Michael Hibblen

News Director

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR News. He directs activities of 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 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

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A program that advocates say has saved the lives of hundreds of dogs while helping to rehabilitate Arkansas prison inmates was honored Friday at the state Capitol.

Paws in Prison, which was modeled on programs in other states, started in Arkansas in 2011 and matches dogs that are in animal shelters and otherwise would be euthanized with select prison inmates.

Doctor Mary Parker-Reed, vice-chair of the Arkansas Board of Corrections, says it has proven to be very effective.

Antonin Scalia Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is to speak in north Arkansas Thursday evening.

The program at the Mountain Home campus of Arkansas State University is free and open to the general public, though tickets are required. A limited number are available by calling 870-508-6280.

The event, “A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” begins at 6:30 at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center. Tickets can be picked up at the box office.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Its been 30 years since a legendary Little Rock radio station changed formats, marking the end of a key chapter for Arkansas media. This past weekend, many former employees of KAAY-AM 1090 got together to share stories and reflect on changes in the industry.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

After quick work by the Arkansas Legislature, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a revised religious objections bill into law Thursday.

The signing ceremony took place shortly after the House approved a new bill, which replaced one that had drawn criticism from many who suggested it was anti-gay. The new bill more closely mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The national attention on "religious freedom" laws shifted from Indiana to Arkansas on Wednesday.

Arkansas received a heavy backlash from gay-rights groups and the business community with its bill that some say would allow discrimination of gay people. HB 1228 would let companies deny service to anyone if it conflicts with religious beliefs.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson had been saying as recently as last week that he would support the bill as it was written, but on Wednesday asked lawmakers to recall the legislation and make modifications.

Stricklin Family

The music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys is getting renewed attention with the release this month of a new tribute CD by Asleep at the Wheel, which features guest appearances by many of the most revered names in country music.

Wills was considered co-founder of western swing and had an immense influence through his recordings, radio appearances and live performances.


Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivered his first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday evening, calling on the U.S. to increase defense spending to combat what he called growing threats to national security.

The speech comes after he received widespread national attention last week for authoring a letter signed by 46 other Republicans warning Iran that any nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration could be revoked after the President leaves office in two years.

Charlie Collins
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

A bill passed in the Arkansas House of Representatives Monday would require public universities to allow faculty and staff with concealed carry permits to bring firearms on campus. It now heads to the Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville, said during debate that the proposal would serve as a deterrent to those considering committing a mass shooting.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge testified before a congressional committee in Washington Thursday, saying proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency would be an "economic disaster" for Arkansas.

The House Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior heard from officials about the Clean Power Plan, which in Arkansas would require cutting carbon emissions by 44 percent by 2030.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about possible “unintended consequences” of legislation scheduled to be discussed at a Senate committee meeting Wednesday.

The Conscience Protection Act would allow someone to cite religious beliefs in denying someone service. Gay rights groups say it would sanction discrimination.

Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday he has questions about how it would be applied.