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NEWS RELEASE: BUZZ celebrates 1st Anniversary 749 299 Michael Hemphill

NEWS RELEASE: BUZZ celebrates 1st Anniversary


July 27, 2021 (Roanoke, Va.) – BUZZ – the inspiring television show featuring Virginia nonprofits and the marketing pros who donate their talents to help these life-giving organizations – is celebrating its debut anniversary with a special event Aug. 3 at the Grandin Theatre.

At the anniversary celebration, BUZZ will preview its 13th episode – a special two-part show featuring the Christiansburg Institute, with Spectrum Media Solutions providing the pro bono marketing “buzz.” The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. 

“In our first season, even in spite of the pandemic, we were able to share the stories of some incredible organizations doing vital work in our communities,” says BUZZ creator Michael Hemphill, “and provide them with marketing resources to attract more donors, volunteers and clients to their cause. We are grateful to these nonprofit leaders, our sponsors, and the marketing professionals who joined our Hive and helped launch the show.”

BUZZ is a program of the American Advertising Federation of Roanoke (AAF Roanoke), whose membership of marketing professionals provides the pro bono resources to the nonprofits featured in the show.

On Aug. 5, 2020, BUZZ first aired on Blue Ridge PBS with an episode on Southwest Virginia Ballet receiving a new logo and website from AAF Roanoke president Carrie Cousins and other marketing resources from Wordsprint and Press Press Merch. In addition, the show provided SVB with an introduction to Blue Ridge PBS that paved the way for SVB’s first-ever television broadcast of The Nutcracker – the company’s biggest fundraiser of the year – in a year when it couldn’t stage a live production due to Covid-19.

Other organizations featured in the first season of BUZZ include Healing Strides of Virginia, RAM House, Mill Mountain Zoo, Eastmont Community Foundation, Feeding Southwest Virginia, Blue Ridge Women’s Center, Virginia811, and Giles County Department of Social Services. BUZZ airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Blue Ridge PBS and also now on VPM public television in Richmond, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

The newest BUZZ is a two-part episode featuring the Christiansburg Institute, which airs Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. on Blue Ridge PBS. 

For 100 years, the Christiansburg Institute stood as one of the finest schools for Black Americans in Virginia. Founded in 1866 just a year after the Civil War put an end to slavery, Christiansburg Institute became a testament to African-American self-preservation, educating thousands of students on its 185-acre campus. Education giants such as Booker T. Washington served as superintendent. 

But in 1966 school integration finally took hold in Virginia and Christiansburg Institute’s legacy was quite literally whitewashed away. Its academic buildings were shuttered. Its students scattered to previously whites-only schools. Its land was subdivided and sold off. Today all that’s left is one abandoned building on four acres.

But there’s a group of passionate people dedicated to preserving its history, and creating a catalyst for community conversations, racial justice and change. Spectrum Media Solutions in Roanoke is helping Christiansburg Institute better tell its story through a new website.

Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law, the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, and Partners in Financial Planning are sponsors of this episode. BUZZ is also sponsored in part by the Virginia Film Office.

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Michael Hemphill | Creator of Buzz
www.buzz4good.com | michael@buzz4good.com | 540.556.2879

C.A.T.S. to be featured on upcoming BUZZ 720 518 Michael Hemphill

C.A.T.S. to be featured on upcoming BUZZ

We are BUZZing 🐝 to announce that we start production later this month on a new episode featuring Children’s Assistive Technology Service — a no-cost resource for children with disabilities in Virginia who need adaptive equipment and whose families have limited resources.

The episode will air in September on Blue Ridge PBS and VPM. Sponsorship support for this show is being provided by ABLEnow, which helps individuals with disabilities save money to pay for qualified expenses, without being taxed on the earnings — and in most cases, without losing eligibility for certain means-tested benefit programs.

Thank you, ABLEnow, for being a buzz4good for Virginia families in need!

BUZZ produces “Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” for PBS 1024 1024 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ produces “Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” for PBS

As originally broadcast May 1, 2021, on Blue Ridge PBS …

“Friends of the Blue Ridge JAM” is a special hour-long concert by the Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM), hosted by Friends of the Blue Ridge. This collaboration celebrates cultural arts along the Blue Ridge Parkway, focusing on how musical traditions are being passed along to the next generation through community JAM programs. The show is produced by BUZZ.

This collaboration celebrates cultural arts along the Blue Ridge Parkway, focusing on how musical traditions are being passed along to the next generation through community JAM programs. The show is produced by BUZZ.

The episode features five young musicians ages 11 to 17 who have gained great interest and talent in old time and bluegrass music by participating in JAM programs. The segment will feature a mix of old-time and bluegrass music as well as interviews and information about the important missions of Friends of the Blue Ridge and JAM.

This performing group has graced stages at FloydFest, Merlefest, HoustonFest, Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival. 

Sophia Puckett, 17, of Galax, Va., is a singer, clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and accordion player who has already evolved from JAM student to JAM teacher in less than ten years. “This experience has taught me how to reach out to kids and get them to want to learn about the music,” said Sophia about her recent transition from student to teacher. 

Logan Thompson, 14, of Glade Spring, Va., got his musical start in the two JAM programs serving Washington County and Smyth County. A multi-instrumentalist, as well, Logan plays upright bass and clawhammer banjo in a way that feels more like generations of experience, rather than only a few short years. 

To demonstrate the powerful impact place-based education can have on students, Savannah Hodges of Wytheville, Va., joined the cast. At age 11, she has only been playing fiddle for a few months, but music “runs in her family” back to her great grandfather, James Lindsey. Savannah will be participating in the Wythe County JAM program next school year. 

Graydon Shepherd, 12, of West Jefferson, N.C., has been playing the fiddle in the Ashe JAM program since third grade. Much of his fiddle repertoire is local to Ashe and Grayson musical history – an area that is known for being a hotbed of musicians. He cited one of his favorite songs to be, “Sugar Hill”, a tune that is heard commonly at local fiddlers conventions and jam sessions. 

Karlee Hamm, 13, of Lansing, N.C., also participates in Ashe JAM, where she has learned how to play guitar and sing from local teaching artists. Karlee has been winning prizes in youth contests since a young age, and enjoys performing with the New River JAM Band, of which Logan and Sophia are also members.

BUZZ Episode 10 features Giles County foster care 1024 561 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ Episode 10 features Giles County foster care

As originally broadcast on April 28 on Blue Ridge PBS … episode 10 of BUZZ, featuring rural Giles County’s foster care crisis.

Giles County has far more children in foster care than foster homes able to care for them, forcing county social workers to place them in homes often times hours away. Not only are these children leaving behind their biological families, they are also disconnected from their schools, friends, teachers and support services.

Thankfully, 5Points Creative in Roanoke has worked in this world, having recently helped DePaul Community Resources recruit more foster families to its cause. Together — along with a familiar face from a previous episode of BUZZ and Giles County native Burman Clark, president of Muneris Benefits — they provide the county with resources … and hope.

BUZZ Episode 9 featuring Virginia 811 600 337 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ Episode 9 featuring Virginia 811

As originally broadcast on April 14, 2021, on Blue Ridge PBS …

You wouldn’t think underground utilities would inspire much emotion … until you meet the folks working at Virginia 811. For them, protecting the state’s electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications lines is as vital an act of citizenship as voting.

Helping their quest to make more Virginians “know what’s below” before before they start digging is digital marketing specialist Carrie Cousins, president of AAF Roanoke.