Early this week, I had one of those pullover in the car to listen to the radio moments.
It was after lunch, and as usual, driving back home, I was listening to WBHM.
What made me pullover?
A national radio broadcast was talking about Birmingham’s growing tech sector and Shipt.
On air at the time was Here & Now, a public radio magazine program produced by NPR and WBUR in Boston and distributed across the United States by NPR to over 450 stations.
The popular “deep dive into the news” and human interests program has an estimated weekly listening audience of 4.5 million people.
Stories on Birmingham
Within the past month, Here & Now has provided its national audience two powerful stories about Birmingham’s past and its future.
On April 30th, the program told the story of Sarah Collins Rudolph, the fifth little girl that survived the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Titled – 4 Little Girls Died In The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing In 1963. A 5th Survived – Here & Now host Robin Young interviews Rudolph about losing her sister Addie Mae Collins and her own subsequent struggles, years after the tragic event. An excerpt:
“Rudolph says she’s not surprised that many have never heard of her. She says she was “just a survivor.” But she admits, with a little prodding, that she’s a carrier of history. In fact, she remembers every detail of that Sept. 15, 1963. “
It is a deeply personal eleven minute interview and story.
Shipt and Birmingham’s Future
The second Here & Now Story was about Shipt and the ongoing transformation of Birmingham.
The May 15th story titled – Once An Industrial Hub, This Alabama City Is Attracting Tech Talent To The South – featured Shipt’s founder Bill Smith, their CEO Kelly Caruso and Shipt shopper Blakely Segroves.
Here & Now does a wonderful job capturing Smith’s story – how he came up with the idea of Shipt and why he loves the Magic City.
From the May 15th Here & Now broadcast:
Smith, a high school dropout who’s become something of a hometown hero, says keeping the business local was his key to success.
“It is the culture here, and culture in the South is treating people well, and loyalty and … extra special touches,” he says. “And I love Birmingham. I grew up here and I am so motivated to make this the best place it can possibly be.”
Both Here & Now stories examine Birmingham’s past and our march toward a brighter future, especially in the tech sector nationwide.
They are both “must hear” stories
More NPR stories about Birmingham coming
According to Chuck Holmes, WBHM’s General Manager, Here & Now host Robin Young was in Birmingham in April for 3-4 days and actually aired a show from the WBHM studios.
He informed Bham Now more national NPR shows are coming. For example, the host of the interview show 1A, Joshua Johnson, is scheduled to air stories about Birmingham and Alabama in November on 1A Across America.
WBHM has also launched One Small Step, a national project by StoryCorps aimed at examining and breaking down boundaries created by politics. WBHM is one of just six stations from across the United Stated chosen to participate in this exciting initiative. It is likely, subsequent national stories about Birmingham will follow.
Participate in One Small Step
One Small Step is looking for participants from all walks of life. Check out their program – HERE.