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.

100 Year-Old Mural in Bessemer Gets a Makeover

When the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was restored in the 1980s and 90s, people were awe struck by the transformation. Vibrant colors and details that had been hidden for centuries could be seen once again. At the Bright Star in Bessemer, which bills itself as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Alabama, the staff is experiencing similar feelings as the eatery’s more than 100 year-old mural slowly gets a makeover.

Alabama IRS Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Taxpayers Identities

An Alabama woman has pleaded guilty to identity theft and fraud in a tax scheme.

Alabama Actress Keeps Fannie Lou Hamer’s “Little Light” Shining

“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” ~Fannie Lou Hamer~ Actress and Alabama native Billie Jean Young has has done something not many have; she’s performed the same show more than 800 times on four continents. Her one-woman tribute tells the story of a Mississippi sharecropper turned civil rights activist, whose courage […]

Bentley’s “Great State” Plan Lacks Funding Details

The Alabama Legislature is back to work and Governor Robert Bentley announced his Great State 2019 Plan at his State of the State address last night. AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire discusses where funding for this plan is going to come from.

Alabama Ranks High in Nation for Number of Home Fire Deaths

Officials from an emergency response agency say Alabama ranks high among states for the number of home fires and deaths. The American Red Cross of Alabama reported that, just in January, 2016, they responded to 181 home fires from which 18 people have died. A total of 21 people have died from home fires so […]

Streamlining Emergency Response in Area Schools

Most Alabamians remember “snowmageddon.” Two years ago today, January 28, this winter anomaly crippled much of the state, stranding hundreds of students in schools and even on buses overnight. That got children’s advocates thinking about better ways to respond to emergencies including those with the Children’s Policy Council of Jefferson County.

Alabama Eligible for Federal Disaster Relief Following Storms

Alabama is eligible for federal aid to assist in repairing damages caused by severe storms that moved through the state late last year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid is available to Alabama as a supplement to state recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding […]

UAB Athletics Hits Another Fundraising Milestone

UAB Athletics announced yesterday that they exceeded a second crucial fundraising mark in the Finish the Drive campaign.

Mother Angelica and the Eternal Word Television Network

Roman Catholics around the globe know the name Mother Angelica. She’s the founding matriarch of a small monastery in Irondale that grew into one of the largest religious media networks in the world, spanning 145 countries.

Madison Officer Acquitted of Excessive Force Charges

A federal judge in Alabama has thrown out a case of an officer accused of using excessive force against an elderly Indian man. This comes as prosecutors were considering a third trial. U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala granted a motion of acquittal Wednesday in the case of Madison police officer Eric Parker. Parker was accused […]

Governor Bentley Addresses Suing Feds Over Refugees

Governor Robert Bentley announced Thursday that he filed a lawsuit against the federal government alleging they violated the Refugee Act of 1980. Bentley held a press conference about this and WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli was there. She talked to WBHM’s Rachel Lindley about what the governor had to say.

Alabama Sues Federal Government Over Refugee Resettlement Program

Alabama has become the second state to sue the U.S. government over refugee resettlement, accusing the Obama administration of failing to consult with states on placement of those who have fled their home countries.

Death at Building Trades Towers: Southside Apartment Building’s Troubled Past

The Birmingham Building Trades Towers Southside is still vacant after a fire forced the elderly residents, most of the poor, from their homes in October. Since this incident, Al.com’s Amy Yurkanin has uncovered disturbing information about the property, past and current tenants and its elusive owner who lives out of state.

Alabama Chief Justice Orders Stop to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore, issues an order to all probate judges regarding the state’s law on same-sex marriage, and Alabama lawmakers and community leaders address issues of gun rights in the wake of President Barack Obama’s executive order that expands background checks for gun buyers. More on this from Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for […]

Could Long-Time U.S. Senator Richard Shelby be Dethroned in 2016?

Alabama is bracing itself for a busy election cycle; not only for the presidential race and the new SEC Primary March 1, but also for a Congressional seat that’s up for grabs in Alabama in 2016. And, a recent report from a public policy research group shows the state is still struggling to bring in […]

Birmingham City Council Back to Business as Usual After Bell-Lundy Altercation

Following last week’s fight between Mayor William Bell and Councilman Marcus Lundy, it was business as usual today in the chambers of the Birmingham City Council.

Alabama Could See Tornadoes, Record-Breaking Christmas High Temps

Forecasters say a heat wave that could deliver the warmest Christmas ever recorded to cities across the South may also fuel tornadoes and storms featuring golf ball-sized hail and damaging winds of up to 70 mph.

JefCo to Receive Federal Grant to Improve Prosecution of Sexual Assault

Jefferson County will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to improve how the justice system handles sexual assault cases, announced today U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls, Sheriff Mike Hale and Crisis Center Executive Director Meg McGlamery. The county is one of just seven […]

Former Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Convicted of Sexual Exploitation

A former Bibb County deputy sheriff has been convicted on six criminal charges stemming from allegations that he sexually exploited women he encountered during traffic stops. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced the conviction of Ervin Heard today Heard, 44, of Centreville, was found guilty on December 17, 2015, of charges of custodial sexual misconduct, […]

Museum Exhibit Tells Spiritual Story of African Slaves in Haiti

A new exhibit opening at the Birmingham Museum of Art shows the marriage of African spirituality and Western traditions. The exhibit is called Haitian Flags and consists of ceremonial tapestries used by people of the Vodou faith. Vodou is still practiced on Haiti today. WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli spoke to curator Emily Hanna at the museum to learn more.

Bell Withdraws Complaint Against Lundy

Birmingham Mayor William Bell has withdrawn his complaint against City Councilman Marcus Lundy after a fight at city hall left both men hospitalized with minor injuries. In a statement Wednesday evening Bell says he is withdrawing his complaint against the councilman for “the good of the city.” A warrant had been issued for Lundy’s arrest on an assault charge.

Fight at City Hall Not Craziest Thing to Happen in Alabama

A fight broke out at Birmingham City Hall between the mayor and a council member, Alabama is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation for closure of driver license offices and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) prepares for active shooter scenarios. The latest conversation with Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for The Birmingham […]

JeffCo Residents Left Paying Bill on Billion Dollar Utility Scandal

Another Alabama lawmaker uses social media as a political podium, this time encouraging his followers to buy more guns, a settlement regarding a major banking institution may have a lasting and negative impact on Jefferson County residents and is Kyle Whitmire the Archie Bunker of the new millennium? The answer in this week’s conversation with […]

Protesters Show Solidarity for Hunger-Striking Etowah County Detainees

Protesters in Birmingham today clanged forks and spoons against empty plates and marched in a show of solidarity for the 40 detainees currently on a hunger strike at a U.S. Immigration and Customs detention center in Etowah County.

Birmingham LGBTQ Community Leader Honored by White House

Steven Romeo is founder of the Change Project here in Birmingham. It highlights the lives of LGBTQ people in Alabama and other areas of the South. Recently, Romeo received the White House “Champions of Change” recognition, given to just a handful of LGBT community leaders in the U.S. He stopped by to talk to WBHM […]

More than a Quarter of Alabama’s Children Live in Poverty, Report Finds

A new study shows that more than 26% of Alabama’s children are living at or below the poverty level. The 2015 Kids Count Data Book released this week by VOICES for Alabama’s Children provides a snapshot of well-being across several indicators including education, health and safety. “Well I think any time you’re talking about the […]

Kyle Whitmire: Donald Trump, Alan Harper and “Safe Spaces” on College Campuses

An Alabama state legislator asks constituents on Facebook to avoid shopping at stores that aren’t owned by “God-fearing Christians;” College students around the country are demanding their schools provide “safe spaces,” on campus and Alabama’s fascination with Donald Trump. A look at these issues in this week’s conversation with Kyle Whitmire.

NPR’s Michel Martin on the Montgomery Bus Boycott 60 Years Later

2015 has been a year of racial turmoil in America. The deaths of African-Americans by police ignited protests and riots, and the killing of nine worshippers at a church in South Carolina sparked national debate about the polarizing representation of the Confederate flag. These events reignited discussions about civil rights in the U.S., 60 years […]

Kyle Whitmire: Gov. Bentley and Syrian Refugees

Governor Robert Bentley orders state agencies to turn away Syrian refugees in Alabama, but does he have the authority to do this? WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli talks with Kyle Whitmire, state political colmnist for the The Birmingham News and AL.com.

Condoleezza Rice, Gov. Bentley and Others Welcome Japanese Business Leaders to Birmingham

Japanese business leaders met Monday at the historic Alabama Theater in Birmingham with delegates from a handful of southern states for a conference aimed at strengthening cultural ties and expanding commercial opportunities.

Long Wait to Return Home for Displaced Seniors

Eighty, mostly elderly, residents are still displaced almost three weeks after a fire forced them from their homes in an apartment building on Birmingham’s south side. City officials say the fire was contained to just two units, but damaged much of the building and it’s unclear how long repairs will take. WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli reports on the long road that lies ahead for these seniors.