Charlestown residents are running a fully-functioning, closed circuit television studio out of their Catonsville, MD, retirement community, producing original content on-site, shooting and then editing the film to make professional-grade video.
Under the guidance of Tom Moore, the Community TV and AV Manager at Charlestown, the residents produce daily live shows, as well as documentaries, interview segments and other community programming on Channel 972.
“The involvement is incredible,” Moore said. “The residents feel like they’re really a part of our team here, not just watching from the sidelines. They become part of our staff, part of our family.”
As many as 40 residents filter in and out of the TV studio each day. Residents serve as hosts, cameramen, editors and secretaries -- a job is there for anyone, regardless of experience in the television industry.
Viewers enjoy watching their friends on the silver screen, perhaps explaining why the station is so popular throughout the Charlestown community, which has 2,300 residents.
Dawn Strumsky, a Charlestown resident, delivers the weather with a twist all her own: she dresses up in one of the dozens of wigs she owns to deliver her “Wacky Weather” segments (see photo).
“I’ve always wanted to do the weather, and at first I tried to do it professionally, but I found out the green screen just wasn’t for me,” Strumsky said. “And now there have been so many people that have stopped me and said that I made them laugh about the weather.”
Residents volunteering at the TV station appreciate the freedom they are given to do what needs doing and fix what needs fixing in order to keep the station running smoothly. Resident Al Medeiros is a well-known face around the station, having adopted a “handyman” title.
“They let me, and I’m able to, do anything that I can see needs to be done,” Medeiros said.
Resident Marge Wareheim serves as a receptionist for the TV station. “I just love it, getting to know people, seeing them come in and out,” Wareham said. “There are so many activities to choose from at Charlestown, and I certainly found the right one.”