Episode 27: Retirement Living TV Channel: Charles Hirschhorn and Brad Knight
This generation of retirees will live longer, be healthier, have more choices and more knowledge, and potentially experience this stage of life in fantastic new ways. Now there is a whole channel on TV devoted to information and entertainment directed specifically toward those who are retired. It includes everything from how to use electronics, a dating game, health advice and a myriad of interesting talk shows. On our show today we are very fortunate to have the network’s two founders, Charles Hirschhorn and Brad Knight, to tell us about this exciting new medium.
Charles Hirschhorn, Retirement Living TV’s Chief Executive Officer, created G4 Television, helped create the Fox Network, returned the Wonderful World of Disney to television, and has produced and developed over 20 major motion pictures.
Brad Knight, President of Retirement Living TV, is the driving force behind the network’s success in reaching more than 30 million homes.
Among the network’s lineup of shows is the AARP Magazine Show; The Art of Living; Health and Wellness Hour (everything from Alzheimer’s to Indian sweat lodges); and Daily Café (2 hours of news and interviews starring Florence Henderson).
Announcer: This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com
Peter Brill: Welcome back to the Third Age. I’m your co-host, Dr. Peter Brill. I’m here with the man from Hollywood…
David Debin: David Debin. The Third Age usually starts somewhere age 45 or 50. And it’s a time when you start to feel real strong desire for deeper meaning and fulfillment in your life.
Your first age is childhood. Your second age is building your career, raising your family. And the third age is a major change or transition to a whole new set of problems, values, opportunities, gratifications. So, join us as fellow-explorers in this journey to discover what brings passion, purpose and joy into this uncharted time of life. So, Peter….
Peter Brill: Many of you who listen to the show are retired. As we say in our introduction, this is a new and largely unexplored age. This generation of retirees will live longer, be healthier, have more choices, more knowledge and potential experience in this stage of life in fantastic new ways.
Now there’s a whole new channel on television devoted to giving you information and entertainment directed towards those who retire. It includes everything from how to use electronics, a dating game, heath advice and a myriad of interesting talk shows.
Today we are very fortunate to have the networks two founders, Charles Hirschhorn and Brad Knight to tell us about this new exciting media.
David Debin: Wow, that sounds fabulous. This is what I’ve been waiting for for years and years and I’m just very anxious to hear how it got started.
Peter Brill: Yeah, you tried to do a whole series on it at one point, right?
David Debin: Well, we tried to do a show… Well, Norman Lear actually tried to do a senior network and it didn’t work out. And then I did a pilot called -- what was it called -- “Young at Heart,” “Young at Heart.”
Peter Brill: ‘Young at Heart.” Yeah.
David Debin: It was a talk show. We had Jonathon Winters and we had an old group from the ‘60s, The Diamonds playing “Little Darling,” you know. And so we had a real good time. But at the time we just couldn’t, we couldn’t get it going. So, I’m so happy that this is actually happening now.
Peter Brill: That’s great.
David Debin: And also, I think that we are -- a dating game reminds me of where I started out because I started out working on The Dating Game in the ‘60s when I first came to Hollywood. So, if there’s a dating game I want to see it, of course. It will be a little different than it was when I did it, but…
Peter Brill: It’s the same stuff. All right. So, David…
David Debin: Yes.
Peter Brill: We were going to talk a little bit each week about a spiritual issue. And I think you had an experience this weekend that you wanted to get started with.
David Debin: Well, I wanted to talk about a word that really isn’t in the dictionary. But I made it up. And it’s “ancestorship.” And I think you wanted to say something first before I began to talk about this.
Peter Brill: Well, I mean, you know we’ve had -- as a result of psychiatry and psychology -- an awful lot of focus on the deficiencies of families, the deficiencies of brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers. All the things that people do or fail to do that influence your life and make you happy or unhappy in the present period of your life. That’s all in the negative end.
But what we haven’t looked at in the same way is throughout the histories of families, the positive end. And I think that’s what you want to talk about, the spirituality of that.
David Debin: I want to talk about it because it got brought up in me very strongly just recently when I spent four days with my grandchildren who are 5, 2 and 1, or almost 1. And every time I have this experience it brings up something in me that feels deeper than just me. It goes beyond, way beyond, me.
And I was thinking about they are ancestors of me, in a sense. So, I was thinking about ancestors and what I’m thinking is that you are the result of your ancestors. Think about that; you are the result of all the ancestors -- all of your ancestors live in your heart.
When you are an ancestor, you know that you live in the heart of your children and your grandchildren and on down. So, when you are engaged with your children, with your grandchildren, knowing that you’re going to be part of who they are forever and part of the chain that goes on and on and on, you’re responsibility is to be your highest possible self.
It’s not easy all the time and you don’t always know what to do because as we’ve heard there’s no real definitive book on being a parent. But if you stay connected with your highest self with the highest values that you’ve held when you deal with your children, with your grandchildren, with whomever you are an ancestor of, that is probably the highest calling that anybody can possibly have.
I’ve always felt that the greatest heroes in this world of ours are single mothers. That’s my -- single mothers who raise their children by themselves; maybe a little help, maybe not. But those are the real heroes in our culture. And it’s the same concept. You are an ancestor of a child who is going to carry you in his or her heart forever on down into the century.
Peter Brill: For better or for worse.
David Debin: For better or for worse. And so that’s what I was thinking when I was looking into the eyes of this little 9-year-old baby that seemed like infinite eyes that I was being projected down in through the ages, that she’s going to project down through the ages. And it was a really very high spiritual experience.
So, that’s my story about ancestors. I know that everybody here loves their grandchildren. And everybody listening loves their grandchildren.
Peter Brill: Well, I don’t know if -- they all may love their grandchildren, but I’ve talked to a myriad of people who get extremely impatient with their children and their grandchildren, because the styles by which people are raising children these days has changed so markedly. And there’s always some tension between parents and children over how they raise their children.
David Debin: Yes, that’s true. I’ve seen that, too.
Peter Brill: Yeah. And so I think it’s a very good thing to keep focusing on can you transmit your higher self; the part of you that’s virtuous, the part of you that’s patient, the part of you that knows how to accept and ask love unconditionally. Can you model that for your grandchildren?
David Debin: We actually had somebody in one of our Third Age groups who was very impatient with her granddaughter. Her granddaughter was gaining weight and eating a lot. And when she and her granddaughter got together and went out to eat she would be very upset about seeing her granddaughter eat a dessert or eat too much for dinner.
And then we talked about in the group -- and we worked on patients and how impatients works against transmitting those good values. And now, believe it or not, she just told me the other day that her granddaughter just slimmed down on her own. She stopped doing all that. She didn’t want dessert the last time they went out. And all it took was patients.
Peter Brill: Well, talk about patients; we only have a little time for The News Story.
David Debin: For the News Story and this is a very short story. So, we’re…
Peter Brill: Oh, good. We’re very fortunate.
David Debin: Oh, yes. It takes place in Manchester -- I think England, that is. They’re hunting an elderly woman who tried to hold up a Post Office. This shows that in the Third Age you’re never too old, you know, to learn how to hold things up. [laughs] Whatever that means…
The pensioner, who is age 65 to 70, pulled out a knife, threatened the cashier and demanded money. But she shuffled off empty-handed from the Post Office after staff activated the store’s alarm. So, police are looking for her and if you’re out there and you are a tourist, you’re in England, or anything else -- look for a little woman who is white, 5 foot 2 inches tall with dark hair and a purple coat and you have caught yourself one postal thief. OK, how about that?
Peter Brill: There you go.
David Debin: Very funny.
Peter Brill: [laughs] Not your funniest of all times.
David Debin: Funniest thing I ever heard. Well, there’s another one here about a woman looking for a goat with bagels.
Peter Brill: Say goodnight Gracie.
David Debin: Goodnight Gracie.
Peter Brill: [laughs] We are extremely proud today to have two pioneers on our show. The first is Charles Hirschhorn. He’s Retirement Living TV’s chief creative officer.
This guy created G4 television, now operated by Comcast, helped start the Fox Broadcasting Network. Who can forget about “Living Color”, “21 Jump Street”, “The Simpsons?”
He returned to the Wonderful World of Disney to television, has produced and developed over 20 major-motion pictures. And now is helping to build upon the success of only network dedicating to empowering those over 55.
David Debin: And, I believe his partner is Brad Knight. Brad has been the driving force behind the network’s success in reaching more than -- listen to this -- 30 million homes and producing nearly a thousand hours of programming. The former electronics industry exec is new to cable as his 1-year-old network. But his partnership with the like of AARP and [laughs] whoever else.
David Debin: Welcome to the show, guys. We’re a little confused today.
Charles Hirschhorn: You did a good job.
David Debin: No, we did a terrible job. We’re fighting some technical things here. And fighting the fact that neither of us have our papers in order. So, we’re -- but we’re happy to have you with us.
Charles Hirschhorn: All right. Well, you know, Brad and I will run the show if you guys want to take a …
David Debin: OK, go ahead.
Peter Brill: But in the meanwhile, we have a few questions -- just in case you might need somewhere to start. David, you wanted to start…
David Debin: Yeah, I’d just like to know… What is Retirement Living TV?
Charles Hirschhorn: Retirement Living as you’ve described is the first television network solely devoted to adults 55 plus. It’s sort of our mission to provide all-original programming which try to inform, involve and inspire our audience.
We’re based in Baltimore, Maryland. It was actually founded by a guy named John Erikson. He’s been in the retirement community industry for the last 25 years, kind of pioneered the notion of a large-scale comprehensive care retirement community-- sort of campus-size communities, has 22 of these communities around the country.
Started The Erikson School of Aging at the University of Maryland, help publishes a private newspaper to over 4 million seniors. And it was his idea that sort of all those good values of aging weren’t being celebrated in the media. And it was his idea to launch Retirement Living and he brought Brad into it and then Brad brought me into it. We’ve been on the air since September of 2006.
Peter Brill: OK. Now for our 500,000 listeners out there through LA and so forth -- down into the valley, why should they subscribe to your network?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, they don’t need to; it’s free if you’re a cable or satellite subscriber.
Peter Brill: Good, so for Cox and the other ones, it’s right on your current cable?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, we’re working with Cox. Right now it’s on DirecTV, it’s channel 223. If you get DirecTV we’re on 9 to 5, Monday through Friday on channel 223. And that really -- in Southern California -- that’s your best shot because we’re in 14 million Comcast homes, but it’s on their local channel CNA, which is their East Coast and Mid-Atlantic channel.
So, in terms of Southern California listeners it’s really DirecTV. We’re also in Denver on Comcast CET. We’re noon to 4, Monday through Friday on the Comcast Networks.
David Debin: This is really a giant project. How long did it take you to put this one together?
Charles Hirschhorn: Brad, when did you start?
Brad Knight: I started March 6, two years ago. So, I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary.
David Debin: Wow. That’s unbelievable blazing speed in this business.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah, and I think John had been working on it -- you know, from a business development point of view -- for a couple of years before he brought Brad into to actually launch it.
David Debin: And what were the obstacles you had to overcome? I ask that because when I produced this talk show pilot, “Young at Heart,” I found a lot of obstacles in getting it done. And I wonder if you’ve encountered any of the same types of things.
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, David, you know as well as anyone, in the media business it’s nothing but obstacles.
David Debin: Yeah, that’s what I mean. And when you say two years with nothing but obstacles I’m flabbergasted.
Charles Hirschhorn: I think the real challenge today is distribution. You know, there are lots of people such as yourself, there are lots of people out there who are interested in producing original programming for this audience. But the challenge is to get it distributed.
So right now, we have online distribution. So anyone can go up to our website rl.tv and learn all about the network and learn about the show. Then you can actually stream video on rl.tv if you want to watch the shows.
Peter Brill: For free or for a fee?
Charles Hirschhorn: For free.
David Debin: Yeah, I’ve watched… No, I’ve watched some and their fabulous.
Charles Hirschhorn: Everything’s free here.
David Debin: Their great.
Peter Brill: That’s great.
Charles Hirschhorn: And you know, then the challenge in television distribution is really working with the major cable, satellite and now the Telco’s. The telephone companies, Verizon and AT&T are also getting in the video-television business.
So the real challenge for us is working with those major distributors of television and getting them to see the value of the network and see the value of the programming and distribute it. And that, to be honest, is where your listeners can be helpful because if they get DirecTV they can watch it. And if they don’t get DirecTV they can call their cable operator and ask them to provide it for them.
Peter Brill: And the way they can… Let’s get your website up one more time so they know how to find you and then from there they can get in contact with their cable operator. But give us the website again.
Charles Hirschhorn: The website is rl.tv.
Peter Brill: Yeah, I visited it today. It was quite a website. So, OK… So, we have this channel. It got started by Erikson. The message was a bunch of stuff that’s missing from how to age well. What excites you about it now? What are you bringing to it that you think is really new, exciting, powerful, meaningful?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, I think a number of things that excite. One is this audience -- as I’m sure you find with Third Age -- is eager to engage. You know, they’re interested in information. They’re interested in news. They’re interested in other people’s stories. They’re interested in new opportunities.
Obviously, it’s the largest, fastest growing demographic in the country. They have time. They have money. They have experience. And so they’re very open to content. So, across the board, whether it’s our original programming about finance, about health and wellness, about news or biographies -- you guys were talking earlier about our dating show, “Another Chance for Romance,” about dating. These are all interesting opportunities that people want to engage in.
Peter Brill: You know, we have found --we’re working kind of at multi-levels, both directly by radio and then with people in groups and workshops. We give speeches and so forth. We have found that probably two-thirds of this age group is struggling with how to bring their dreams about. A good half of that group knows what they want, but they don’t know how to get going. They don’t know how to get moving. They don’t know how to make it come true for themselves. And are you finding -- you must be doing all kinds of studies of the audience.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah, I think the good news for….
Peter Brill: Uh-oh, I think we lost our caller here. Hold on, people.
Marissa Skovoski: We lost our guests.
David Debin: We lost our guest. We lost both our guests because I think they were both on the same line.
Marissa Skovoski: Yeah, I think they were.
David Debin: This is uh, this is uh…
Peter Brill: Why don’t we take break?
Charles Hirschhorn: You hear us?
Peter Brill: Oh, there you go. You’re back. [laughs]
Charles Hirschhorn: There you go, OK.
Peter Brill: What were you saying? You were saying the nice part about this audience…
Charles Hirschhorn: I think the good opportunity which we recognize is that, you know we can provide information that’s an access point to get engaged. So, you know, obviously this year is an election year… If people want to get engaged in politics, if they’re looking to join new social organizations, if they’re looking to new hobbies, or if they’re interested in travel or places to live in -- you know this is all information we provide.
But mostly thanks to the Internet we’re allowed to refer people. People can come to our website. So if they’re interested in the things they see in television… You know when Florence Henderson interviewed the woman who created the Red Hat Society?
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: Mm-hmm, great.
Charles Hirschhorn: You know if there are women who want to join the Red Hat Society or start their own chapter, it’s easy to go on our website and we’ll provide them with the direction of where to go.
David Debin: Well, we’re going to, we’re going to -- if you can hold on there, guys, we’re going to come right back after we do our commercial. And then we will continue this discussion about real TV and watching TV and retirement and learning about things you need to know. We’ll be right back.
Peter Brill: Welcome back to Third Age. I’m one of your hosts, Dr. Peter Brill. I’m here with the man from Hollywood, David Debin and our assistant producer Marissa Skavoski.
We’re very happy today to have Charles Hirschhorn and Brad Knight, two pioneers in television and movies who’ve started a network for retired people, TV network.
So, the question --what, of the shows, are there ones that are more popular than others?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, I think since we launched a year-and-a-half ago, that the health programming -- the health and wellness programming, there’s a show called “Healthline” that Dr. Kevin Soden hosts, which we’ve made over 130 episodes of -- dealing with, really, everything from Alzheimer’s to Indian sweat lodges. And, you know western, non-western medicine, healthcare that can be provided outside of the country -- you know, care giving issues.
I think that has been our sort of most popular and most successful programming from day one. It is obviously tremendously useful and valuable information.
Peter Brill: I can clearly see why. I’m a physician and I can clearly see why, because people at this age are constantly talking about and looking for good sources of medical information. And the question is how do you know what to trust and where do you go for it?
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah, and Kevin Soden has done a lot for the other networks, as well. He’s a very reputable, well-trusted physician.
Peter Brill: That’s wonderful.
David Debin: How does it work? Does he take -- Do people ask questions or does he just go out and do like a mini-documentary on each thing that he talks about?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, a lot of those shows come from -- we built a studio inside one of the Erikson Retirement Communities. So, a lot of it is in-studio guests. But recently they took a trip to India and looked at -- it starts with an A. I won’t be able to pronounce it…
David Debin: Ayurvedic medicine.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah.
David Debin: At least I got that right today.
Charles Hirschhorn: But, looked at Ayurvedic practices in India and also traditional western medicine that in some ways is being outsourced, with you know sort of bevel tourist medicine practice there as well. But it runs a gammet from call-ins, to in-studio hosts, to traveling around the country. And then we also invite people to send in questions online on the website.
David Debin: Great.
Peter Brill: So, what’s Number 2?
David Debin: What’s another show?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, we’re a small network so we don’t get ratings. And when you ask me what’s 1 and 2, it’s mostly from response we get from people calling in or on the email.
But the “Daily Cafe,” which is our live daily 2-hour show from Washington, DC is very popular. And it has live news on the half-hour and then interviews, call-in segments with topics of interest of nothing.
But we can do it because our audience is a little mature and a little more attention-spanned --just spend more time with guests. And have our in-depth questions. That’s very popular.
Florence Henderson hosts the show that we tape in Hollywood that’s all entertainment individuals and celebrities of -- you know, she’ll have Carol Burnett and Gary Marshall on the show. So, that’s been very successful.
David Debin: That’s great. I love Florence Henderson. I used to work with her.
Peter Brill: Now, if you’re giving this all away for free, is it commercial?
Charles Hirschhorn: It’s just like you guys.
David Debin: It’s cable.
Charles Hirschhorn: We have advertisers.
Peter Brill: Oh, you have advertisers, OK. Because I was wondering how you’re paying for all of this.
Charles Hirschhorn: No, no it’s a traditional ad-supported free cable and satellite.
Peter Brill: Well, I’m so excited about what you’re doing because the need for specialized information and the coherence of this group of people from 55 on is very, very vital. And I love your philosophy of empowering them.
I mean, the core issue that we see is the need for people as they aged to become more empowered instead of what happens normally which is they sense that they lose power and they become kind of marginalized.
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, that’s sort of the Erikson philosophy.
Peter Brill: Is it?
Charles Hirschhorn: You know it started with John developing a hundred acre, 3,000 resident campuses where people can live in a community and be engaged and be involved and be inspired to try new things. And so we’re taking that philosophy of his and putting it on television.
I mean, during the commercial break we were watching the show called “The Art of Living” which profiles people or 55 and what they are up to and one’s a hockey leagues that was being profiled during the commercial break, where you have people in their 80s playing hockey and then newcomers who’ve never skated before, in their 60s, just showing up and learning to skate and being a part of it.
Peter Brill: See, now, if you stop and you just think about that for a second and the tremendous importance of that to people just to hear about… Think of all the various different activities the people sit home and they don’t get engaged because they’re afraid because of their age. That’s wonderful.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah, they just don’t know where to start.
Peter Brill: They don’t know where to start, that’s the real critical part.
Charles Hirschhorn: I think what we’re trying to do is, you know obviously reach out to people with television and then all they got to do is pick up the phone or go online and we’ll give them a place to start.
Peter Brill: Oh, that’s wonderful.
David Debin: Do you count your audience from what age, 50 up, did you say?
Peter Brill: 55.
David Debin: 55, up?
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah, 55 up. And another thing you mentioned earlier is a partnership we’re very excited about is in March we’ll be premiering two new shows with AARP -- which is, you know partnering to provide content for us. And they’re going to do a…
They publish the largest circulation magazine in the world, the AARP magazine. And they’re going to do a half-hour TV magazine version of that show. That premiers in March. And also some more political issues and answers with call-in show based out of their studio in Washington.
Peter Brill: Hopefully something with health care.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah. So, again, I mean that’s an example of the fact that there are organizations out there like AARP that is interested in providing access via television to this audience.
David Debin: Well, it’s about time. I understood at one point that Norman Lear had tried to do something like this and I guess the world was not ready for it yet. Do you know anything about that?
Charles Hirschhorn: Yes, we met with him a few months ago and he was very supportive of what we were trying to do. He told us a little bit of what he tried to do. I think it was called “Primetime.”
David Debin: Yeah, yeah, right. OK.
Charles Hirschhorn: And, you know the challenge when he tried it -- and I’m not sure of the dates, but it was at least 10 or 15 years.
David Debin: Yeah.
Charles Hirschhorn: Was that the video distributors -- the cable and satellite companies -- just weren’t ready for it. They just weren’t interested in that audience.
But, you know now today you can’t pick up a newspaper or a magazine or listen to the radio or go online without recognizing how large this audience is and how boomers are aging. And you know now Hispanics and people over 50 are the fastest growing demographics in the country.
David Debin: Your timing is fabulous.
Peter Brill: By different methods, I might add.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah.
Charles Hirschhorn: And their different matrix, you know. Three-quarters of all the disposable income is 55 plus.
Peter Brill: Yeah, absolutely. The advertisers will get onto it eventually.
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, then that’s the real challenge, convincing advertisers that there’s a market beyond 18 to 49.
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: Yeah, that’s the problem that I ran into. And what we heard was that the advertisers said, “Seniors don’t change brands.” Did you hear that one?
Charles Hirschhorn: You know we hear it all the time. But fortunately there are lots of pharmaceutical companies who’ve been in this market for a long time. There are lots of financial service companies who also have been there for a long time. And now the more enlightened sort of consumer product companies and travel industries are recognizing that 50 plus is a big market.
David Debin: Can you hang in for one more segment and we’ll talk more about this? Because I know our audience is very interested in this.
Charles Hirschhorn: Sure.
David Debin: Great. We’ll be right back. Don’t go away.
Peter Brill: Welcome back to the Third Age. I’m one of your co-hosts, Dr. Peter Brill. I’m here with the man from Hollywood, David Debin and Marissa Skavoski. Our two guests today are pioneers in the retirement television world, Charles Hirschhorn and Brad Knight.
David, I think you had a question.
David Debin: Well, no, we wanted to talk about care givers. It’s something we haven’t talked about yet.
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: Guys, what do you do…? What can care givers get from Retirement Living TV?
Charles Hirschhorn: You know the care givers are a really, really important part of our audience. Everybody -- we say once we once we have your Mom, we have your attention.
You know if you’re a female in the United States, your 55 years of age and a primary care giver for a loved one, you’re 300% more likely to die in poverty. You’re 150% more likely to die of disease. This is a national epidemic. We feel loneliness kills.
David Debin: Mm-hmm.
Peter Brill: Absolutely.
Charles Hirschhorn: You’re not going to die of a disease; you’re going to die of loneliness.
Peter Brill: Mm-hmm.
Charles Hirschhorn: So, when we talk and especially in the interactive portion of the website. You know a lot of our shows have a lot of information and research that go in to support this. We have an on-staff Gerontologist, as an example. We also have access to John’s team of doctors. John has more geriatricians on staff than anyone in the country.
So we take it very seriously that we address this information accurately and correctly. So, if like on our “Daily Cafe” show -- it’s a two-hour live show out of Washington we talked about earlier -- we have 12 telephone lines and they are almost continuously packed with care givers looking for very specific information.
I have a 90-year-old mother who lives in assisted living in California and it was really the impetus for why I began this endeavor with John, is I couldn’t find information to take care of Mom.
Peter Brill: Mm-hmm.
Charles Hirschhorn: And it’s a heart-wrenching thing to be involved in.
Peter Brill: Well, it sure is.
Charles Hirschhorn: So, we have a… You know like all the shows we produce, we cut the shows into topics and then we load them on our website. So you can go to the website and search osteoporosis. And under osteoporosis we probably have three different segments on the disease. And we cut them into six to seven minutes bytes so that they’re consumable.
And we see a lot of activity. The Number 1 thing seniors look for on the web is information. The Number 1 thing of that is medical.
David Debin: I would imagine that care givers spend a lot of time watching TV as well.
Brad Knight: You know the care givers drop back into that 18 to 49-year-old stay home mom.
David Debin: That’s right. They do because they are sitting there taking care of somebody and not looking at that person all the time. You know you’ve got to do something.
Peter Brill: And his statistics are not surprising at all. Because when you look at the care givers who are spending full time or major portions of their time taking care of a sick person…
David Debin: Mm-hmm.
Peter Brill: Their life becomes often a living hell. I mean, they become so tired and so demoralized and so… I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen it.
David Debin: Yeah, that’s why they’re reaching out like that.
Peter Brill: Yeah.
Brad Knight: You know they call them the “Sandwich Generation.”
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: Yeah, well, the Sandwich Generation, that generation will spend more time taking care of their parents than they did raising their children.
Brad Knight: And you know Medicare doesn’t take care of long-term care. 98% of the US population over 65 years of age has Medicare as their primary health insurance.
David Debin: That’s right. It doesn’t. And Medicaid will only help for a little while if you’re in poverty.
Brad Knight: It’s a hundred days.
David Debin: That’s right.
Peter Brill: So, we have suffered long enough. Let’s talk about the stars.
David Debin: Charles, can we talk about this? Can we talk?
Charles Hirschhorn: Brad was so inspiring.
Peter Brill: He was. I loved it.
David Debin: Charles, you know you’ve worked with the biggest stars in Hollywood. You’ve worked with -- well, Barry Diller’s not a star. Michael Iser; are these stars? Jim Carrey is a star; Jennifer Lopez. What’s different with working with people like Florence Henderson or the talent at RLTV?
Charles Hirschhorn: First of all I think we have the biggest star in our demographic on the air which is Walter Cronkite.
Peter Brill: Yeah.
Charles Hirschhorn: And he does weekly short essays, video essays on topics that we air on the “Daily Cafe” which is fantastic and a fantastic opportunity you know to get him back on the air. So that’s been very exciting. And Florence is great.
You know the nice thing is there is people like Jason Alexander who you get to work repeatedly with because we all get older. I did Cinderella with Jason and Whitney Houston and Brandy when I was at Disney and now he’s doing live theater in LA and on the Florence Henderson show. So, it’s fun.
Peter Brill: Can you give us any gossip? I mean, you know. Can you whisper it?
David Debin: I don’t know if you want to know gossip about Florence Henderson.
Charles Hirschhorn: [inaudible] … about Florence Henderson appearing on “Dancing with the Stars.” She’s a big fan of the show.
Peter Brill: Uh-huh.
Charles Hirschhorn: But at least as of yet, she hasn’t been invited. That was in the near post the other day. But as of yet, she hasn’t been invited…
David Debin: It’s pretty amazing how some of these people never really seem to -- I mean, on the outside they age somewhat, of course; we all do. But a lot of these people that I’ve worked with over the years in the entertainment business and television, they seem to be able to retain this youthful quality that shines through their eyes that when they talk to you it’s just like they haven’t changed.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah. And it’s amazing what being on camera does for someone.
David Debin: Yes, it does.
Charles Hirschhorn: There are many times where we have guests arrive for taping and they’re looking a little tired. And the moment the lights go on and the camera is on that entertainment chromosome kicks in.
David Debin: That’s right.
Charles Hirschhorn: And they deliver big time. It’s really fun.
David Debin: They do. I don’t know how old Florence is at this point, but when we did our pilot we had Betsy Palmer, if anybody remembers Betsy Palmer. And she was 80. But nobody could believe she was 80.
Charles Hirschhorn: Yeah.
David Debin: So, it’s like, you know everybody gets transported right back to that fabulous place where they were and they feel comfortable with those people.
Peter Brill: OK, so you get to see your friends from the past. You get fabulous information. How do people get this?
Charles Hirschhorn: Well, again, what they really need to do if they get cable or satellite is call their cable operator, call their satellite operator.
Peter Brill: And we got a couple of them; Comcast or -- Cox is one, Time Warner in the Valley…
David Debin: Time Warner in the Valley, Cox is here in Santa Barbara and probably even…
Peter Brill: And there’s one more.
David Debin: And then there’s Comcast. Charter.
Marissa Skovoski: Charter.
Peter Brill: Charter.
Charles Hirschhorn: Charter is cable and then if you’re a Dish customer -- if you’re a satellite customer -- if you’re on DirecTV or Comcast you have it. Although, not on the West Coast. All the other cable and satellite companies, you just need to call them and ask for it.
Peter Brill: What do you got against the West Coast? We’re vital and important out here.
David Debin: But we’re younger. [laughs]
Charles Hirschhorn: We’re working on it.
Peter Brill: We have plenty of enthusiasm on our own?
David Debin: We have another minute left. Is there anything that you guys want to say to our audience out there?
Charles Hirschhorn: I think we’ve covered most of it.
David Debin: Yeah, we have. Oh, I know what I wanted to ask you; quick answer. Retirement Living TV; can people who are not retired watch the shows?
Charles Hirschhorn: It is our ambition to help re-define that word.
Peter Brill: Absolutely, I hate that word.
David Debin: Oh, great, great.
Charles Hirschhorn: Sort of, you know re-inspire -- much like you’re doing with the Third Age. Just sort of re-inspire and re-engage. You know, not look at retirement as a time where you have to slow down. Retirement is a moment of freedom where you have the freedom to pursue what you want to pursue.
David Debin: Great. Thank you, Charles Hirschhorn, Brad Knight -- thank you -- with RLTV. We’ll keep talking about it on the show. Thanks for being with us. We’ll be right back.
Peter Brill: Welcome back to the Third Age. I’m here with the man from Hollywood, David Debin. I’m one of your co-hosts, Dr. Peter Brill and Marissa Skovoski.
David Debin: Well, this was very, very interesting and something -- by the way we went to their website today…
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: … which is RLT; was it RLTV? Or, RL…
Marissa Skovoski: Yeah, RLTV.
David Debin: rl.tv; and they have a fabulous website which shows you what their lineup is like -- the shows on their television channel. And I got to tell you, it really looks great. It looks like it’s something that is so over-do that we …
Didn’t you once tell me that there was statistic about how people in the Third Age, how much television they watch?
Peter Brill: Oh, yeah, my God; 44 hours a week.
Marissa Skovoski: they watch the most.
David Debin: 44 hours a week on average of people of in the Third Age watch the…
Peter Brill: They do?
Marissa Skovoski: I think they watch the most -- I mean, age demographic.
Peter Brill: You’re studying this in college, right?
Marissa Skovoski: Right, exactly.
Peter Brill: And she got an A on her test so she -- you know we can believe her now.
Marissa Skovoski: Exactly.
Peter Brill: If she was getting Bs, we’d had to…
Marissa Skovoski: You might doubt my worthiness.
Peter Brill: Was it multiple choice, though?
Marissa Skovoski: Yeah. [laughs]
Peter Brill: I always did well on multiple choice tests. You could kind of figure it out, you know.
Marissa Skovoski: I like multiple choice. You don’t have to write or try anything.
David Debin: So, they’ve got this huge, huge audience just sitting there waiting and wanting something, you know and it’s just -- the timing is great.
Peter Brill: Yeah.
David Debin: We have a workshop this Saturday coming up, February 23 at Antioch University, 969 9794 if you want a place there. Or you can register on the website which is thirdagefoundation.com.
Peter Brill: David, you know our guests today said something so profound when we were talking about the care givers and about life and about this stage of life. He said people are dying not of illness but of loneliness.
Now, I just want to tell you out there that your world is going to get smaller unless you put active effort into reaching out and forming new structures, new people, new ways of it relating in your life.
Our workshop on February 23, that’s this weekend at Antioch. You can register by going to our website, thirdagefoundation.com or 969 9794. Or, we’ll also be having a workshop at City College on March 22. Come out. Don’t sit alone. Don’t let your life go in a direction you don’t want it to.
This is the most exciting time of life, I promise you. It can be; it’s realistic. Yes, we can -- what is it, the…
David Debin: Yes, we can!
Marissa Skovoski: [inaudible]
Peter Brill: Yes, you can. Yes, you can. So, please do that -- 969 9794 or thirdagefoundation.com.
David Debin: You know, by the way, the Third Age Foundation is nonprofit. And if you’re in the mood to help out your fellow third-agers through the foundation and the work that we do in the outreach, you can make a donation on our website as well.
Peter Brill: What we turn your money into is a way of helping people. Also trying to empower people in this stage of life and trying to find ways for people to be treated better in all ways at this time of life.
David Debin: Yeah, everybody -- this loneliness thing is -- connection is what people in the Third Age, we found, are really, really looking for.
And that’s it for us today. We’ll see you soon.
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