Arts and Culture

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.

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.

A Visit to the Historic Lyric Theatre Before It Reopens This Thursday

An old Birmingham vaudeville theater starts a new life tomorrow. After two years and a more than $11 million renovation, the Lyric Fine Arts Theatre reopens downtown, exactly 102 years after its first performance. In its heyday, the theater hosted acts like The Marx Brothers and Will Rodgers. But decades of neglect left the theater in serious disrepair.

Committee Could Decide the Fate of the Jefferson County Courthouse Murals

Back in September, the Birmingham chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) petitioned the Jefferson County Commission to remove two murals that currently hang in the entrance way to the county courthouse.

What Exactly Does an Editor Do? The Role Has Changed Over Time

When Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was published earlier this year, readers learned that this much anticipated “second book” by Lee was actually a first draft of what would later become the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee radically revised this early version of the book on the advice of her editor, Tay Hohoff. […]

Arc Stories: Holiday Edition

‘Tis The Season: Stories about the Holidays:  A Christmas gift that completely changed the trajectory of on man’s life; the first time a little-girl gets a glimpse of the adult world; and a confession 20 years in the making, as a boy searches his parents house for that Christmas gift he really wanted. Originally aired: […]

Christmas in Birmingham, 1920: The Dueling Santa Clauses of Loveman’s and Pizitz

During the Christmas season, Santa Claus is everywhere. And, if he’s not, a Santa suit can be had for a mere $40. But it didn’t used to be that way. This Christmas eve, Local pop culture historian Tim Hollis tells WBHM of a Birmingham Christmas past, when the city’s two largest department stores, Loveman's and Pizitz, fought for the title of Santa’s official Magic City headquarters. A word of caution for those of you listening with young children: this story touches on some Christmas secrets.

Found Sound: The Alabama Theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer Memorializes Buster Norris

A "found sound" story of organ recordings from the Alabama's Theatre's Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

The Alabama Shakes and Public Radio’s #1 Songs Of 2015

Hidden inside our enormous year-end Songs We Love 2015 app — 401 songs across a dozen genres compiled by NPR Music and our public radio partners — is a playlist of 61 jewels, the ones we loved the best. We polled our entire team –including dozens of hosts from around the country — and these […]

Sociologists’ Book Urges End of Sex Division in Sports

Can you imagine a world with no gender divisions in sports? University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Adrienne Milner can. Not only that — she wants to help make it happen. Along with University of Miami professor Dr. Jomills Henry Braddock II, she’s written a new book called “Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not […]

Success More Than Jokes For Birmingham’s Roy Wood Jr. On Daily Show

For me, I think I have been very, very lucky to have a career up until this point where pretty much everything I have done, prepared me for what I am doing today on The Daily Show – from the acting, to the stand ups, even the prank phone calls. Roy Wood Jr.

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.

Birmingham-Southern Professor Michael Flowers Named 2015 Professor of the Year

For more than three decades, Michael Flowers has been teaching acting at Birmingham-Southern College. Flowers was recently named 2015 Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.

Alabama Running Back Derrick Henry Wins Heisman Trophy

The 6-foot-3, 242-pound tailback led the nation in rushing yards and rushing attempts, the Heisman Web site notes.

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 […]

For Expats In Afghanistan, A Cranberry Dish To Relish Far From Home

In 2011, about 100 Americans living and working in Kabul gathered for a Thanksgiving feast a long way from family. But a dish familiar to many NPR listeners helped bring them a taste of home.

Arc Stories: November 2015 Edition

Stories about people trying to navigate through major dilemmas. A young man tires to discover a family secret; a girl comes to grips with the loss of her mom; and a woman finds herself completely exposed outside of a stranger’s house. (Originally aired November 19, 2015 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.)

The Eclectic Sounds of Birmingham’s Holly Waxwing

Montevallo native Garrett Crosby produces music under the name Holly Waxwing. The currently Birmingham-based electronic artist creates playful menageries of sound from disparate places and samples everything from top 40 and Mariah Carey to Episcopalian psychedelic folk. His EP Peach Winks was released earlier this year. WBHM's Em Wiginton spoke to him about how he creates his music. Holly Waxwing performs this Saturday at the Desert Island Supply Co. in Birmingham.

Controversial ISIS Coloring Book Reaches Vestavia Home

Really Big Coloring Books, which credits itself with starting the adult coloring book craze, has come out with a new and controversial one titled “ISIS: A Culture of Evil.” The company sent thousands unsolicited around the country, and one ended up in a Muslim household in Vestavia Hills. Henna Budhwani had just gotten home from work […]

Winston Groom — The Generals

George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, and George Marshall have become almost mythical figures after fighting in the U.S. Army during World War II. They’re also the subjects of Alabama author Winston Groom’s new book called The Generals. Marshall served as chief of staff of the army. McArthur commanded troops in the South Pacific. Patton fought in North Africa and Europe. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Groom about the book.

Musician Chris Thile on Playing Birmingham, Replacing Garrison Keillor

Virtuoso mandolin player Chris Thile performs in Birmingham Monday at UAB's Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. He spoke with WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley about his varied musical career, why he loves performing in Birmingham and how he feels about his next job: replacing Garrison Keillor as the host of A Prairie Home Companion.

WBHM Partners with StoryCorps OutLoud

Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM is partnering with StoryCorps to broadcast selections from its StoryCorps OutLoud initiative recorded in Birmingham. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year project dedicated to preserving the often unheard voices of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people. WBHM will share these stories on air and online Tuesdays and Fridays throughout November, 2015. […]

Jerri Hardesty: Changing Lives Through Poetry

Emotion often fuels poetry.  Sometimes though that emotion is so personal it’s like being let into a secret space.  That’s the way it is with poems we’ll hear from Jerri Hardesty. She’s president of the Alabama State Poetry Society.  She’s won more than 600 awards and titles for both written and spoken word poetry.  Hardesty […]

Arc Stories: October 2015 Edition

Three storytellers find themselves in frightening situations.  A camp ghost story that gets out of hand; a man forced to look death in the face; and trying to spy on religious fanatics (Originally aired October 22, 2015 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.)

Why I Support WBHM: Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington’s winning design is featured on the newest edition of WBHM’s pint glass for the Fall 2015 fund drive.  For a contribution of just $7.50/month or a one time contribution of $90.00, this pint glass is a wonderful reminder of your support of public radio for Birmingham and North Central Alabama,   Here’s two […]

A Trip To The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention

Limestone County, Alabama has a long and storied old time fiddling tradition. This past weekend, about 15,000 fiddlers and old time music fans gathered for the 49th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens. RV’s from around the country loaded with fiddles, guitars, and banjos filled the campus of Athens State University. The convention and competition bring together musicians of all ages.