Arts and Culture

“The Faith of Christopher Hitchens”

Christopher Hitchens and Larry Taunton seem unlikely candidates to be friends. Hitchens was a writer and avowed atheist who died of esophageal cancer in 2011. Taunton is the founder of the Birmingham-based Fixed Point Foundation. It’s an evangelical Christian organization that has sponsored debates with prominent atheists. It’s through this work the two met and became friends. Larry Taunton is out with a book called “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist”

Commentary: Not Easy to Find “Home” with Birmingham’s Redlining History

In the 1930’s, the Federal Housing Authority practiced "redlining," denying services to people in certain areas based on racial or ethnic makeup. This mostly discriminated against black, inner city neighborhoods. In Alabama, Birmingham was no exception. The echoes of redlining can still be heard today, especially when young black families start house shopping. In this commentary, young adult author and WBHM staffer Randi Revill shares her thoughts on searching for home among Birmingham’s silent but ongoing racial division. Revill's first novel, "Into White," comes out this Fall.

A Tour of Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell

Alabama has a rich folk history, full of songs, stories and primitive arts and crafts. For years, the Alabama Folk School has brought them to life through a year-round teaching program at Camp McDowell, the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. The Alabama Folk School recently appointed a new director, and Camp McDowell itself has seen some major changes and renovations in the past year.

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’s New Spring 2016 Tote Bag, Designed by Beth Conklin

Birmingham artist Beth Conklin’s design is featured on the tote bag for the Spring 2016 Fund Drive. Hear Conklin describe the design and encourage you to support WBHM. The tote bag is available as a thank-you gift beginning at $15/month as a sustaining member or a one-time gift of $180. Make your gift HERE.  

Kim Graham: Spring 2016 Pint Glass

Birmingham artists Kim Graham Smith’s design is featured on the pint glass for the Spring 2016 Fund Drive. Hear Smith describe the design and encourage you to support WBHM. The pint glass is available as a thank-you gift beginning at $7.50/month as a sustaining member or a one-time give of $90. Make your gift HERE. […]


Arc Stories: April 2016 Edition

Stories about serving, giving and the greater community.  A young man commits himself to giving back to his community by serving the less fortunate; a father convinces his kids to give away all their Christmas presents to a needy family; and one man benefits from the generosity of strangers in a very cool way. (Originally […]

Rotary Trail Opens in Downtown “Magic City”

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate the opening ceremonies of Rotary Trail along 1st Avenue South in downtown Birmingham. While sipping free champagne and eating popsicles, residents took pictures in front of the new “Magic City” sign – a throwback to an old sign that welcomed visitors to Birmingham more than 60 years […]

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.

Arc Stories: March 2016 Edition

Stories about a woman who learns you can’t always trust somebody just because they’re in a  position of authority; a guy deals with a serious case of bad luck of his own making; another who has a brief flirtation with his childhood celebrity crush; and, a woman witnesses her mother fall in love with her childhood sweetheart […]

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, […]

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.

WBHM Launches New Series Exploring Birmingham’s Ensley Community

Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM launches “The Junction: Stories from Ensley, Alabama” this week. To many people outside of the community, Ensley is merely a crime-ridden, impoverished place. Through radio features and multimedia stories on junctionstories.com, project creator Mary Quintas goes beyond the quick crime reports to explore what life is like in Ensley according […]

The Junction: Stories From Ensley, Alabama. Episode 1

WBHM is one of 15 stations chosen for Localore: Finding America – a national initiative to expand public media. Over the next several months, WBHM will bring you “The Junction: Stories from Ensley, Alabama” – a project created by independent producer Mary Quintas.

Hear Highlights from “Issues & Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area”

There’s a perception that crime is on the rise in and around Birmingham. What’s really happening? Is fear changing our behavior and affecting relationships in our communities? How can Birmingham and surrounding communities work to reduce violent crime? On Thursday, March 10 Local law enforcement officials and community members met to discuss crime and brainstorm solutions for WBHM's “Issues and Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area.”

TEDx Birmingham 2016: Pure Imagination

The theme for TEDx Birmingham 2016 is Pure Imagination. Last weekend, UAB’s Alys Stephens Center was home to a day featuring featuring 18 different speakers sharing thought-provoking ideas. The goal for organizers is for these ideas to amount to big changes in Birmingham. WBHM’s Program Director, Michael Krall attended the conference and spoke about his […]

Barons Adding to Protective Netting Behind Home Plate

The protective netting behind home plate at Regions Field will be extended before the start of the 2016 Southern League Season. The netting will now stretch to the edge of the dugouts. Barons’ officials say space near the bottom of the protective screen has been designed to ensure fans and players will still be able […]

Arc Stories: February 2016 Edition

Stories about growing up during the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham. A young black boy who lives in the basement of a wealthy white family’s home and then becomes a key player during the civil rights movement; a young woman who was arrested by Bull Conner, then driven in his car to be dropped off […]

Harper Lee, Author Of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Dies At Age 89

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. Published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

The Compassion Experience: A Virtual Exhibit on Global Poverty

Global poverty can seem pretty abstract to the average American. The Compassion Experience aims to change that. This traveling exhibit immerses people in the lives and cultures of children living in poverty around the world. It's on tour across the South and returns to Alabama next week. WBHM's Amy Sedlis saw the exhibit on its last Birmingham stop, and has this preview:

Birmingham’s Place in Historic Preservation Efforts

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently declared Birmingham’s A.G. Gaston Motel a National Treasure. It also declared the landmark one of America’s eleven most endangered historic sites. Marita Rivero chairs the trust’s board and is Executive Director of the Museum of African American History in Boston. She’ll give the keynote address Thursday evening for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Black History Month celebration. Rivero spoke with WBHM’s Rachel Lindley about Birmingham’s importance in the national conversation on historic preservation and the significance of the A.G. Gaston Motel.

Dennis Covington and Revelation: The Search for Faith in a Violent Religious World

"Faith, as St. Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, is a fruit of the spirit, and a fruit is something tangible, life sustaining, a gift." Dennis Covington.

Newgrass Mandolin Master Sam Bush Returns to Birmingham

Sam Bush, considered by many to be the father of newgrass, the more progressive form of bluegrass music, brings his band to the Lyric Theatre Saturday night, February 13. Like the founding father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe, Bush grew up on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by a family of musicians. Both fell in love with the mandolin and with traditional music. There the comparison ends. Monroe grew up in the 1920s, while Sam Bush came of age in the era of television that brought the stars of country music right into his home.

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.

Birmingham Chefs Test Appetite For New Flavors With Supper Clubs

Pop-up dining experiences are cropping up across the country. While diners savor an exclusive meal, chefs get to try out recipes and gauge the local market for their food before opening a restaurant.

Andrew Glaze, Alabama’s 95-Year-Old Poet Laureate, Has Died

According to his family, poet and playwright Andrew Glaze died Sunday February 7, 2016. Glaze has been called "an essential poet for more than sixty years." The novelist, playwright and poet was currently serving as Poet Laureate of Alabama.

For Mardi Gras, Les Bon Temps Rouler In Mobile, Ala., Too

Most people think of New Orleans on Mardi Gras. But the pre-Lenten celebration has roots in another Gulf Coast city. Mobile, Ala., proudly bills itself as the "mother of mystics."

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 […]

New Ownership for The Birmingham Times

The state’s oldest African American newspaper has a new owner. The Birmingham Times, was purchased by the Foundation for Progress in Journalism, a Birmingham non-profit. Sam Martin will be the paper’s new publisher. Martin was formerly the publisher for the Montgomery Advertiser.

Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard On Small-Town Life, Big-Time Music

Howard was raised on her father's junkyard in the small town of Athens, Ala. "It was a really interesting way to grow up," she tells Fresh Air.

Arc Stories: January 2016 Edition

Stories about learning a valuable lesson. A young man striving for his father’s approval; a couple whose relationship is defined by the purchase of a van; and an educator who’s life trajectory is shaped by one of his students. (Originally aired January 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.)

Self-taught Alabama Artist Thornton Dial has Died

The self-taught, African-American artist Thornton Dial has died at his home in Bessemer. He was 87.