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Coming this fall/winter on BUZZ

Coming this fall/winter on BUZZ 1024 576 Michael Hemphill

Mark your calendars!

We’ve been buzzy producing new episodes – and more importantly helping new nonprofits – for Season 3 of BUZZ!

Tune in to Blue Ridge PBS every Wednesday at 7:00 pm (or our YouTube channel) to watch previous episodes and these new ones:

September 21- Saint Francis Service Dogs

For more than 150 Virginians with disabilities, dogs are not only best friends, they literally make life meaningful and possible. Since 1996, Saint Francis Service Dogs has provided incredibly trained four-legged caregivers that assist in daily living for families confronting autism, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, brain injuries, amputations and paralysis.

Lesser known is the fact that these dogs also provide service to inmates at Bland Correctional Center who help raise and care for them through a prison puppy program. And they provide comfort and calming in facilities throughout Virginia, namely Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center and Virginia Tech School of Medicine.

Dog-lover and marketing maven Carrie Cousins, director of marketing at LeadPoint Digital, returns to BUZZ to help Saint Francis Service Dogs enhance its popular “Barks & Rec” fundraiser. 

October 19 – West End Center

In the 1970s during summers and after school, children often wandered the streets without supervision of Roanoke’s West End, a neighborhood defined by poverty and crime, vacant lots and vandalized buildings. But then a group of churches and civic groups came together to establish West End Center as a safe haven — and more importantly, hope — for the neighborhood children.​

Today, West End Center serves about 150 children each year, providing them and their families with low-cost academic enrichment, wellness programs and leadership training to become productive, responsible adults. 

BUZZ partner 5Points Creative returns to provide a comprehensive marketing package to promote West End Center to a wider audience.

November 30 – FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge

For much of its history, FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge helped the National Park Service maintain vistas and hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. But in 2021 the National Park Service ended the partnership, inspiring FRIENDS to pivot and expand its mission beyond the parkway to the communities of the Blue Ridge.

That pivot includes celebrating the region’s musical heritage by hosting the first-ever Blue Ridge Jamboree, an annual event with multiple shows in the communities where FRIENDS chapters are located. The inaugural Jamboree features “Doc Watson at 100” with performances by Wayne Henderson, Jack Lawrence, T. Michael Coleman and Jack Hinshelwood. 

New to BUZZ, Big Lick Entertainment is donating its time and expertise to help plan and promote the Jamboree.

January 4 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia offers a safe place to learn and grow, plus life-enhancing programs and character development experiences for hundreds of schoolchildren. 

Within its 11 sites in Roanoke, Salem, Montgomery and Franklin counties, BGCSWVA promotes the development of boys and girls by instilling “a sense of competence, a sense of usefulness, a sense of belonging, and a sense of influence.”

In need of a digital overhaul, BGCSWVA receives a website upgrade from a member of the American Advertising Federation of Roanoke.

January 11 – Roanoke City Schools’ Art Program

From marching bands and string ensembles to musical theater, visual arts and all-star choruses, Roanoke City Public Schools’ arts programs are second to none in Virginia. 

But coming out of the Covid pandemic, many students and their families too often aren’t aware of all the free artistic offerings — and life-long opportunities — that the school system provides. 

In partnership with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and City of Roanoke, BUZZ highlights the programs and people that comprise the Roanoke City Public Schools’ arts education … in hopes that more children will be inspired to participate. 

BUZZ Season 3 premier features Grandin Theatre Film Lab

BUZZ Season 3 premier features Grandin Theatre Film Lab 900 504 Michael Hemphill

As originally broadcast August 10, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Since 2016, Grandin Theatre’s Film Lab has provided an after-school program for high school students eager to learn how to make movies.

But dozens of films later — some of which have received EMMY awards and been screened in festivals around the world — and the Film Lab remains somewhat unknown despite the fact it’s earned its own red-carpet treatment.

Using Film Lab’s own tools and talents, BUZZ seeks to shine a spotlight on this amazing program with a special hour-long episode that launches of our third season on Blue Ridge PBS.

BUZZ features Roanoke’s Healing Arts to conclude Season 2

BUZZ features Roanoke’s Healing Arts to conclude Season 2 900 506 Michael Hemphill

As originally broadcast July 27, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Throughout his life, Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley was not only known for his medical talents in the Roanoke Valley, but his musical gifts as well. So much so that upon his death, Carilion Clinic in collaboration with the Keeley family founded a Healing Arts program.

Today, Carilion Clinic offers a variety of “healing arts” resources such as artists-in-residence who provide therapeutic treatments to patients and staff.

Other nonprofits are also working in this space. Roanoke Symphony has partnered with Anderson Music Therapy on regular programs for memory-loss nursing home residents. Taubman Museum of Art hosts “healing ceiling tiles” in which community members turn ceiling tiles into artwork that’s hung in Carilion Clinic patient rooms. And 5 Points Music Sanctuary provides help for everyone from children with autism to adults suffering from depression.

This episode is the third of a 6-part series of BUZZ focusing on Roanoke’s arts and cultural nonprofits, produced in collaboration with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment, City of Roanoke, and Carilion Clinic.

NEWS RELEASE – BUZZ kicks off Season 3 with Happy Hour and Watch Party

NEWS RELEASE – BUZZ kicks off Season 3 with Happy Hour and Watch Party 900 506 Michael Hemphill

July 25, 2022 (Roanoke, Va.) – To celebrate the premier of Season 3 of BUZZ, all are invited to a Happy Hour on Aug. 3 at Olde Salem Brewery in downtown Roanoke and a free Watch Party on Aug. 9 at the Grandin Theatre.

Launched in August 2020 on Blue Ridge PBS, BUZZ features Virginia nonprofit organizations receiving pro bono “marketing makeovers” from creative professionals affiliated with the American Advertising Federation of Roanoke. 

“During our first two seasons and 22 episodes, we’ve shared the stories of more than 30 different nonprofits, and provided them with valuable marketing resources to help them create more buzz,” said Michael Hemphill, Buzz4Good creator and show host. “Season 3 promises to be even more impactful featuring nonprofits such as Saint Francis Service Dogs, Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge, and Roanoke Public Schools’ art programs.”

The season kicks off with a Happy Hour on Aug. 3, 4 to 6 p.m., at Ole Salem Brewery on Market Street in downtown Roanoke. One dollar of each beer sold will go to AAF Roanoke to support production of future episodes.

On Aug. 9, Buzz4Good hosts a free sneak peek Watch Party at the Grandin Theatre for its season premier that airs Aug. 10, 7 p.m., on Blue Ridge PBS. The episode is a special hour-long BUZZ  that not only stars Grandin Theatre’s Film Lab but is being produced by Grandin Theatre Film Lab.

“The Grandin Theatre has been home to all of our BUZZ watch parties,” said Hemphill. “We’re thrilled to start Season 3 by providing the Grandin with more buzz of its own.”

Virginia is home to hundreds of nonprofits – from homeless shelters and food banks to children’s choirs and art museums. As skilled as these organizations are in fulfilling their missions, they often lack the time, expertise, personnel or bandwidth to properly promote themselves. This lack of good marketing – this shortage of buzz, if you will – limits their ability to reach more clients, patrons, volunteers and donors who will further their cause.

Over its first two seasons, BUZZ has featured Southwest Virginia Ballet, Healing Strides of Virginia, Mill Mountain Zoo, RAM House, Eastmont Community Foundation, Feeding Southwest Virginia, Virginia811, Giles County foster care, Blue Ridge Women’s Center, Christiansburg Institute, Children’s Assistive Technology Service, Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley, Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia Children’s Theatre, Tudor House, Council of Community Services, Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia, and others. All are available on demand at

In fall 2021, Buzz4Good added a weekly radio show airing Saturdays 4 p.m. on WFIR (also available on that interviews nonprofit leaders throughout Southwest Virginia.

Season 2 concludes Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m., with an episode on Roanoke nonprofits involved in the “Healing Arts,” produced in partnership with Carilion Clinic, Roanoke Cultural Endowment and City of Roanoke. The Grandin will host a free Watch Party that night. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Register for all events at

# # #


Michael Hemphill | Creator of Buzz4Good | | 540.556.2879
@buzz4good on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn

Episode 21 features Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia

Episode 21 features Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia 900 507 Michael Hemphill

As originally broadcast June 29, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

In 1997, 10-year-old Jason Rooker accidentally hung himself while playing in his front yard. The brain injury he suffered would eventually take his life … and inspire his parents to found a nonprofit to help other New River Valley families struggling with such tragedies: Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.

But over the years BISSWVA has grown beyond the NRV to provide resources to 11,000 square miles of Virginia, from Martinsville and Lynchburg to Alleghany and Lee County. And the unwieldiness of the name can be a mouthful to say and difficult for clients to remember.

In this episode, we feature the emotional stories of individuals and families whose lives have been challenged by brain injury.

And we are thrilled to welcome back to BUZZ marketing specialist Wordsprint, which helped rebrand Mill Mountain Zoo and Eastmont Community Foundation in previous episodes.

We thank these individuals and businesses for providing the sponsorship support for this episode:

Buzz4Good Radio Hour talks Gun Control Nonprofits

Buzz4Good Radio Hour talks Gun Control Nonprofits 1024 617 Michael Hemphill

As a professor in Norris Hall, Catherine Koebel’s father would have been a victim of Virginia Tech’s 2007 mass shooting had his class started an hour earlier. Brenda Hale wasn’t as lucky: when she was a little girl, her father fatally shot her mother.

Now both have teamed up to launch an aspiring nonprofit – Groceries Not Guns – that seeks to stem this cycle of death one household at a time. Groceries Not Guns, along with the Roanoke chapter of the NAACP and Roanoke Quaker Meeting, is coordinating a buyback on June 25.  

While mass shootings like the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas receive a lot of media attention, they comprise just a fraction of the 45,000+ gun deaths – suicides, inner city homicides and accidental shootings – occurring each year in our country.

Such killings are just part of living in the United States.

Listen to BUZZ creator Michael Hemphill‘s conversation with the leaders of these organizations.

Also in this episode … a sneak peek at an upcoming BUZZ TV show episode featuring Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.

Are you a nonprofit with an event that we could help promote? Or a marketing problem we could help fix? Contact us and we’ll share on an upcoming episode.

Watch Party June 8 for GIVE Roanoke episode of BUZZ

Watch Party June 8 for GIVE Roanoke episode of BUZZ 900 506 Michael Hemphill

Watch Party on July 27


As originally broadcast May 18, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Free HIV testing, delivering food and comfort to Covid-positive homeless individuals, coordinating the statewide 211 Virginia call center, founding Total Action for Progress, RADAR, and the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia — these are just a few of the programs that the Council of Community Services has provided over the last 60 years. 

In April 2022, CCS embarked on its newest venture by hosting “GIVE Roanoke,” a day of philanthropic giving for more than 100 nonprofits throughout the Roanoke Valley. BUZZ invited Freedom First and Lamar Advertising to provide some needed, well, buzz for the 24-hour online event, which ended up raising more than $300,000. 

BUZZ and CCS invites the community to attend our free Watch Party on June 8 at 6 pm at the Grandin Theatre where GIVE Roanoke prizes will be awarded.

BUZZ Episode 19 features Tudor House & Virginia Children’s Theatre

BUZZ Episode 19 features Tudor House & Virginia Children’s Theatre 900 567 Michael Hemphill

“It was the most pain you can imagine.”

Virginia Children’s Theatre is famous for its family-friendly, crowd-pleasing productions along the lines of “Peter Pan” and “Wizard of Oz.”

But once each year, the theatre devotes itself to weightier, painful topics affecting adolescents through its program VCT4Teens.

In 2021 and 2022, VCT has done so in partnership with Tudor House, a nonprofit founded amid the most painful experience imaginable.

Helping Tudor House share its story — and resources — is AAF Roanoke member Nero Digital Design Studio.

BUZZ Watch Party featuring Virginia Children’s Theatre & Tudor House

BUZZ Watch Party featuring Virginia Children’s Theatre & Tudor House 1024 576 Michael Hemphill

Join us for a free special evening Wednesday, April 13, 6:00-8:00 pm at Grandin Theatre, that features the inspiring collaboration between two vital Roanoke Valley nonprofits: Virginia Children’s Theatre and Tudor House. (Register below.)

In summer 2020, Roanoke business and swimming icon Louis Tudor died by suicide. Out of the tragedy, Tudor House was born, a nonprofit that provides resources for individuals suffering from depression and mental illness. 

In 2022, Tudor House and Virginia Children’s Theatre partnered to present “Apologies: A play about teenage suicide” to families throughout the Roanoke Valley. 

Providing the pro bono marketing “buzz” for this show: Nero Digital Design.

  • 6:00 pm – Doors open (beer, wine, soft drinks and concessions available for purchase)
  • 6:30 pm – Performances by Virginia Children’s Theatre
  • 7:00 pm – Blue Ridge PBS premier of our new episode
  • 7:30 pm – Q&A with Tudor House

We thank Tudor’s Biscuit World, Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Fulton C. Johnson, City of Roanoke (through American Rescue Plan funding) and Freedom First Credit Union for sponsoring this episode!

Watch Party on July 27


BUZZ Episode 18 Features Roanoke Arts Pop!

BUZZ Episode 18 Features Roanoke Arts Pop! 1024 588 Michael Hemphill

As originally broadcast on March 23, 2022, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Helped by the “buzz” created by LeadPoint Digital’s digital marketing campaign, the Taubman Museum of Art hosted performances, exhibits and activities from 20+ different arts and cultural organizations at the 2nd annual Roanoke Arts Pop! on March 4-6, 2022.

In partnership with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and City of Roanoke, BUZZ showcases the weekend event in this second part of a 6-episode series in 2022 revolving around a collective arts and cultural marketing initiative for the Roanoke Valley.

We thank Freedom First Credit Union for providing additional sponsorship support of this episode!