers to launch an in-house television program.

“I raised my hand, although I didn’t know the first thing about putting together a television show,” says Norma, a retired school principal. “After that, it seemed like all I did was scout out ideas. I’d look and listen for topics that would be of interest.”

Initially the show was filmed on Thursdays, and each new episode aired for the first time on Friday mornings.

“I’d be so nervous until the show ran at 8 a.m.,” says Norma. “I had to be sure that everything was right and we hadn’t made some horrible mistake. To this day, I still watch Howdy every Friday morning at 8, even though I’m not involved with the day-to-day production anymore.”

Passing the torch

Norma produced the first 36 episodes, passing the torch to Bob O’Steen after nine months.

“I’d been elected to the RAC [Resident Advisory Council] and knew I couldn’t do both jobs,” says Norma. “At one of our Town Hall meetings, I passed an [unlit] torch to Bob and told him that I’d carried this baby for nine months; now it was his turn to raise it. He’s taken the show and done a beautiful job with it.”

These days, Howdy Highland Springs is filmed on Wednesday afternoons in the medical specialty suite at Highland Springs.

“We have a great team of volunteers, some who’ve been with the show since the beginning and newer residents who are adding their talents to make us even better than before,” says Bob. 

Walt Thieme moved to Highland Springs in 2014 and quickly lent his video editing talents to Howdy Highland Springs.

“I’ve gone through stages of interest when it comes to hobbies,” says Walt. “First, I was into woodworking, then needlepoint, then photography, and now I’m into creative video editing. It’s a fun challenge for me to look at the material and figure out the story I’m trying to tell.”