Esther Ciammachilli


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.

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.

US Attorney General Lynch Gives Final Speech in Birmingham

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke to a packed congregation at the 16th St. Baptist Church yesterday to commemorate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Lynch says the city’s past and King’s work have made Birmingham a beacon for civil rights in the United States.

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions and a Look at Civil Rights

Jeff Sessions’ civil rights track record is on trial and is likely to remain a topic of conversation until his confirmation hearing. Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper Weld discusses a little about how civil rights actually work.

Musician James Mullis: An Old Soul with a Millennial’s Heart

Birmingham musician James Mullis offers his unique blend of blues, folk and Americana.

Proposed Development at CrossPlex Causing Controversy

If you build it, they will come. That’s one reason the Birmingham City Council approved the $3.7 million for infrastructure improvement at the CrossPlex in Five Points West. The project includes new roads and sidewalks around the 38-acre property.

Journalism Under Fire After Presidential Election

Journalism is operating in a brave, new world following this past presidential election. Issues surrounding “fake news,” far-right and far-left media websites and the role social media plays in disseminating news stories are all factors in this change. This leaves journalists and major news outlets like the New York Times, CNN and even NPR scrambling […]

The Queer Library: A New Home for LGBT Literature

The brainchild of Change Project founder Steven Romeo, every book is written by an LGBT author or contains LGBT content.

Colonial Pipeline’s Shocking Safety History

Colonial Pipeline has a shocking history of what federal regulators call “significant incidents.” Its track record for safety is far worse than some other pipeline companies in the South. Colonial is currently under federal investigation following the gas leak and subsequent explosion that killed two people near Helena.

“Rainbow Viaduct” Will Be Saved

The 21st Bridge, also known as the “Rainbow Viaduct” is included in a major renovation project headed by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The future of the viaduct has been an issue of contention among ALDOT, Birmingham city officials and historic preservation groups. ALDOT recently made a critical decision that will greatly affect the bridge project. Here to talk about that and other news is Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper Weld.

TopGolf Complex Coming Soon to Uptown

The Birmingham City Council this week cleared the way for construction of a proposed 65,000 square-foot Topgolf complex in Uptown. The council also approved a $1.5 million incentive package to be spread out over the next eight years.

First Rain After Drought is Both Good and Bad

Groups that monitor Alabama’s waterways say there are some drawbacks and are warning of potential health risks found in and around rivers and streams.

Alabama Cattle Ranchers Hit Hard by Drought

After months of warm, dry weather, it did finally rain this week. But a few days of precipitation won’t erase months of drought. The lack of rainfall has crippled the state’s $2 billion cattle industry. The drought has forced ranchers to buy hay from out-of-state and if the dry weather persists this winter, things could get a lot worse for farmers and their herds.

Anxiety and Fear: Birmingham Muslims React to Election of Donald Trump

When Donald Trump was on the campaign trail, he made a promise to “make America great again.” Part of that plan involves a complete and total ban on Muslim immigrants trying to enter the United States. But what about the Muslims that already live in the U.S? Many say they’re concerned for their own safety […]

Jeff Co Death Sentence Numbers One of Highest in Nation, Report Finds

Jefferson County has one of the highest rates of capital punishment in the nation, according to a report released last month by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. The report found that the county is one of only 16 in the nation to hand down five or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015. We […]

Tuscaloosa Teacher Investigated After Pro-Trump Image in Class

A Tuscaloosa high school teacher is under investigation after projecting a pro-Donald Trump image in one of his classes.

KKK Literature Appears in Birmingham Neighborhood After Election

Residents in Southside discovered pamphlets from the Ku Klux Klan asking for Alabamians to “rise up” and join the organization.

Calls for Citizen Poll Monitors Could Lead to Voter Discrimination in Alabama

This coming Election Day in Alabama a record 3.3 million people are registered and waiting to vote. It’s the climax to what has been a long and contentious presidential campaign season. Claims of a possible voter fraud and calls for citizen poll watchers has government agencies and civil rights groups in Alabama taking precautions.

Lawsuit Language Sparks Debate at Birmingham City Council Meeting

A $2.5 million lawsuit payout signed by Birmingham Mayor William Bell sparked heated debate during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Members of the Birmingham City Council questioned whether the mayor has the authority to approve expenditures that large without seeking council consent. We talk about this with Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper Weld. Patterson […]

One Dead, Several Injured After Gas Pipe Explodes in Shelby County

Colonial Pipeline owns and operates the line located off Grey Hill Road near McCalla which funnels gas to millions of people. It has since been shut down.

Big Push to Make AL Civil Rights Monuments National Parks

A big push is underway to designate several Alabama civil rights locations as national parks. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Mayor William Bell joined Jewell for a tour of Birmingham's civil rights district.

Protecting Yourself from a Cyber Attack

A cyber attack known as a distributed denial of service or DDoS took out several website-based companies last Friday. Users of Twitter, Netflix and the Birmingham News’ were denied access to these sites for several hours. Nick Patterson, from the weekly newspaper Weld, looks at how this attack affects you and what you can do to prevent being a victim of this in the future.

Attorney: Suspension is Not Removal; Roy Moore Still Chief Justice

Attorneys for Roy Moore say he’s technically still Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, despite being suspended for the remainder of his term without pay. Mat Staver is with Liberty Counsel, the group representing Moore. He says Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart acted unilaterally when she removed Moore’s name from the court’s letterhead and […]

AL Climatologists: Current Drought Once in a Lifetime Phenomenon

State climatologists say the ongoing drought in some areas of Alabama is a phenomenon seen roughly once in a lifetime. The U.S. Drought Monitor rates stricken areas on a scale of D1 to D4, four being areas of exceptional drought. Northeast and north-central Alabama including Jefferson County are at a D3 or above. “For the […]

Asylum Seeking Detainees in AL Claiming Civil Rights Violations

A new report comprised by several immigration advocacy groups finds that Habeus Corpus is routinely denied for detainees being held at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement complex in Gadsden. The ICE facility at the Etowah County Detention Center houses hundreds of detainees seeking asylum in the U.S. and Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper […]

Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Nick Patterson from the weekly newspaper Weld reports on an effort to stop the cycle of abuse and domestic violence in Birmingham and north-central Alabama.