WBHM’s Entry for Radio Station of the Year

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For us, 2019 was quite the banner year.

We became the top local news and talk station in Birmingham, topping iHeartMedia’s WERC and Cumulus’ WZRR. Source, according to Nielsen spring data.

We racked up 22 journalism awards last year, including eight Alabama Associated Press 1st Place awards.

We collected more than $30,000 in local grant revenue for the Alabama Reading Service, a WBHM program that has served the area’s blind and print-impaired community since 1978. We’re expanding the reading service to better serve a digital audience.

We sponsored many cultural events around Birmingham, including the Magic City Art Connection, the Crisis Center’s annual Bocce Bash, Moss Rock Festival, and the Alabama Theatre’s Summer Film Series.

We hosted a number of student groups in the community. At-risk students with Open Eyes Birmingham got a glimpse into what it’s like to be a journalist through hands-on activities at our station. We also work with students through the Birmingham Education Foundation.

And we’re committed to serving those less fortunate. For 25 years, we’ve collected food and toiletries during the holidays for Greater Birmingham Ministries, a multi-faith, multi-racial organization that provides emergency services for people in need.

WBHM was #6 on UAB’s 50th anniversary list of 50 ways the university has changed Birmingham and the world. UAB, which holds our broadcast license, is a game-changer for our region, and so is WBHM.

Our programs get people talking — and listening — to one another. Sixty Alabamians participated in One Small Step, a program that brought together people from opposite sides of the political spectrum to bridge the divide through honest, thoughtful conversation. In the end, participants realize we have much more in common than we realize. This collaboration with StoryCorps, a nonprofit whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans, was a terrific way to engage with our community. The response was so overwhelmingly positive, we had people on a waiting list to talk with each other.

We hosted two live events as part of our series The Big Q, examining tough questions in our community. We held our first when a video went viral featuring Hoover-area students using racial slurs. We gathered young people and educators to discuss how they view race in schools, how they talk about it, whether they talk about it, and what conversations young people have at home about race. Audience members asked questions and offered their thoughts, both at the event and online in real time.

Our second Big Q featured a panel of young conservatives. We asked them what issues are most important to them, what motivates them to get to the polls, and what they’re looking for in an elected leader. We also talked with them about how they differ from their parents and older conservatives in general. It was a very rich and insightful conversation, and our audience enjoying chiming in with their thoughts.

Finally, our public service and engagement extends far beyond our journalism. We not only report on our community, we’re a part of it. Our staff members are actively engaged with a number of boards and organizations. These include:

  • The Crisis Center
  • Live HealthSmart Alabama 2030
  • Leadership Birmingham
  • Leadership Alabama
  • The Women’s Network
  • National Journalism Advisory Board
  • Kiwanis Club of Birmingham
  • Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations 
  • Eastern Regional Public Media 

At WBHM, public service is core to our mission both through our journalism and our work in the community. You’ll find this statement attached as a Word doc including our station logo. At the top of this post, there’s an audio montage containing excerpts from some of our live events and promos highlighting  our work in public service. This entry also includes a statement of support from J.W. Carpenter, executive director of the Birmingham Education Foundation.

Thanks for considering WBHM for Radio Station of the Year!