Issues/Program Report 2nd Quarter 2020
July 1, 2020
Per the FCC, this is a list of the most frequently cited issues of concern to the people in the WBHM listening area during the last quarter. The list details the most significant programs addressing these issues. All of these programs were published at WBHM.ORG and broadcast on WBHM 90.3 FM between April 1, 2020 and June 31, 2020. The list includes the following issues:
Sparked by protests calling for racial justice, a growing number of cities across the country are taking down Confederate monuments. What's next for these structures and the communities who remove them?
In an abnormally short, 13-minute meeting on Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council voted to allocate more funds to the city’s fight against COVID-19.
Gov. Ivey extended a public health order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. It would have expired Friday.
The Birmingham City Council has extended the city’s face covering ordinance for two more weeks.
Speakers at a rally in downtown Birmingham referenced the city's history of nonviolent protest as they responded to the death of George Floyd, who died after being arrested by police in Minneapolis Monday.
Unlike some other governors, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has kept a very low profile during the coronavirus pandemic, only rarely acknowledging it. But what difference does that make?
Birmingham has placed a May 15 deadline on its mask and public safety ordinances, bringing them in line with Gov. Kay Ivey’s safer-at-home order.
Alabama lawmakers return to Montgomery Monday after an extended break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans want to pass the budgets quickly. Democrats want to wait.
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman maintains he is innocent despite a federal bribery conviction. In a new book he says changes are needed to how prosecutors operate.
More than half of Alabama's nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases. But families and advocates say they don’t have a clear picture of what’s happening inside these places because state health officials don’t disclose information on individual facilities.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is defending two new city ordinances tightening restrictions around COVID-19. Beginning Friday, residents will be under a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and they must wear face coverings in public.
The Alabama Public Service Commission voted this week to approve most of Alabama Power’s $1.1 billion energy expansion plan. The state's largest utility will build a new natural gas plant and buy gas from existing plants.
Polling places in Jefferson County could be in line to receive more money to host elections, according to a new report.
The Jefferson County Commission voted Tuesday not to extend the order establishing a county wide curfew.
Birmingham will allow its face covering ordinance to expire Friday, May 29.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says his office will conduct a comprehensive internal review of the city’s police department.
U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions says the Birmingham Board of Education and Birmingham Housing Authority's decision to end agreements with the church is unconstitutional.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve the creation of the “Avondale Entertainment District."
Alabama has allowed many retailers to reopen at limited capacity, but businesses such as gyms, nail salons and barbershops remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some sheriffs said they won’t enforce the statewide order.
Alabama residents who need to renew their driver’s license during the coronavirus shutdown will have to do it online.
Alabama has seen a record number of unemployment claims because of the coronavirus. The state Department of Labor is trying to keep up.
Gov. Kay Ivey says the state needs an increase in COVID-19 testing before she reopens the state's economy.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin updated residents on the city's fight against COVID-19.
Birmingham city residents are under a new nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the order and declared a state of emergency Monday morning in response to violence that erupted Sunday evening.
More than 285,000 Alabamians have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month as the coronavirus outbreak has forced layoffs and furloughs. Many applicants have yet to receive any money.
The Birmingham City Council will vote Friday on whether to extend the city's face covering ordinance.
Inmate transfers from county jails to the state prison system have been reduced because of the pandemic. Local officials say that needs to change or county jails will be in crisis.
Alabama’s Public Service Commission is considering new rules that restrict recording formal hearings. Critics say the “Media Coverage Plan” goes too far and limits transparency of the agency.
Local advocacy groups say non-English speaking immigrants are an especially vulnerable group during this crisis, and not enough is being done to help them.
Birmingham’s public safety curfew is no longer in effect, but the ordinance requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in public has been extended for another week.
Alabama is prepared for the July 14 primary runoffs, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
The Jefferson County Commission used its second emergency meeting of the COVID-19 pandemic to extend the closure of county facilities until April 30 and set up a $1 million COVID-19 fund to handle needs as they arise.
Gov. Kay Ivey says retailers and public beaches can reopen under certain conditions as she relaxes a stay-at-home order issued to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Protesters are asking the Birmingham City Council to defund the city's police department by reallocating $150,000 from the department's ammunition budget.
Birmingham residents will be legally required to wear face masks in public starting May 1.
The Jefferson County Commission received guidance this week on their legal use of federal stimulus money because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workers removed most of a Confederate monument that became the center of Birmingham protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
Alabama lawmakers passed the General Fund budget Thursday. It now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey.
Alabama’s dine-in restaurants, bars, salons and gyms will be allowed to reopen next week.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says Alabama is an "unhealthy" state with a high-risk population. He says officials should implement strict measures to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles will resume parole hearings May 18 after stopping them last month in response to COVID-19. Advocates say the state should expedite the parole process to protect inmates and alleviate prison overcrowding.
Criticisms of Alabama’s absentee ballot requirements are intensifying. Legal challenges to the law call for greater accessibility, especially to the state's most vulnerable populations -- black residents, the elderly and those with disabilities.
The Alabama Department of Corrections faces a Friday deadline to outline a plan to meet court-ordered staffing goals. State Rep. Chris England says the prison system needs new leadership.
The Birmingham City Council issued another extension to its face covering ordinance. It's now set to expire on May 29.
Alabama's safer-at-home order was extended Thursday until early July. This comes as the state's coronavirus cases continue to rise.
The Jefferson County Commission is considering a resolution that would seek up to $1.15 million in supplemental funds for the county’s revolving loan fund grant from the state’s Economic Development Administration.
Hurricane season in the Deep South is nothing new. But hurricane season with a pandemic? That is different.
Birmingham’s public safety curfew and state of emergency will expire Monday night.
“People need to remember that people are dying, that this has the potential to continue to spread,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says. “If you can’t take this serious[ly] and police yourself, then we will gladly assist and help you.”
Jefferson County will reopen its courthouses and county facilities on Friday.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home order Friday after mounting pressure by state and local leaders.
The Alabama Public Service Commission voted this week to approve most of Alabama Power’s $1.1 billion energy expansion plan. The state's largest utility will build a new natural gas plant and buy gas from existing plants.
The Trump EPA announced this week that it will not lower the current limit on particulate air pollution, an action that disappointed but didn’t surprise public health scientists and clean-air advocates.
Many businesses have laid off workers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but plenty of companies in Alabama are hiring. While some companies grapple with worker safety concerns, it hasn't stopped them from growing.
Courtrooms are quieter because of the coronavirus. But divorce lawyers have found ways to keep working.
Late April will bring financial pain for state and local governments as businesses in Alabama begin submitting lower taxes because of the coronavirus.
There's a tension between the social distancing measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the economic cost that's causing. The Harvard Club of Birmingham took up that issue in a formal debate this week.
Gov. Kay Ivey will ease coronavirus restrictions starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. Under the new rules, businesses and all retailers can reopen. So will beaches and doctors offices. Nevertheless, many people plan to stay put.
UAB announced Monday that more than 300 university staff members will be temporarily furloughed in an effort to offset significant financial losses due to COVID-19.
Alabama's retail industry opened its' doors once again after being closed for at least a month because of COVID-19.
Pricing and processing delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made a direct hit on the Alabama cattle and poultry industries.
The crowds of the Market at Pepper Place have given way to a line of cars for safety's sake during the pandemic.
Alabama bankers couldn’t access the federal Paycheck Protection Program application site on Monday so that small businesses hurt by the coronavirus could apply for the loans.
UAB officials are starting to look toward the day when the number of COVID-19 cases starts to decline in Alabama, but there are no easy answers to what could come next.
Alabama continues to break records as cases of COVID-19 increase at the highest rate yet.
Alabama saw the number of coronavirus cases double among 5 to 24-year-olds, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The state also recorded a new daily high of 1,129 cases between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday.
Remdesivir, a drug developed through a federal grant to UAB, may be the first effective therapy for treating severely ill COVID-19 patients, early analysis of a large federally sponsored study found this week.
UAB Hospital is taking a financial hit from COVID-19. Officials announced Friday a projected loss of $70 million per month due to fewer clinical visits, elective surgeries and hospital stays.
As coronavirus hospitalizations increase, more hospitals are feeling squeezed. The president of the Alabama Hospital Association says the state is far from getting the pandemic under control. Limited hospital capacity will most affect patients seeking care for health issues other than coronavirus.
The executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association says closing rural hospitals is his greatest concern. That's because these hospitals located across the Deep South were struggling to stay open before COVID-19.
The Memorial Day weekend is here, but the coronavirus hasn't gone away. What to consider when thinking about the summer ahead.
The number of new coronavirus cases is rising in Alabama. Meanwhile, Jefferson County’s Health Department says some asymptomatic people should get checked.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose Wednesday by 954, one of the state’s largest daily increases since the pandemic began, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s “safer-at-home” order allows doctors to resume elective medical and dental procedures. For some patients, that’s good news.
COVID-19 is expected to peak Monday. Here's how UAB has been preparing for this and the months that follow.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris reminds Alabamians that COVID-19 is not over. Instead, they say the number of confirmed cases in the state continues to rise.
Entertainment venues across Alabama reopened Friday, but not in the state’s most populous county.
Data shows Alabama lags behind most of its Southeast neighbors in COVID-19 testing.
After falling ill with COVID-19, Bill Chambers was admitted to intensive care and placed on a ventilator. He spent 22 days in the hospital and was recently released, becoming the first COVID patient discharged from UAB Hospital's ICU.
Alabama hit record highs this past week in the number of new coronavirus cases. Health officials are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Kelsey Jacks is a registered nurse in the medical Intensive care unit at UAB Hospital, where she takes care of the sickest COVID-19 patients. To help people understand the impact of the virus, she recorded an audio diary during a recent shift.
The coronavirus pandemic in Alabama is not as bad as hot spots elsewhere in the country, but public health officials expect that to change.
Moving averages of new COVID-19 cases have reached their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
The Alabama Nursing Home Association opposes a decision by Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson to place patients who are recovering from COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Due to COVID-19, hospitals are limiting the number of people who can be present during labor and delivery. That's one reason some pregnant women are considering giving birth at home.
UAB will deploy a new COVID-19 mobile testing unit this week to communities across Jefferson County.
COVID-19 is not the first pandemic to strike around the world. In 1918, the Spanish Influenza had a dramatic impact on daily life everywhere, including Alabama.
Beginning Monday, face masks will be required in indoor spaces open to the public throughout Jefferson County. Health officer Dr. Mark Wilson announced the new order Friday, citing concerns about the recent increase in spread of COVID-19.
As Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey allows more businesses to reopen next week, UAB infectious disease expert Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo is worried about the state's recent increase in average cases and deaths related to COVID-19.
More than 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Alabama have been in African Americans even though about a fourth of the state’s population is black, data released by state health officials showed Tuesday.
The 14-day moving average of COVID-19 cases has now surpassed the 700 mark.
Health professionals warn that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't hit its peak in Alabama yet. Some say that when it does it could be a major disaster for the state’s health care infrastructure.
Alabama corrections officials recently reported the first inmate death related to COVID-19. With several prisoners and staff members testing positive for the virus, those inside Alabama prisons worry this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Birmingham is under a shelter-in-place order and hospitals are being inundated with a wave of COVID-19 patients. We talk with a local cardiologist who is now ill with the disease about the pandemic's toll on the health care system.
There are more Alabamians hospitalized for the coronavirus than at any point during the pandemic. UAB's Dr. Rachael Lee explains why.
Gov. Kay Ivey is creating a new executive committee that’ll field recommendations on when to reopen the state’s economy.
A new service to transport low-income COVID-19 patients to health care facilities is expected to launch in Birmingham this week.
Hospital chaplains usually show comfort to patients or their families, but at UAB that has changed. During the coronavirus pandemic, the pastoral care team spends a lot of time counseling health care workers who are on the front lines.
BirminghamWatch spoke with the dean of UAB's Medical School about COVID-19's impact on clinical trials.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people apart, it has also created a common ground for millions — by making many work from home. But many parents are now learning to manage their job and teach their kids at the same time.
The cancellation and delay of sporting events due to the coronavirus is creating uncertainty for student athletes. College coaches have fewer opportunities to scout new players and they face mounting financial pressure that's led some schools to cut athletic programs.
Birmingham school Superintendent Lisa Herring is leaving to become superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.
Alabama public schools will reopen in August despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but parents will be given the option of continuing distance learning.
Since schools have been out statewide, some districts have struggled to continue to provide meals. After a bumpy start, Birmingham and Jefferson County schools have opted to outsource their meal programs.
Parenting is hard enough as it is, much less during the coronavirus crisis. A parental hotline offers help for those stressing out over their kids.
Closed through the end of the academic year, Alabama K-12 schools will being distance learning Monday. Jefferson County Schools released information Friday about their plan.
Most spring graduations are canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. But a few groups and institutions are organizing virtual ceremonies for the class of 2020
Hoover City Schools announced it will move forward with in-person graduation ceremonies this week, and they’re not alone. Parents are divided on the issue.
Science and Technology
The internet is helping a lot of people get through the COVID-19 crisis. But many people in rural areas like the Black Belt have no internet access at all.
Alabama is one of a few states getting ready to deploy a bluetooth-based contact tracing app created by tech giants Apple and Google.
UAB has created a new symptom checker to track the spread of COVID-19. The website hopes to give public health officials insight on virus hotspots, especially in underserved communities.
Arts and Culture
The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama will consecrate Rev. Glenda Curry as a new bishop on Saturday. She's the first woman to hold the position.
Murals can be found on plywood throughout downtown Birmingham.
Cities across the state are celebrating Juneteenth, the end of slavery. In Birmingham, hundreds gathered at Kelly Ingram Park to commemorate the holiday.
The police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has triggered many protesters in the Birmingham area who are still seeking justice for Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, a black man killed by Hoover police in 2018. We spoke with Eric Hall, a founding member of the Birmingham chapter of Black Lives Matter.
A Confederate monument has been removed from downtown Birmingham. The city also suffered damage to downtown buildings after protests turned violent. Rev. Thomas Wilder, who leads the church once led by Birmingham civil rights figure Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, shares his perspective on these events and moving forward.
Alabama Rally Against Injustice has held several demonstrations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. One of the group's representatives says leading rallies week after week is emotionally draining, but necessary. The group plans to continue holding rallies until policing policies change.
On the first day many businesses were allowed to reopen since the pandemic, not all opted to jump back in.
Clean up is underway in downtown Birmingham after demonstrations turned violent and protestors damaged several businesses including the historic Alabama and Lyric theatres.
A petition calling on Gov. Kay Ivey to rename Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge has more than 120,000 signatures. We spoke with the Democratic strategist who started the online campaign.
A protest in Homewood remained peaceful. It was one of several planned in Birmingham's mostly-white suburbs.
A day after a noose was placed in the garage of NASCAR's only full-time Black driver, fans at Talladega Superspeedway condemned the incident, but were mixed on NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag.
With entertainment venues closed because of COVID-19, local standup comedians and improv performers are having to find other ways to connect to their audiences. Some have even turned to social media to practice their craft.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s updated “safer-at-home” order puts most of the hospitality industry back to work. Some business owners were quick to open their doors, but others are sticking with curbside service only.
Lucy’s Coffee & Tea has been a Birmingham staple for more than 25 years. Earlier this week, owner Lucy Bonds announced she’s closing her cafe for good.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of nonessential businesses, including hair salons and barbershops. That has led some people to get creative about how to keep their hair looking good during the crisis.
We checked back in with a Birmingham brewery owner who wasn’t sure in mid-March whether his business would survive the pandemic.
Spring usually kicks off the busy season for the Birmingham Zoo, but not this year. Like many attractions across the nation, the zoo is closed until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There's so much news about the coronavirus it can be overwhelming. So here are three bright moments in the midst of the pandemic.
COVID-19 put an abrupt end to the 99th season of the ASO and that meant no public send-off for those who are retiring. Roger James reflects on learning to play the violin, how to keep the passion when playing familiar songs, and when to make an exit.
Crime isn’t taking a coronavirus holiday, but law enforcement statistics show it headed in a positive direction as more people shelter from the pandemic.