Esther Ciammachilli

Esther Ciammachilli

Host/Reporter



If you’re reading this then you now know how to spell Esther’s last name. That's the most asked question she’s received since she joined WBHM in 2015. (It's Italian​, if you're wondering.)

Esther came to Birmingham from Reno Public Radio in Reno, Nevada, where she was the host of All Things Considered and a reporter, but wore many other hats. She spent a decade as a singer/actress in Las Vegas before returning to school to get her degree. As she tells it, she got tired of singing for her supper. She’s a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, with no position on Alabama football.

You can hear Esther in the afternoons on WBHM as the host of All Things Considered, as well as in her stories about the people and places around Birmingham and North Central Alabama. Her background in the arts fuels her passion for arts and culture stories, but she doesn't shy away from hard news issues.

When she’s not on the airwaves at WBHM, Esther enjoys spending time with her family, eating at Alabama’s delicious restaurants, and hiking or going to the gym to work it all off.

The Great Gun Rights Divide in Alabama

A look at gun rights and ownership in Alabama following the death of a bill in the 2017 legislative session that would’ve made the concealed carry permit optional.

Writer Clair McLafferty on Cocktails and the Art of Bartending

Cocktail writer Clair McLafferty talks to WBHM about her new book, The Classic and Craft Cocktail Recipe Book, and about what makes a person a good bartender.

Tank and the Bangas, NPR’s Tiny Desk Winners, Coming to Birmingham

Tank and the Bangas won NPR’s Tiny Desk contest. The New Orleans-based group was chosen unanimously by judges from roughly 6,000 entries. The group is bringing their spirited, high-energy show to Birmingham Saturday and they spoke to WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli ahead of their gig.

First Public Charter School Approved for Birmingham

The Alabama Public Charter School Commission voted this month to approve a request to open STAR Academy, which will be the state’s first public charter school and will open in Birmingham. Charter schools are a contentious subject, with both opponents and supporters both citing statistics supporting their opinions.

The Heritage Band: Keeping Birmingham’s Big Band Spirit Alive

The Heritage Band was founded in 1976 by late saxophonist J.L. Lowe. The group is keeping the big band spirit alive in Birmingham, long after the days of the Duke Ellington-style big bands have disappeared.

Alabama’s Exotic Pet Laws Could Soon Change

Nick Patterson, editor of Weld, discusses how Alabama lawmakers are considering changing the state’s regulations on exotic pet ownership.

Income Inequality in Birmingham, Alabama

Officials say there are three main obstacles keeping people in Birmingham and Alabama from achieving prosperity: education, poverty and crime. These barriers also contribute to the growing wage gap. WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli talks about this with Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper Weld.

House Concerts: An Intimate Way to Enjoy Live Music

Imagine attending a concert in the comfort of your home surrounded by dozens of friends both old and new. That’s what it’s like hosting a house concert. This tradition has been around for decades and is a popular way to enjoy music in an intimate setting.

What’s Next in Heated Race to Fill Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Post

Esther Ciammachilli talks about what’s next in this saga with Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper Weld.

Advocates Push for Autism Therapy Coverage

The Alabama House of Representatives will vote April 20 on a bill that would require insurance companies cover autism therapy. Alabama is one of just five states that doesn’t offer health care coverage for autism.

Birmingham Board of Ed Members Protest Superintendent Candidates

Members gathered in protest recently after the five finalists for the superintendent position were announced. Among their concerns are the process by which the finalists were chosen and the finalists themselves.

Kay Ivey Moves From Lieutenant To Governor 

The 72-year-old Ivey held the seat of Lieutenant Governor since 2010; the first Republican woman to hold the office. Ivey is only the second woman to be governor in Alabama.

Bills Could Make it Harder for Gay Couples to Adopt

The pending bills currently before the Alabama Legislature would give faith-based adoption agencies the right to turn away couples they believe conflict with their religious beliefs.

BJCTA’s New Fleet Offers Cheap Downtown-to-Southside Route

The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority announced last week its new Magic City Connector fleet of buses. BJCTA says the fleet will connect Downtown with Southside and should make public transportation along the 20th St. corridor a lot smoother.

Potential Cuts to EPA Funding Threaten Alabama’s Natural Resources

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for huge cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration wants to reduce EPA funding from about $8 billion to about $5 billion. The budget would also slash the agency’s workforce by about 20 percent.

The Truth About Cats and Dogs from Allison Black Cornelius

Allison Black Cornelius has been helping others her entire adult life. She spearheaded the passage of Megan’s Law, the country’s first sex offender registry. She later founded a consulting company that helps non-profits. Now she heads the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

Attorney Advertising is Big Business in Alabama

It seems you can’t turn a corner in Alabama without seeing a billboard advertising for a personal injury lawyer. The practice has proven to be a lucrative business builder, but it also carries a professional stigma.

Suspected Bird Flu Poses No Risk to Food Supply, Officials Say

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Department issued a stop movement order on select poultry after three suspected cases of bird flu were discovered recently.

Jefferson County School Leaders Relieved After School Taxes Renewed

Education officials in Jefferson County are breathing a sigh of relief after voters approved the renewal of a property tax Tuesday that will provide about $100 million dollars for the county’s 12 public education systems.

Life After Hate: Leaving the White Supremacist Movement

Angela King was a neo-Nazi in her home state of Florida for eight years. After the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, King started to question how far she was willing to go for her white supremacist beliefs. She tried to leave the group, but failed.

Congressman Gary Palmer Holds Town Hall Despite Recent Protests

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer fielded questions from constituents at a town hall in Hoover Saturday. Palmer’s visit follows a slew of contentious public meetings involving members of Congress and their constituents. Residents flooded the entrance to Hoover City Hall waiting to meet with Palmer. Some members of Congress are refusing to hold town halls after […]

Birmingham Immigrant Communities on Edge Following Crackdown

Raids in search of undocumented immigrants have yet to take place in Alabama, but many immigrant communities in the state fear it’s only a matter of time.

Morale Improved at Tutwiler After Reforms

Following an investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice that found inmates at Tutwiler were victims of rampant sexual assault and physical abuse. The DOJ investigation also found the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) failed to hold staff accountable. ADOC was forced to overhaul operations and change administration at Tutwiler. Part of the reforms involved hiring staff, like Williams to ensure these changes are being made.

The Green Book and the Black-Jewish Relationship During Segregation

The Green Book has been described as the Bible for black travelers in the mid-20th century. It featured black-friendly businesses like motels and restaurants where travelers could rest on long road trips. The book’s publisher actually took the idea from a similar book used by Jews.

Lawsuits Abound at Birmingham City Hall

A proverbial cat was let out of a proverbial bag at this week’s Birmingham City Council meeting.

Rise in Anti-Minority Violence Appears Tied to Current Political Climate

There’s been a dramatic rise in hate-related crimes and anti-minority violence in the last year. The Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham was evacuated on Jan. 9 following a bomb threat. That incident turned out to be one of dozens of bomb threats at Jewish community centers around the country that day. Groups that track […]

“Sanctuary City” Designation Could be Wishful Thinking for Birmingham City Officials

The Birmingham City Council and other officials want to make Birmingham a sanctuary city. At a meeting this week, the council unanimously approved a resolution granting the designation, which has strong support from residents. Not long after the council’s vote, however, Governor Robert Bentley shot the move down.

New Report finds Black Veterans Targeted for Lynching in the South

The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative is building a memorial to lynching victims. The group estimates more than 4,000 African-Americans were lynched in the South between 1877-1950. Among those targeted were black veterans. These men returned from war abroad having experienced something unfamiliar to them, being treated with dignity and respect; something they didn’t receive at home in the U.S. Many black veterans challenged the racial hierarchy of the South and were seen as threats to white supremacy.

Noise Music and Birmingham’s Growing Local Music Scene

When it comes to live, local music, Birmingham is still in it’s infancy. From The Spring Street Firehouse, Saturn and WorkPlay have emerged as creative spaces where the city’s many talented, local artists can perform and make a name for themselves.

Attorney General: Alabama Death Penalty Law “Constitutional”

The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to hear arguments in a case involving Alabama’s death penalty sentencing scheme.

Birmingham Women’s March Draws Massive Crowd

Weather forecasters warned of severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes, but even that wasn’t enough to keep hundreds from gathering at Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham for the Women’s March.

Birmingham: A Community that Speaks for the Trees

As you travel around Birmingham, you might notice signs that billing it as “Tree City USA.” The city was given the designation because of its sprawling urban forest. The term urban forest refers to the tree-top landscape seen in some major cities, especially ones in the South. However, the issue is how to balance the vitality and existence of Birmingham’s trees with the city’s planned renaissance and expansion.