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

Two major rulings this week by the U.S. Supreme Court dominate the discussion on KUAR's Week-In-Review podcast this week. 

On Thursday, the court let stand a major provision of the Affordable Care Act, saying federal subsidies can go to states like Arkansas which did not set up state-run exchanges, but instead partner with a federal exchange. The news staff discusses the ruling and has reaction from state legislatures.

same-sex marriage 6-26-15
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Same-sex couples are getting married in Arkansas after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling Friday that state same-sex  marriage bans are unconstitutional. 

supreme court healthcare
NPR / Alex Wong/Getty Images

Thursday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are legal means that in Arkansas, nearly 70,000 Arkansans will continue to receive assistance. 

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas says he is returning a contribution from the head of a white supremacist group linked to last week’s shooting at a church in South Carolina.

Leading the program this week, the news staff talks about anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act and implications for Arkansas. 

Join the KUAR news staff for a discussion on the top stories of the week.  

On this podcast:  a fight over the first recommendation regarding Common Core educational standards, a judge ruling that Arkansas should recognize same-sex marriages conducted last year, a request for a federal disaster declaration being prepared after flooding along the Arkansas and Red rivers, a request for a formal opinion on the open carry of firearms and a federal appeals court tossing out a challenge of EPA mission standards.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas wendell griffin
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News


A judge is ordering Arkansas officials to recognize over 500 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year. It’s a move that would let the couples enjoy benefits that heterosexual couples can share.

Governor Hutchinson Seeks Federal Help For Growers Impacted By Flooding

Jun 9, 2015
Governor Asa Hutchinson flood
Sabrina McCormick Norton / KTXK News

GARLAND CITY, ARK. — Gov. Asa Hutchinson is preparing to ask for a federal disaster declaration for 37 Arkansas counties impacted by flooding.

On Tuesday, he toured damage along the Red River in the southwest corner of the state.

"Being able to fly over the flood area is about as eye-opening as you can imagine. It's much more informative really than being on the ground," Hutchinson told reporters at the foot of the U.S. Highway 82 bridge that crosses the Red River in Garland City. That bridge has been closed for more than a week, with water covering the roadway.

On KUAR's week-in-review podcast, the news staff discusses flooding along the Arkansas and Red rivers, a natural gas pipeline rupture, a Republican state lawmaker shifting to independent, the latest on the creation of the Jacksonville/ North Pulaski County School District and tour Robinson Auditorium, which is nearing the halfway point of a nearly $70 million renovation. 

You can hear the full program above.

Robinson Auditorium Center Music Hall
City of Little Rock

As workers begin to rebuild the interior of Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium, a key goal of the nearly $70 million renovation is to greatly improve its acoustics.

There had long been complaints about how live music sounded in the venue, which is the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. There were "dead spots" in the hall where the audience couldn’t properly hear the orchestra or all the instruments. That’s why the facility has been gutted and is being rebuilt inside the existing structure as part of the voter-approved project, funded with a two percent tourism tax.