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.

“Resilience” is Theme to Documentary, Music about Syrian Refugee Camp

Birmingham native, Dunya Habash, spent two weeks in a Syrian refuge camp in 2014. She was filming for her recently released documentary, Za’atari: Jordan’s Newest City about a settlement created following the Syrian civil war. A recent honors graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Habash tells WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli about this experience and how her own music helped tell the story.

BJCTA Cancels Bus Service to Fairfield Over Significant Back Payment

Birmingham City Council members want to restore bus service to Fairfield following a vote this week by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority to stop service to the area on June 1.

An Overview of First Day of Testimony in Hubbard Ethics Trial

Testimony in the trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard continues. We look at how arguments are taking shape and the strange similarities in how the prosecution and defense describe Hubbard to the jury.

Birmingham Revitalization: Feelings of Hope, Fear in Woodlawn

Woodlawn was a predominantly white neighborhood until it was integrated in the 1970s. After that, many whites fled, migrating over the mountain and Woodlawn became predominantly black. And many of them left too. The Woodlawn Foundation is trying to change that with projects like the Park at Wood Station, a 64-unit townhouse complex on First Ave. South.

Birmingham Central Library Elevators, Escalators Broken

The sign on the broken escalator says use the elevator. The sign on the broken elevator says take the stairs. This is what visitors and staff of the downtown library are currently dealing with.

New Mayor Council Act Leaves Pronounced Rift Among Birmingham City Leaders

Earlier this week, the Birmingham City Council narrowly reelected Johnathan Austin as council president. Steven Hoyt was elected the new president pro-tem. This shuffle was the result of changes to the Mayor Council Act, approved recently by the Alabama Legislature. This move is causing some new tensions among council members. To discuss this and other […]

Chief Justice Roy Moore Blaming Drag Queen for his Recent Troubles

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces removal from office for the second time in this career, a rumored plea deal involving House Speaker Mike Hubbard lights up social media and we talk about the “Alabamafication” of America. It’s the latest from Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for The Birmingham News and AL.com.

Bowing to Pressure, Oxford City Leaders Recall Transgender Bathroom Law

In a surprising move, the Oxford City Council rescinded an ordinance it recently passed that would’ve forced transgender people to use public restrooms that match their biological sex. The mayor hadn’t signed the order yet, which gave council members a chance to call it back, bowing to pressure from civil rights organizations.

Oxford City Council Recalls Controversial Transgender Bathroom Law

Today the Oxford City Council recalled a controversial ordinance that would’ve forced people to use public bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their biological sex. WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli was at the meeting and discusses it with WBHM Program Director Michael Krall. You can listen to their conversation above or read it below: Refresh our […]

Oxford Officials: Transgender Bathroom Law is About Public Safety

Oxford city leaders say public safety is what sparked the recent passage of an ordinance that forces transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding with their biological sex. But transgender advocates say the law is unjustifiable.

Lawmakers Pass Budget, Ask Questions Later

Lawmakers approve a General Fund budget that left an $85 million hole in the state’s Medicaid program and the head of the Alabama GOP feels compelled to defend the party. The latest from Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for The Birmingham News and AL.com.

Alabama City Passes Transgender Bathroom Law that Carries Jail Time

An east Alabama city wants to send people to jail for not using public restrooms corresponding with their biological sex. It’s the latest move in an ongoing battle over transgender rights in the United States. The city council of Oxford, just east of Birmingham, has passed a law preventing transgender residents and visitors from using public restrooms […]

Remembering April 27: From Devastation Comes New Purpose

One Alabama woman dove head first into the relief effort after the tornado outbreak in April 2011. Her group, Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa, took off overnight, organizing aid for displaced residents and other emergency responders. But while helping others pick up the pieces to their lives, her personal life was crumbling.

Investment in Alabama Doubled in 2015, Report Finds

A report out today from state officials shows Alabama attracted more than $7 billion in investments and added nearly 20,000 new jobs last year.

A Trip to Las Vegas Could Mean Trouble for Governor Bentley

There’s a new twist in the feud between Governor Robert Bentley and former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head, Spencer Collier; a trip to Las Vegas could put Bentley in hot water with campaign finance law and a look at the state’s lack of oversight on religious daycare centers. The latest from AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire.

Spencer Collier Suing Governor Robert Bentley

The former secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is suing Governor Robert Bentley and others for wrongful termination and defamation of character. Spencer Collier filed a suit today, April 19, against Bentley, his former top adviser Rebekah Mason, and current ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler. The suit includes Bentley’s 501c4 the Alabama Council for Excellent […]

Alabama Women Paid Significantly Less than Men

A new study finds that women in Alabama are paid significantly less than men.

AG Strange: New EPA Rule Would Hurt Alabama’s Racing Economy

Alabama is joining eight other states petitioning the federal government to drop a proposal banning the modification of street vehicles into off-road race cars. Attorney General Luther Strange announced he is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a proposed change to the Clean Air Act. The new rule would forbid the modification of […]

Evoking the “Goat Hill” Committee of the Alabama Legislature

A small delegation of Alabama lawmakers – led by a Republican Representative from Hartselle – announced plans to impeach Governor Robert Bentley, the Legislature overrides Bentley’s budget veto and the role the Legislature’s infamous “Goat Hill” committee will play in all of this. The latest from AL.dom’s Kyle Whitmire.

Sensory-Friendly Performances Open Theater World to People with Autism

People with autism often get uncomfortable in situations like live theater. Sudden loud noises and bright lights can cause distress. With one in 68 children being diagnosed with the condition, lots of Alabama families don’t see musicals or plays. One theater in Birmingham wants to change that by offering one of Alabama’s first “sensory-friendly” performances.

Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud, Files More False Refunds While Awaiting Sentencing

A Demopolis woman was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for filing more than $250,000 in false tax returns, and continued to break the law after pleading guilty last year. Eunice F. Plummer pleaded guilty in October to eight counts of filing false tax returns for other people and three counts of attempting to evade […]

Scandal Uncovers Bentley’s Involvement in Trial of Speaker Mike Hubbard

Following the eruption of a scandal involving Governor Robert Bentley and his now former top political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, the governor is refusing to step down, despite mounting pressure from Alabama lawmakers. And Bentley’s involvement in the ethics trial of House Speaker Mike Hubbard is made clear following disclosure by fired Alabama Law Enforcement […]

Alabama Joins Fight Against Obama’s Immigration Order

Alabama is joining 26 other states in filing a merits brief before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the Obama administration’s order granting amnesty to roughly four million undocumented immigrants.

New Precedent Overrules Antiquated Method for Valuing Currency in Theft of Property Offenses

Attorney General Luther Strange says the Alabama Supreme Court recently issued a precedent-setting decision regarding theft of property offenses.

Mother Angelica, EWTN Founder, Passed Away Easter Sunday

A note: The audio profile above was produced in January of this year, before Mother Angelica passed away.  The founding matriarch of a monastery turned global religious television network died on Easter Sunday at the age of 92. Mother Mary Angelica, or Mother Angelica as she’s known, built the Eternal Word Television Network in Birmingham, […]

Fairfield Considers Cutting Police Department to Save Money

The Fairfield City Council recently made an unconventional move: they voted to get rid of their police department in an effort to save money. But some city leaders say it’s a shortsighted response to a big budget problem.

Scandal Erupts Between Alabama’s Governor and Former Top Cop

Alabama’s top law enforcement officer, Spencer Collier, is fired following statements he made about an alleged affair between Governor Robert Bentley and a top adviser, Rebekah Mason. For more, we turn to AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire. Following Spencer Colliers press conference, Governor Robert Bentley held his own saying he did not have a physical relationship with Rebekah Mason. […]

New Bill Would Make Birmingham Civil Rights District a National Park

Federal and state leaders from Alabama announced a bill that would designate Birmingham’s Historic Civil Rights District as a National Park.

A Day in the Life of a Birmingham Walking Beat Cop

Homicide rates are on the rise across the country. In Birmingham, the city finished 2015 with a dramatic 55 percent increase. In response, law enforcement is stepping up efforts to combat violent crime. One key element is to add more face-to-face engagement between police and the community through old fashioned walking beats.

UAB Minimum Wage Increase Goes Into Effect This Weekend

Alabama’s largest employer is increasing its minimum wage to $11 an hour, officials say. The decision was made before a contentious minimum wage fight between city and state lawmakers.

The Rising Cost of Helping the Homeless in Alabama

Life is difficult without identification. For homeless people, not having it can make life even more challenging. There are organizations that help homeless people get state-issued IDs, but cost increases are hurting their efforts. Hundreds pack into Boutwell Auditorium for Project Homeless Connect, an event that brings together several community organizations that provide free services […]

Payday Loan Bill Alive, But For How Long?

A public meeting was held in Montgomery Wednesday, March 9, to discuss legislation that would affect payday loans, a U.S. lawmaker from Alabama is chosen to advise Republican front-runner Donald Trump on national security issues and we say goodbye to a beloved, satirical social media entity. All that in this week’s conversation with Kyle Whitmire, […]