Michael Hibblen

News Director

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR News. He handles assignments for the the news staff, helps develop story ideas and edits news copy. Michael is responsible for starting a news-sharing network between public radio stations in Arkansas. He is also a regular panelist on AETN's Arkansas Week, where journalists discuss issues in the news.

A native of North Little Rock, Michael started in radio in 1988, spending his first five years as a DJ for music stations in central and northeast Arkansas. After an internship in 1993 at the C-SPAN Cable Network in Washington, DC, he transitioned to news, working for commercial radio stations KARN in Little Rock, WRVA in Richmond, Virginia and WIOD in Miami, Florida. In 2000, Michael became a nationally heard, Miami-based reporter for the radio division of CBS News, covering major stories in the region, including the anthrax attack at a tabloid publisher, an international custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, a plane crash in the Bahamas that killed R&B singer Aaliyah and the 2000 presidential election recount. He was hired by the Miami Herald with the launch of its radio department in 2003, which provides local newscasts for NPR station WLRN. Initially he worked as morning anchor, later becoming department editor, then assistant news director. He also wrote frequently for the newspaper.

Michael returned home to Little Rock in 2009 to work for KUAR. At that time he also resumed taking classes at UALR to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May of 2013.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Ways To Connect

On this week's podcast, we discuss Governor Asa Hutchinson's Summit calling on the faithful to help address a lack of foster care beds and the difficulties parolees face in the state. We look at the strategy of state regulators tasked with implementing the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. We talk about the visit to Little Rock of Dr. Ben Carson, the fourth Republican Presidential candidate to come through Arkansas. And there's a new state Supreme Court Justice in town, who is he?

2016 GOP presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee.
C-SPAN

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be in Little Rock for a fundraiser Monday night. The former Arkansas governor is also celebrating his 60th birthday.

The event is an invitation only affair at Next Level Events at the Little Rock train station. Huckabee’s wife Janet and their five grandchildren are expected to be there. His campaign says there will be BBQ and birthday cake.

The top story this week: Gov. Asa Hutchinson lays out a seven-point plan to continue the state's participation in the Medicaid expansion through the private option, though officials also resume sending cancellation notices to those who didn't respond to verification request.

www.eagnews.org

The Little Rock School District will be allowing high school students to carry their cell phones with them during the school day as part of a pilot policy.

In the past, students who brought their phones on campus were required to leave them in their lockers during the day. But the district announced Thursday that effective immediately, that’s changing.

This week the KUAR News team discusses Arkansas’s plan to resume executions, a consent decree over the 2013 oil spill in Mayflower, new terms of negotiation for the teachers’ union in Little Rock, Arkansas’s rank as first in the nation for cutting the uninsured rate since the Affordable Care Act, a visit from 2016 GOP contender Ted Cruz, and a campaign to restore the home of Daisy Bates.

Susan Hutchinton Dale Charles Daisy Bates House Little Rock Nine
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The foundation that oversees the house where the Little Rock Nine coordinated efforts to integrate Central High School in the 1950s is launching a fundraising campaign. For $100 each, people can have their names and messages placed on 4x8 inch bricks that will make up a sidewalk leading to the home.

It will enable further renovations of the modest home at 1207 West 28th Street where L.C. and Daisy Bates lived during the time Mrs. Bates led efforts to allow the nine African-Americans to attend the formerly all-white school.

Many Arkansas cities are taking advantage of advances in technology to improve how they operate. On Tuesday, community leaders from around the state met in Little Rock to discuss what’s possible during a Smart Cities seminar.

The city of Mulberry, near Fort Smith, is an early adopter of such technologies. Mayor Gary Baxter says they recently bought smart water meters, which are more accurate than traditional water meters and send usage data through a wireless network.

On this week's podcast, KUAR news staffers discuss cancelations to Arkansans covered by Medicaid or the private option, a potential defense for justices of the peace who don't want to conduct same-sex weddings, how former Governor Mike Huckabee fared in the Republican presidential debate and reaction to final rules for the Clean Power Plan.

Arkansas Nuclear One Entergy power plant
Wikipedia

Arkansas’s top elected officials, all Republicans, are roundly denouncing the finalized Clean Power Plan announced Monday by President Barack Obama’s administration as an expensive overreach of authority, while health and environmental advocates are praising the Environmental Protection Agency rule as a needed step to combat climate change and adverse health impacts tied to coal energy production. Meanwhile, the state's governor is calling for a plan of compliance to be developed despite his opposition to the federal rule.

Chimp chimpanzee Little Rock Zoo
Little Rock Zoo

A baby chimpanzee at the Little Rock Zoo has been named "Jumoke," which is Swahili for "everyone loves the child."

The zoo on Monday said Jumoke received 42 percent of the vote in an online poll at the zoo's website.

The chimp was born July 18 to Mahale. Afterward, the zoo asked the public to choose from among three names.

The other names on the ballot were Kibale, which is the name of a Ugandan national park, and Kgosi, which is a Setswana word for "king" or "chief."

This is Mahale's second offspring. Kendi was born Aug. 29, 2009.

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