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.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Corruption in Alabama?

Alabama has a corruption problem. Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard is currently awaiting sentencing for 12 felony ethics convictions, Chief Justice Roy Moore is scheduled to go to trial for allegedly violating judicial ethics and Governor Robert Bentley is being investigated for possible impeachment. So, is there a way to solve the state’s corruption problem?

Thousands in Alabama Eligible for Compensation from Volkswagen

Thousands of Alabama residents may be eligible for compensation from Volkswagen following a settlement over emissions fraud.

Alabama Families Living in Poverty Hit Hard by Welfare Reform

The number of families living in poverty in Alabama has risen, but the number of families currently receiving TANF funding has dropped.

Spencer Collier “Anxious” to Testify Against Gov. Bentley in Potential Impeachment Trial

An investigation is underway to determine whether Governor Robert Bentley should be impeached, and a discussion about Alabama real estate mogul Franklin Haney and his potential influence on state politics. The latest from’s Kyle Whitmire.

Former Birmingham CEO Convicted on 98 Counts of Fraud

A federal jury in Birmingham convicted the former CEO of two non-profit health clinics for the poor and homeless on 98 counts including conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering.

Alabama AG Warns Colleagues About Abusing Subpoena Power in Climate Change Debate

In a letter to colleagues, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is warning against abusing subpoena power in the debate over climate change. Strange is the lead author on the letter that includes 12 other Attorneys General. The letter says several AGs are uniting to fight climate change by launching an investigation into whether fossil fuel […]

Orlando Shooting Shakes Birmingham LGBT Community

Sunday was Birmingham's Pride celebration, in honor of National Pride month. It's a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies come together to honor the LGBT community. That event was marred by what is now known as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Early Sunday morning a man entered a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and began shooting. At least 49 people are dead and dozens more injured. WBHM's Esther Ciammachili spoke with Eva Walton Kendrick of the Human Rights Campaign of Alabama, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Kendrick says this tragedy has shaken the LGBT community in Birmingham.

Birmingham’s Perceived Growth: What’s Real and What’s Not

The University of Alabama at Birmingham wants to expand its role as a statewide player in healthcare through the passage of the University Authority Act approved this spring by the Alabama Legislature. It allows the school's medical branch to join forces with other healthcare facilities around the state - especially in rural Alabama.

“Friendship” Playing Big Role in Hubbard Trial

The trial of House Speaker Mike Hubbard has brought to light some curious aspects of Alabama ethics law, most notably a provision regarding friendship. Hubbard took the stand in his own defense this week and testified about how he emailed so-called "friends" for business opportunities and advice when he was laid off in 2011.

“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

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

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’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 […]

WBHM Supporter Robert Sturdivant: “I LOVE the Fund Drive!”

Robert Sturdivant, pastor of student ministries at Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood, defies conventional wisdom when it comes to WBHM’s on air fundraiser. “I love the fund drive!” Sturdivant exclaims. Yes, that’s right. Sturdivant says he enjoys the pledge drive. A lot. “I love being able to hear people in our community share about why […]

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 […]