Tanya Ott

Tanya Ott is a part-time editor at WBHM and instructor for the University of Alabama's journalism department. She hosts a podcast on business strategy and emerging technologies and trains public radio newsrooms around the country. Over her 30+ year career, she has reported for Marketplace, NPR and other networks and worked at local stations in Florida, Colorado, Georgia and Alabama, including as WBHM's news director from 2002-2013.

Tri-State Water Wars: Atlanta

It's called "the economic engine of the South". Atlanta, Georgia's population has exploded in the last two decades. But with that growth come environmental problems... like where to get enough drinking water. Georgia, Florida and Alabama have been fighting over who gets how much water from rivers that flow through the states. And as Tanya Ott reports a decision in the federal lawsuit could effect communities across the country.

Birmingham Mayor on Trial

The mayor of Alabama's largest city goes on trial today on federal bribery charges. Birmingham mayor Larry Langford is accused of accepting cash, clothes and jewelry in exchange for steering millions of dollars in county bond deals to an investment banker.

Global Warming & National Parks

A new report warns that U.S. National Parks could be devastated by global warming. The report identifies 25 national parks, lakeshores, seashores and monuments most at risk from warming temperatures, rising sea levels and retreating snow.

Corruption in Alabama: What’s the Deal?

This week on WBHM we're exploring the culture of corruption in Alabama. Over the last several years, Birmingham and Jefferson County have experienced a tsunami of political corruption. From the HealthSouth accounting scandal to the convictions of several former county commissioners. And, of course, next month Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford goes on trial in a 101-count federal bribery and conspiracy case. Why does corruption seem to be such a problem in Alabama? What's being done to address it? Friday (9/25) at noon on WBHM we discuss all this and more during On The Line: Alabama Corruption - What's the Deal?

Corruption and Ethics: Impact Alabama

Today we conclude our series, "Corruption in Alabama: What's the Deal", with a look at what it means to be ethical. As director of The Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama, Stephen Black occasionally gets calls from companies asking if he'd come give a lecture on ethics. He says he has to explain to them that when he says "ethics" he usually means something different than what they're thinking.

Corruption: Who’s Watching?

This week on WBHM we're exploring the culture of corruption in Alabama. When it comes to rooting out shady deals, newspapers have historically been the most vigilant watchdogs. Think Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate. Or more recently, former Birmingham News reporter Brett Blackledge's coverage of the two year college scandal in Alabama. Blackledge won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.

Hurricane Tornadoes

Researchers at Georgia Tech say the size of a hurricane can predict the number of tornadoes it will spawn.

Wadley Waits

It's hard to find a one company town any more. But in rural east Alabama, there is a town where three-quarters of residents work at the same manufacturing plant. Or at least they did, until the plant closed down. WBHM's Tanya Ott reports.

Pelham’s New Newspaper

In July nearly a dozen U.S. newspapers folded. Most were in medium and large cities. While larger newspapers are hurting, many smaller community papers are surviving, and in some cases, thriving. This is the story of one Alabama town that's getting its first newspaper after more than a century without one.

Jefferson County Layoffs: Wes Gregory’s Story

News headlines are filled with stories about Jefferson County's budget crisis. But behind the public headlines, there are the personal stories of nearly a thousand county employees who've been laid off and find their lives turned upside down. Wes Gregory is one of them.

Birmingham: A Hub for Green Building

Green Building is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy right now. A lot of federal stimulus money is focused on weatherization and alternative energy. And James Smith believes Birmingham can be the sustainability hub of the Southeast. Smith is President and CEO of Green Building Focus. He's gathered internationally-recognized sustainability experts in Birmingham this week for a Green Building Conference.

On The Line: Jefferson County Budget Crisis

Jefferson County faces a massive budget shortfall. County leaders and state legislators are looking for solutions, but will they be long-term or just a bandaid? Join WBHM for our live call-in program "On The Line: Jeffco Budget Crisis" Friday at noon.

On The Line: Gay/Straight in Alabama

Today, June 26, WBHM is hosting 'On The Line: Gay/Straight in Alabama' from 12PM - 1PM. We invite you to call, e-mail, or tweet your thoughts on the topics affecting gay and lesbian life in Alabama.

Gay/Straight: Spirituality

For many gays and lesbians, coming out is an overwhelming experience. They face, family, friends, coworkers and sometimes the most daunting of all, their church. The message delivered from the pulpit leaves many at spiritual crossroads. Some feel obligated to be someone they're not. Others try to decide what part of their spirituality to keep and what to discard. Les Lovoy reports on how this faith journey affects gay men and women and their families.

Foreign Policy Priorities: A Local Perspective

What would make the world safer? What should America's foreign policy priorities be? They're not simple questions. They're meant to spark dialogue. And this week, that discussion comes to Birmingham.

Collins & Carns: Occupational Tax

Jefferson County officials are still waiting to hear whether they'll be allowed to spend occupational tax money while the legal battle against the tax winds its way through the courts. Earlier, a judge ruled the tax illegal. The county has appealed, saying if it loses the $75 million a year, the county will be financially devastated. WBHM's Tanya Ott talks with Commissioners Bettye Fine Collins and Jim Carns.

Collins & Carns: Jeffco Sewer Hearing

Jefferson County officials are scrambling to determine how they failed to bill St. Vincent's Hospital, UAB and others large facilities for nearly three-million dollars in sewer services. The problem came to light Monday in a federal court hearing over whether a receiver should take over management of the county's sewer system. WBHM's Tanya Ott talks with county commission president Bettye Fine Collins and commissioner Jim Carns.

New Economic Incentive Law

This week, Governor Bob Riley signed legislation that makes more types of businesses eligible for state financial help if they locate here. In the past, Alabama's economic incentive laws only covered manufacturing jobs. The new bill expands that to corporate headquarters, research and development centers, and alternative energy companies.

Birmingham’s Budget: Child Care Resources

Many Birmingham non-profit organizations are still reeling from the news they've been cut out of Mayor Larry Langford's proposed budget for 2010. Several high profile groups are taking a hit, including Child Care Resources, which trains child care providers and offers referral services and financial assistance to working parents looking for care.

Whitmire on Budget Woes and Kid One Transport

Birmingham's proposed 2010 operating budget is about $6 million dollars less than the current budget. It includes major cuts to some outside groups such as the downtown revitalization organization Operation New Birmingham and Child Care Resources. Mayor Larry Langford says times are tough and the cuts are necessary. But some of the groups being cut from the budget say they were given no warning.

Brunos Fallout: the Glenwood Pecans

The poor economy has dealt a serious blow to some Alabama nonprofit organizations. One group that serves children with autism and severe emotional disabilities is feeling the pain even more, thanks to the bankruptcy of Brunos supermarket.

Wilcox County Unemployment

When the economy turned sour, people started making comparisons to the Great Depression. But experts quickly noted it wasn't anything like the 1930's, when unemployment soared to 25%. But for one Alabama community, unemployment is that high. WBHM's Tanya Ott takes us to Wilcox County, where one in four people who want to work can't find a job.

RealtySouth Lawsuit

Alabama real estate professionals are scrambling this week, after a major court ruling against Birmingham-based RealtySouth. As WBHM's Tanya Ott reports, the lawsuit could affect 30,000 Alabamians and cost the company tens of millions of dollars.

Grocery Auction

Need another sign of the times? Head on down to Calera to the Cadle Auction House, where you might find more toilet paper and laundry soap than Waterford crystal and speed boats. WBHM's Tanya Ott reports.

The Economy & Nonprofits: A Conversation with Tim Delaney

Nonprofit organizations ranging from health care groups to after-school programs are hurting right now. Corporate and individual donations are down. Foundations are tightening their belts, and state and local governments are taking drastic cost cutting measures as well. All of this adds up to the very real possibility that thousands of nonprofit organizations may have to shut down.

WBHM Named Most Outstanding News Operation

WBHM-FM has won a total of eight Alabama Associated Press awards, including Most Outstanding Radio News Operation and Best Web Journalism in the state. For the third year in a row, the Alabama AP honored WBHM with the most awards of any radio station in the state.

Making Do: The McCoys’ Housing Dilemma

The economy continues to weaken and Moody's credit rating company reports nearly 10 million homeowners are having trouble making their mortgage payments. People who track the housing industry say another wave of foreclosures is on its way. All the while, some homeowners are treading water, trying to stay afloat. WBHM's Tanya Ott has one Hoover family's story.

On The Line: Making Do

The economy continues to dominates news headlines. Ten million homeowners are having trouble making their mortgage payments. People who track the housing industry say another wave of foreclosures is on its way. Alabama's bankruptcy rate is among the highest in the country. Gas prices have stabilized, but high food prices continue to strain family budgets. Tonight at 6:30 on WBHM we discuss all this and more during On The Line: Making Do .

Inside Phylogeography

'Comparative Phylogeography'. Sounds like scientific gobbledy-goop. But basically, it's a branch of biology that uses genetic information to look at the life histories of different animals. And Alabama is one of the richest places to do this kind of research, because there's such great biodiversity.

New Lead Laws Affect 2nd Hand Clothing Stores

New consumer safety rules go into effect next week, aimed at making children's products safer. After a flood of imported toys came ashore with high lead levels, Congress moved quickly last year to make children's products safer. Maybe too quickly. The new 'Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act' takes effect Tuesday and there are more questions than answers. WBHM's Tanya Ott reports.

Book Hill Pulls out of County Contract

The Washington DC lobbying firm that was to represent Jefferson County in its efforts to secure federal aid for sewer debt says it's turning down the contract. In a letter made public today, Book Hill Partners says the 'toxic political landscape' in Jefferson County would undermine the firm's ability to get political support for the county. WBHM's Tanya Ott spoke with partner Rob Housman.

Jim Carns on County’s Lobbying Contract

New details are emerging about the Jefferson County Commission's plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Washington D.C. lobbying firm Book Hill Partners. The commission approved the plan Tuesday in a meeting that commissioner Jim Carns describes as a cross between 'The Twilight Zone' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest'. Carns talked with WBHM's Tanya Ott about the meeting and new allegations of corruption.