Since 1976 the strongest advocates for WBHM have been our members. We are delighted to share stories from our members and why they choose to listen and support their NPR station. Want to tell your story? Email [email protected] and tell us about your love for WBHM!
Dr. Christina Ochsenbauer says, “I’m originally from Germany and now I live in Homewood, for the past 20 years. I discovered WBHM when I came here from Europe, and I like to listen to it because it provides the in-depth coverage of national and world news that I was used to from home. I couldn’t find any other station that provided that. And it’s also commercial free, which is something that I appreciated. And over the years it has really just become my main source of information for me because I don’t have time to read a daily newspaper, and WBHM gives me all the information I need, and then I can go and follow up on it if I want to learn more. I really do appreciate the coverage that they provide because the people that report from Western Europe, they really know what they’re talking about, and they understand the cultural context. And I think it’s very important to have this perspective. It’s very, very thoughtful.”
“Our son who is now seven listens, and he likes to listen, and he will also comment on what he hears on the radio. And I think that’s really important because it gives children like him that are exposed to WBHM the opportunity to learn about the world, that there are other perspectives out there. And if you raise them that way, hopefully they will become thoughtful adults that will make thoughtful choices.”
Dr. John Kappes says, “I’m originally from the Cincinnati, Ohio area and I’ve been in Birmingham for 30 years. I used to drive down 280, and there were a lot of choices up and down the radio. And it just came to be that I listened to a radio station, WBHM, supported and based here at UAB, that provided insightful information that I thought was important for conducting my life from day to day and having a good knowledge-based view of my surroundings, my community, my country, and the world.”
“When I came here [to the WBHM studio] today … this is a very ‘unassuming’ environment. Obviously you guys aren’t squandering the pennies of your donors. But you walk through the hallways and you see the lives of people that this effort touches, you see the awards and the plaques and the honors. It’s the team of people. It’s the intellect. It’s the love of what you’re doing. It’s the knowledge which stems from that environment. It’s the team.”
“When the batteries burn out on the little radio in the bathroom and we don’t have news, there’s a gap. And we realize that. We feel it. We sense it. I always take the batteries out to recharge them because it’s important for us. It’s a little thing but it helps highlight the value of it once that’s missing.”
Ryan Jones grew up in Hoover but he travels the world regularly, and he says, “I work a lot outside of Alabama … I’ve had to go to different places throughout the South and across the country, and really around the world. And one of the things that WBHM gives me is it gives me a sense of place. I’m never far from home. It’s always right there, whether it’s in my pocket, online, wherever I have to go, I can find out what’s going on in Alabama at the drop of a hat. So it really comes in handy to feel like home is right there with me.”
“I love Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. I really enjoy Radiolab. I love the Marketplace Morning Report, and On The Media … Just about every single show that you have, I find time to listen to. WBHM gives you an insight not just into your today, but also into the future of Alabama and the future of Birmingham. And no one else does that on a regular basis. So I really value that insight, that understanding of not just where we are, but where we’re going.”
“I got tired of the regular top 40 stations, hearing the same song over and over again. No offense to Britney Spears or Katy Perry, but after a little while you just get tired of it. You know that things are going on in the world … and WBHM really is the only place that not just plugged you into what’s going on in the world, but gives you an unbiased view. It gives you multiple viewpoints to learn and gather and make decisions for yourself, as opposed to being yelled at like on so much other talk radio, hearing people’s biases. You actually get to hear from a multitude of sources and you make your own decisions and you become more informed. And that’s what I love about WBHM. I’m never left in the breach. I’m never left feeling as though there’s a side that I didn’t hear.”
“I really think people should understand that when they give to WBHM, it is worth every single cent. You won’t find a better quality of programming on the radio today. You spend so much money on so many other things that you don’t need. You pay for your Spotify, you pay for Apple Music, you pay for your coffee. You pay for so many things, and this radio station has endured for so long and given you so much, all you have to do is take a little time, give a little money, and make the station that much better.”
To join Ryan in supporting WBHM, public radio for the heart of Alabama and beyond, click here.
Catherine Mayo of Birmingham says, “I have three children, six, eight, and nine. I turn WBHM on around seven o’clock in the morning and it’s usually still playing until seven at night. Because WBHM is playing throughout our house all day, a lot of conversations are sparked that we normally would not have. And it is so important to my husband and me that our kids know that we live in a big world outside of our bubble of Birmingham, Alabama, and that there are a lot of different people in it. And WBHM and NPR bring those people into my house. I feel like it brings the outside world into my home.”
“I love Morning Edition, This American Life, Here and Now … Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is hilarious.”
“You know it took a while for me to become a member. The the Fund Drive would come on and I would change the channel. I finally became a sustaining member about five years ago. And now, it’s frustrating that other people don’t do the same, because it’s such a small amount! I mean it’s not like you have to give tons of money … if everybody who listened gave just a little bit, it would be enough so that we didn’t have to have the Fund Drives.”
To join Catherine in supporting WBHM, public radio for the heart of Alabama and beyond, click here.
“My name is Brent Womble. I support WBHM and I listen to it all day, every day.”
“I started listening to WBHM either 2013 or 2014, and I decided to become a member in the fall fund drive of last year.”
“You know, something that’s said a lot on the air during the fund drive is if you’ve been listening to WBHM for years now and you feel like this is a valuable service for yourself and for the community then put your money where your mouth is and contribute and support and become a part of what the station’s doing for the city.”
“I support WBHM and I think you should too. I think you should take responsibility and help support this valuable community service.”
“My name is Josh Rutsky. I am the coach of the Hoover High School Quiz Bowl team and I have been a member of WBHM for one year now.”
“When one of my students on the high school quiz bowl team that I coach asked me, ‘Well how do you study current events? How do you get better at knowing things that are happening in the world?’ I said to him, ‘Why don’t you just turn on the radio? Everyday you commute to school. If you just listen to WBHM for 10 minutes, 15 minutes everyday, you’re going to be that much smarter.’ It’s incomparable.”
“I’m a big believer in WBHM and if you are too you should make a donation today.”
“I love that I can turn WBHM on every morning. I hear the news talked about in a rational, thoughtful, logical, well-researched way. It’s just the opposite of click bate and fake news that we’re so inundated with now.”
“One of my favorite shows is Radiolab, and they recently did a piece on technology that’s going to make it easier to produce fake news. And it was scary, but it’s stuff that we need to know. And WBHM is just the opposite of fake news. It’s something I feel like I can trust. And that’s so important right now.”
“I support WBHM and I’d love for everyone to join me in that support and become part of the WBHM community.”
“I am Ronald Williams. I am an active supporter/listener of WBHM, and I have been for almost 40 years. What I appreciate the most about listening to WBHM is that the reporters and the people I hear on the radio seem to bring about an integrity that I can trust. It’s not what I would consider alternative facts.
“I appreciate the talk programs because you get more diversity from the people listening from all over the country. I used to really enjoy Diane Rehm at 9 o’clock. Now that program has been taken over by Joshua Johnson, and so I like his program.
“It is vitally important to the citizens of Birmingham and the municipalities in surrounding counties that we support that and keep this radio station on the air because of its broad range of topics and points of interest.”
My mother’s been a reader of The New York Times. That’s her source of information to the point where my father once said she had a medical degree from The New York Times. It must be genetic, but for me it’s NPR. That’s my source of all information. I think my daughter will follow in my footsteps. I have a son and daughter and both of them were those ones the ones that had to sit in the back seat and listen to NPR, but I think they’re converts now. It’s fun to hear those stories because it’s true. If they listen to it growing up, they end up listening as adults too. I am definitely smarter and more knowledgable on many different topics thanks to WBHM.
“If I’m down in the basement, or if I’m upstairs, I usually have WBHM on. And because I love to spend time out in the yard, I drag out this long extension cord and my boom-box and listen to WBHM as I work … The goats are right nearby, so I figure I have the most informed *goats in Cullman County, or perhaps in the whole state of Alabama.”
“It’s so informative, such a variety of subjects … and it wouldn’t be here without support. And WBHM plays a very important role in local [news] and around the nation. So I feel like, it contributes that much to your life, it’s not too much to ask to support it.”
*It’s hard to accurately transcribe goat sounds (though it’s easy to split infinitives, which actually is proper and permissible). Anyway, we at WBHM are not kidding when we recommend that you listen to get the full experience of this strange tale of multi-species enlightenment.
“My name is Tyler Richards. I live in Montevallo with my wife, and we’ve supported WBHM for about two years now. We love listening to Morning Edition and All Things Considered — it really drives our day.”
“In the climate that we live in, I think it’s so important that we have access to good, solid information. And we have found over the years that NPR, that public radio has been pretty much center-line in looking at both sides of an issue and delivering information that is unbiased and is accurate. And when you live in a generation or live in a time when the news that you get through Facebook is, you know, 90 percent of it or something is fake news, you really need to make sure that you have good, reliable information. That’s one of the big reasons we support public radio. The other thing is the quality of the programming that we get — not just the news, but also the fun stuff that happens on the weekends, like Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. It really enriches and enhances our life.”
“More people listen to public radio than are supporters. I think people assume that public radio is just something that’s going to be there, that they’ll swap over to WBHM and listen to the news reports one day, and the next day they’ll just be there, and that they don’t have to worry about supporting it. And that’s just not the case.”
“It’s a great radio station with a great mission. I can’t think of a reason why not to support it. Please call 1-800-444-9246 or go to wbhm.org to give your support to public radio.”
“I’ve been a WBHM member since 2000. The sad thing about it is, I’ve been a huge fan since ’77. It took so long to become a member and that’s something I’m not proud of. I feel a little guilty, yes … taking advantage of this great programming, but I really had to step up and put my money where my ears are.”
“Of course I’m going to start my day off with Morning Edition. That sets the mood for the day, lets you know all the crazy things that go on overnight, and gives you great conversation at the water fountain at work.”
“And my weekends of course … I could not do without Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. And This American Life is great. It’s funny how it can show you how huge the world is, but at the same time, it’s so close to home. It reminds you of someone in your family, someone you know, [someone] everyone can relate to. It’s one of those programs that keeps you in your car sitting in the driveway. I’d like to encourage everyone to call WBHM at 1-800-444-9246 or you can pledge at wbhm.org.”
“I’m a bit of a late bloomer to WBHM. Years ago, when my children were boys, their grandfather would always be a sustaining member. And every year he would make sure they listened as his donation money would be in their honor. Intermittently, I would listen WBHM and always wonder what the heck are these people staying in their garage and their driveways listening to. Well, the other day my husband called down going, “Get out of the car.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I was listening to, but I was captivated.”
“And I think the information is informative, quite factual. I appreciate the time that is given. They take time to really investigate the facts and not rush. And I really appreciate that because there are so many channels or stations out there that it’s all about hurry, hurry, hurry, and sensationalism. And WBHM does not do that.”
“I encourage to give often to pay back the amazing rewards that we get from listening. So, when you’re digging in your pocketbook so we can get back to regular programming, dig deep.”
“Essentially, I started listening in the mornings with Morning Edition and listening to the news and staying current on events. And that was in 2012 I was in grad school. And because of the budget that I was on, I didn’t start giving. I told myself I was like, “You know what. OK the first thing I want to do when I defend is give back and donate.” So, my first donation was last year and it was right before I defended my thesis. It was about maybe a month prior to and that was actually my reason. I you know I just listened over the years and I knew I was like you know I definitely want to give what I’m able to and so now that I’m out of that grad school kind of budget I can give back.”
“I like WBHM because NPR has been a fixture of my life ever since I was a kid, really really little. So, now NPR is kind of grown with me. It’s very relevant to me as an adult for the news coverage the civil debates. And I think having a source for reliable and responsible journalism is more important now than ever.”
“I like 1-A a lot because I think it’s an excellent replacement for the Diane Rehm Show and that it has a very civil debate. They bring in experts from different fields that are different ends of the spectrum as far as opinions go but it always is pretty enlightening and I learn something from all sides of the argument.”
“I figured I’m already paying for multiple streaming services for music and movies. So, I decided I needed to support WBHM which I listened to every day and I feel really good about it.”
Asha Xulu: “WBHM NPR News. Oh, my goodness. They give you stories around the world. And some of them are so inspirational. Whether you’re interviewing people on the street in Brazil or what’s happening in Africa. My husband is from South Africa. It’s just a world perspective and it’s made our family a global family.”
Jomo Xulu: “The music the history. You know of different. Ethnicities you know different people. Well I can talk forever just it’s just a great station really. A station that I can introduce to anybody to be related in. Mostly it took a really issues. I mean the really life issues that, especially mainly about want to get the solution.”
Bhiza Xulu: “I was in a camp when I was younger and my mom and my father were in the car and we were just they just turned to this news station. I was listening at first I was like, ‘Oh my goodness they’re just talking about news and politics and stuff I don’t understand.’ But when you start listening to it, you see that wow stuff is really interesting, stuff I could relate to the stuff that I like.”
Nick Patterson is the editor of the weekly newspaper WELD, and joins WBHM each Thursday during All Things Considered to discuss the week’s news. He’s not just one of the voices you hear on WBHM. He’s also a member and a fan.
“I love the education stories and the in depth news stories,” says Patterson. “I love the fact that WBHM, as an NPR affiliate, really connects you to some of the best journalism you’re going to hear in any broadcast medium.”
When he’s not writing for and reading WELD, he’s listening to the radio.
“I listen to WBHM in my car, sometimes at home, because, really, when you need the news right now, this is the place to get it,” Patterson says.
But there’s also one other reason this print journalist likes WBHM. He doesn’t have to worry about punctuation. Especially the Oxford comma.
“That always comes up as an issue I have to deal with,” says Patterson of the tricky comma.
For the uninitiated, Patterson explains: “The Oxford comma is the comma that you put before the ‘and’ in a series in a sentence. Sometimes you have three things that you mention. At the one just before the ‘and’ you have to make a decision. Do you put a comma before it…or not?”
“When I worked at the Birmingham Post-Herald, we used the Oxford comma quite frequently. Now that I’m working at WELD, we basically decided we wouldn’t,” says Patterson. “It feels weird because I have to take the Oxford comma out, not only of my own writing, but of other peoples’ writing as well. It feels sort of like I’m betraying the Oxford comma.”
One thing he says he’d never betray? The public radio station he loves.
“WBHM: Whether you like the Oxford comma or not, it’s great public radio in Birmingham,” Patterson says.
WBHM listener Ryan Iversen lives in Hanceville, Alabama. He installs heating and air conditioner equipment, and is on the road a lot for his job. He says WBHM helps keep him entertained during those long drives.
“I really like the variety of what public radio brings to their stories,” says Iversen. “Music or movies or what’s happening in sports, it’s always something new and interesting.”
WBHM talked with him and his 4-year-old son Alexander on the historic day Iversen became a first-time WBHM member.
“I canceled my Google Play subscription, so I decided to use that money to support WBHM because I listen to it more than I listen to anything else,” Iversen says. “I like the news in the morning, I like Marketplace, I like the Southern Education Desk, and on the weekends I like Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion.”
Little Alexander listens with his dad too. Click the play button above to hear his radio debut!
When John Mitchell had to swap cars with his daughter, he made an unexpected discovery.
“She had [the radio] on WBHM,” says Mitchell.
“The first thing I heard was Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.”
Mitchell doesn’t just listen and support the station, he volunteered to answer phones this spring fund drive. If you call, he might just take your pledge.
“When you see what it takes to produce something like this, it’s such a small amount of money to donate to keep this going,” says Mitchell.
Join him and thousand of other listeners across Alabama by making a gift to WBHM. Pledge now.
For librarian Haruyo Miyagawa, WBHM is an essential part of her day.
“I support WBHM because it helps me do my job better,” says Miyagawa. She’s currently head of Library Arts Literature and Sports Department at the Birmingham Public Library.
“Librarians are in the business of connecting people with the information they want or need,” explains Miyagawa. “We need to stay aware of what’s going on in the world, whether it’s right here in Birmingham or on the other side of the world.” She says WBHM helps her do just that.
“If you love in-depth, balanced information on a wide range of topics, please give to WBHM! You’ll be glad you did,” says Miyagawa.
Paul and Cindy Williams family listen to WBHM everyday.
“We turn on the radio first thing in the morning and then make coffee,” says Cindy.
The whole family, including their children, has been listening to NPR for decades.
“Just being surrounded by public radio in the car and also at home, was constantly putting a worldview into my head,” says their daughter Meagan, now a college student.
“Meagan always said she wouldn’t remember lullabies that we sang to her, but she could hum the intros to different NPR shows,” says Cindy.
They say tuning into WBHM as a family has helped them start many meaningful conversations.
“We definitely use what we hear on the radio as a launching pad for deeper discussions,” says Paul. “I think that it has made our kids more thoughtful people.”
Paul Blutter is a civic-minded businessman and father of two who appreciates stories from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM. He’s originally from New York and now lives in Homewood.
“We love living here,” says Blutter. “It’s a great place to raise kids. And I think as parents, we all have to make important decisions about our children’s education. There are excellent public school systems here in the Birmingham Metro area, excellent private schools, and in order to make those decisions properly, we need to have all the information.”
That’s where the Southern Education Desk comes in, he says.
“It has objective reporting. I think they put the stories in their proper context, and how they affect other aspects of our lives …. It doesn’t report in a vacuum, and it doesn’t report necessarily positive or negative stories. It reports the stories.”
Click here to make your pledge now to support WBHM, the SED, and all the local, regional, and national programming you value on north-central Alabama’s public radio station. Click the player above to hear Paul Blutter himself explain why he contributes.
Reed Lochamy is what you might call a renaissance man. He’s an English teacher at Hoover High School, host of the weekly show “Oh Brother Radio” on Birmingham Mountain Radio, and a regular commentator for SEC Network.
He’s also a huge fan of public radio and WBHM.
“I touch base with WBHM in the mornings and afternoons, any time I get a chance, just to catch the headlines and get a good perspective on what’s happening in the news.” Lochamy says he appreciates WBHM’s smart, in-depth presentation of the day’s most important stories.
“It has, at it’s heart, integrity,” says Lochamy. “It’s something I feel like I can trust and be better informed by. That’s what I really value about public radio.”
As a teacher, he enjoys how public radio makes dry topics engaging.
“I definitely have found myself discussing with my students things that I have heard on public radio,” says Lochamy. “That’s a pretty common occurrence actually.”
What show gives him the most material for the classroom?
“Radiolab,” he says. “I routinely tell people that everything I hear on Radiolab is just the most jaw-dropping, amazing thing ever.”
In exchange for the hours of amazement programs like Radiolab offer, Lochamy recently decided to start supporting public radio:
“I think it’s a good thing for people to stop and say, ‘Well, if I haven’t done it before, this would be a good time to go ahead and put a little bit of money where my mouth is, and where my ears are, and support the station.'”
Linda Stephan is a local artist and art historian who values reporting from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM. She’s lived in the Birmingham area most of her life and has taught at several area universities.
“I’m very, very interested in education and learning,” says Stephan. “That’s why I’m so supportive of the Southern Education Desk. I think it’s so important, especially in our state, which is one of the poorest in the country. We have such a challenge facing us with education.”
And she sees how education and reporting together can affect the individual and the collective.
“One of the core principals of my being is that people need to be informed. I think if we’re better informed we make better choices, we have a better government, we have brighter people, and just a better all around community.”
She says WBHM and the Southern Education Desk work toward those goals every day.
Make your pledge now to support WBHM, the SED, and all the local, regional, and national programming you value on north-central Alabama’s public radio station. Click the player above to hear Linda herself on why she contributes.