Michael Hibblen

News Director

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR. He handles assignments for the news staff, helps develop story ideas and edits copy. Michael is responsible for starting a news-sharing partnership between public radio stations in Arkansas in 2009 which laid the foundation for what became Arkansas Public Media. He is also a regular panelist and fill-in host 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 a 1993 internship 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 CBS Radio News, covering major stories in the region, including the anthrax attack at a tabloid publisher, an international custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, and the 2000 presidential election recount. He was hired by daily newspaper the Miami Herald in 2003 when it partnered with NPR station WLRN providing its local news. Michael initially worked as a morning news anchor and reporter, later becoming the department's 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 the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May of 2013. Michael also enjoys researching radio and railroad history in the state and is author of Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in April 2017.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Ways to Connect

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Chris Ware/Getty Images/NPR.org

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an Arkansas-native who influenced musicians later credited with creating rock and roll, is one of six acts being inducted this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Born in the Woodruff County town of Cotton Plant in 1915, Tharpe is being posthumously inducted during a ceremony Saturday night in Cleveland.

Tharpe rose to fame in the 1930s, breaking boundaries by being an African-American woman who sang while playing an electric guitar with heavy distortion. Her style would later be adopted by blues performers and iconic rock guitarists.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A North Little Rock engineering firm has been chosen to begin design on the Southwest Trail, a 67 mile biking and walking path that will connect Hot Springs and Little Rock. Garver LLC will begin the preliminary design, which is also called the “65 percent” design.

Opioid Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas is suing three drug makers claiming they’re at fault for the opioid crisis that has caused a drastic increase in the number of overdose deaths in Arkansas.

Connecticut Department of Public Health

203 people in Arkansas have died from the flu this season, according to the latest report issued Tuesday by the state Department of Health. That’s an increase of six since last week.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations, says while the flu is winding down for the season, the death toll is expected to keep rising.

"We’ll continue to likely get more deaths reported as the reporting process continues to go through the steps needed," she said.

Overall, reports from Arkansas’s 75 counties show fewer people are being impacted.

Central High School
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Cheryl May Arkansas School Safety Commission
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A panel tasked by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to make recommendations on how schools can try to prevent mass shootings has begun its work. On Tuesday, the Arkansas School Safety Commission held its first meeting. You can hear the report above.

Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bill Clinton was known as the rock ‘n’ roll president – the first from a generation that grew up on the music to reach the highest office in the nation. Sunday, he spoke at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock at the opening of a temporary exhibit that looks at the impact rock music has had over the years on politics and social movements.

marijuana
npr.org

The five companies selected to cultivate medical marijuana in Arkansas should soon be able to set up shop and begin growing. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, said Friday that since the top companies were named last week by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, all have met their  required financial obligations.

"Over the past week we’ve been receiving the licensing fees from the companies, we’ve been receiving the performance bonds, and as of this morning, all five companies have paid," Hardin said.

Dr. Christopher M. Jones at a 3D printer inside the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

A new executive director and lead maker has been named for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. The non-profit based in North Little Rock provides cutting edge tools like 3D printers and advanced computer technology to inspire people, help them learn and create.

Leslie Rutledge
Governor's Office / You Tube

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will likely ask the governor to set an execution date for a convicted killer after a ruling by the state Supreme Court.

On Thursday the high court said two inmates – who came within hours of being executed last year – were not entitled to special assistance from mental health professionals during their trials.

Bruce Ward and Don Davis won last minute stays after claiming independent psychiatrists should have been available to help develop trial strategies.

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