Posted: October 30, 2023
At Holly Creek Life Plan Community in Centennial, stories abound – carried on the airwaves of the community’s own radio station, HCRK.
The radio has been a fixture of the community for over 15 years when former resident and ex-disc jockey Dick Gustafson brought his radio station from Vail. HCRK features everything from music and announcements to resident stories and discussions on topics of interest. Priscilla (Cil) Stenman and Sandy Washington are frequently found in the radio station on Tuesday mornings, interviewing a community team member or resident as part of the community’s much-anticipated weekly Wanderings program.
Stenman has interviewed residents and staff on the Wanderings program since 2015 and is one of HCRK’s most popular radio personalities.
“Cil is wonderful at guiding the interviews,” co-host Washington said. Washington herself is newer to the program, having started only about six months ago by recommendation of former host Marty Lamm, but she is well known in the community thanks to four years of service on the hospitality committee.
“I love meeting new people and hearing their stories,” she said, and she has played a key role in helping the duo connect with and arrange future presenters.
Together, they have interviewed artists and lawyers to geologists to neurosurgeons with stories from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or 14ers across the world to serving as a brigadier general. The process of interviewing is always one both hosts enjoy tremendously. It starts with a pre-interview — a half hour- to hour-long conversation with the next Wanderings guest speaker.
“I love that part the best,” Washington said. “You get to learn so much more about people’s backgrounds.”
As each interviewee shares about their lives, the cohosts take detailed notes. Afterward, they organize and consolidate key topics and questions by theme so they can smoothly guide each week’s Q. & A. presentation. Then, on the morning of the Wanderings program, each week’s interviewee meets Stenman and Washington and slides on their set of foam-eared headphones while the radio crew clicks the red On Air light near the studio’s door. Together the threesome wait for disc jockey Ken Stenman to cue the program’s music “I Love to Go a Wandering” and the small white card that Cil Stenman always lays down to indicate that they are live – “Mics On.”
From there, the stories hit the airwaves—reaching hundreds of residents live on Tuesdays and again when the stories re-air on Fridays. “We never know how many are listening,” Washington said. But based on the feedback they receive, the turnout (or tune-in) is always significant. In addition, every participant gets a downloaded recording of their interview.
“We have had participants whose family members hadn’t even heard some of the stories they shared during the interviews,” Washington said.
To date, Wanderings has shared the stories of hundreds of neighbors and team members at Holly Creek. Both hosts are thrilled that HCRK, Wanderings and the many volunteers that continue to make them possible can offer such a special opportunity to highlight and capture those wonderful stories for generations to come.