Posts Tagged :

new river valley virginia

BUZZ Episode 29: How Storytelling via Videos Can Create Awareness for Your Nonprofit 900 506 Michael Hemphill

BUZZ Episode 29: How Storytelling via Videos Can Create Awareness for Your Nonprofit

As originally broadcast on February 22, 2023, on Blue Ridge PBS …

Today’s BUZZ uses the power of video to not only feature eight different nonprofits, but also amazing video producers who generously donate their time and talent to help nonprofits achieve more buzz. Get in contact with video producers in your area to help your nonprofit generate more awareness in your communities!

Talent like:

  • Photographer Ryan Hunt, who regularly shoots the biggest names in music and sports, and most recently helped share the mission of the nonprofit Compress & Shock Foundation.
  • Or Jamie Nabers, owner of BOSS Motion Pictures, who lent his talents to help the United Way of the Roanoke Valley spread the word about the importance of Covid vaccinations.
  • Or Bruce C. Bryan, owner of 5Points Creative, who provided marketing buzz for the Virginia Institute of Autism and, working with BUZZ cinematographer Dan Mirolli, for Local Environmental and Agricultural Project, aka LEAP.
  • And Click & Pledge Foundation’s Bethany Teague, who created compelling videos starring Blacksburg Rescue Squad, Renaissance Music Academy, Rescue Mission of Roanoke, and Salem Education Foundation.
“Women Who Care” just dropped on Buzz4Good Podcast 900 624 Michael Hemphill

“Women Who Care” just dropped on Buzz4Good Podcast

March is Women’s History Month and so on today’s Buzz4Good podcast we feature the work of two women’s philanthropies in Southwest Virginia – the Roanoke Women’s Foundation  and 100+ Women Who Care New River Valley.

Collectively, through what are known as giving circles, these two organizations are arguably having the biggest impact on nonprofits in the region.

One question in partcular we discuss: what is it about women that make them uniquely suited to creating and sustaining these funding organizations? Or put another way … men, where you at?

More buzz for BUZZ in Roanoke Times 713 447 Michael Hemphill

More buzz for BUZZ in Roanoke Times

Editorial: A public service project in Roanoke that benefits public services

The Roanoke Times | October 2, 2022

One perk of Michael Hemphill’s public service project is that he got to spend time with some of the best examples of “Man’s Best Friend” that anyone could ask for.

A former Roanoke Times reporter who also worked for several Roanoke Valley nonprofits, Hemphill is the founder and host of the locally produced television show “Buzz,” which airs 7 p.m. Wednesdays on Blue Ridge PBS and which you can also find on the YouTube channel Buzz4Good.

In the most recent “Buzz” episode, which premiered Sept. 21, Hemphill and his crew and associates paid visits to Saint Francis Service Dogs, the Hollins area nonprofit that trains service dogs to assist people with many different types of disabilities.

Alongside the interviews conducted with Executive Director Cabell Youell, board members and staff, the show spends time with a few of the 150 Virginians throughout the state that the dogs help.

One of those stops introduces the viewer to 37-year-old Felipe Aquino, who has cerebral palsy, his mother Lindsey and Felipe’s “best friend” Brutus.

Aquino and his mother describe how Brutus both helps in ways one might expect from a service dog — such as delivering money to the counter when Aquino makes a purchase — and in ways you might not think of, such as simply making people who approach Aquino more aware of his presence so they don’t blithely walk right into his wheelchair.

Hemphill also indulges in some canine-centric puns that are real, um, howlers, such has describing the show’s intentions to help make Saint Francis’ big annual fundraiser, Barks ’n’ Rec, “paws-itively fur-nomenal.”

“Buzz” means to be a version of the makeover show, in which a person gets a new fashion look or a house gets a remodel.

What Hemphill’s show does, though, is connect a local nonprofit with a local advertising company that provides a pro bono marketing boost. In this instance, “Buzz” brought in LeadPoint Digital marketing director Carrie Cousins (another Roanoke Times alum) to design a social media campaign.

Theater premieres, time travel

The next episode, No. 25, premieres Oct. 19 with a watch party at Roanoke’s Grandin Theatre, as has been the case with previous episodes. The next focus of “Buzz” will be West End Center for Youth on Patterson Avenue Southwest, which for more than four decades has run summer and after school programs for children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. The center is getting marketing assistance from 5Points Creative.

The “Buzz” concept grew out of Hemphill’s own nonprofit career — specifically, when he was the Science Museum of Western Virginia’s marketing manager. Museum staff came up with an idea for a 5k-ish fundraiser run with a couple of science-y twists. The “Time Traveler Pi-Miler” involved running 3.14 miles during the Daylight Saving Time change in November. The race began at 1:50 a.m., just before clocks were scheduled to “fall back,” so runners finished the race at an earlier time than they began.

“We didn’t really have any money at that time to promote the race.” The American Advertising Federation of Roanoke, a membership-based organization of the region’s advertising and marketing talent, had an annual event called “CreateAthon” in which members would come together and take on various nonprofit projects, executing them over the course of a 24-hour period. “There was a team that produced, over that 24 hour all-nighter, a 30 second TV commercial that got to be aired on one of the local TV stations. It was a cool commercial, and we ended up having 300 runners for our inaugural event at 1:50 a.m. on a frigid November morning.”

That experience shaped the “Buzz” conceit. Hemphill developed the show in partnership with the Roanoke advertising federation. The federation’s members are already regularly working pro bono with regional nonprofits. “They’re already doing this. My goal was to essentially give them a little buzz as well.”

Some more buzz for ‘Buzz’

There’s no limit to the show’s topics, Hemphill said. “Nonprofits literally do everything and so each episode can be a radically different story. You can go from the ballet to a homeless shelter to service animals to a food bank to brain injury services, and we’ve done all of those.”

Beyond the show’s advertising makeovers, “Buzz” works as an excellent promotional tool in its own right. As just one example, if you want to see a sweeping overview of the astonishing variety to be found in the Roanoke Valley’s art scene, you can’t really outdo the March 23 episode of “Buzz,” full of footage and interviews from the Roanoke Arts Pop! festival that took place inside the Taubman Museum of Art — the result of a partnership with the Roanoke Culture Endowment that will see “Buzz” producing a total of six episodes revolving around arts and culture organizations and events.

“Nonprofit organizations are absolutely vital and absolutely under appreciated, not only in our region, but in every region,” Hemphill said. Nonprofits are often told to operate more like a business, to find some way to be self sufficient, but that’s not a realistic expectation when you consider what nonprofits exist to do. “I’m sorry, there’s no money to be made in helping the homeless. There’s no money to be made in feeding a family that otherwise couldn’t afford to eat.” Nor can anyone build a business empire “teaching kids how to be exceptional ballet dancers or having a zoo on top of Mill Mountain.”

In some other countries, the government provides these services, funded by higher taxes. The U.S. has nonprofits supported by philanthropy, but those organizations often go unrecognized. “I’m passionate about nonprofits and want to feature them on this TV show, which hopefully elevates their status in the public’s eye,” Hemphill said. “So they get more buzz.”

“Buzz” is a terrific public service in its own right, and we’re more than happy to give this worthy project a bit more buzz ourselves.

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

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

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

Christmas Special featuring Nonprofits’ Holiday Music 900 599 Michael Hemphill

Christmas Special featuring Nonprofits’ Holiday Music

Merry Christmas! Instead of our usual show featuring marketing tips and tools for nonprofits, our Christmas Day “Buzz4Good!” on WFIR features recent musical performances by our region’s nonprofit community.

So in this sneak peek of our Christmas Day show, we share with you performances from:

  • Opera Roanoke
  • Blacksburg Children’s Chorale
  • Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir
  • Blacksburg United Methodist Church
  • Our Lady of Nazareth
  • Roanoke Catholic School
  • Patrick Henry High School

And tune in Christmas Day at 4 pm to WFIR for an additional, one time only broadcast of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.

I hope you enjoy our nonprofits’ sounds of the season as well as a wonderful Christmas, and that we all commit ourselves to being even more of a buzz4good in 2022.

Always buzzing,
Michael Hemphill
Creator of BUZZ