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 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, initially working as morning news anchor. Later Michael became 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. 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

Little Rock Nine
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Four days of events marking the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School got underway Friday with the eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine speaking to reporters. It comes amid a time of uncertainty for public schools as Arkansas has seen a rapid growth of publicly funded charter schools and what some view as a resegregating of schools.

World War I Sabin Howard
Sabin Howard

Work is progressing ahead of a ceremonial groundbreaking on Nov. 9 for a National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC commemorating the service of Americans in the military. The memorial likely won’t be completed as initially hoped in time for 100th anniversary of the end of the war, but substantial work should be visible by then.

One Heart Playground
Jeff Caplinger / City of North Little Rock

A specially designed playground for children with varying degrees of physical impairments is to open Thursday at North Little Rock’s Burns Park. The One Heart Playground will also accommodate adults with disabilities who want to be with children as they play.

A grand opening is set for 2 p.m. at the playground, which is near the Funland Amusement Park and the rocket slide. But the cost of the project ended up being more than had been originally anticipated.

With one week before a deadline for entities to apply for licenses to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana, officials still haven't received as many applications as expected.

As of midday Monday, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said 27 applications for dispensaries had been received. That’s five fewer than the 32 officials expected to be approved, though more applications are expected in the coming days.

11 applications for cultivation facilities have been received, with five to be approved.

Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie and shows a progress chart to reporters alongside Division of Children and Family Services Director Mischa Martin.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A year after Arkansas reached an alarming record in the number of children in foster care – and the governor said the system was in crisis – the state’s top child welfare officials say significant improvements have been made. But in a meeting with reporters Wednesday, they acknowledged there’s still much more work to be done.

Former President Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former President Bill Clinton is to deliver the keynote address at a ceremony next month that will cap four days of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School. The eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine, who integrated the formerly all-white school in 1957, are also expected to take part.

Arkansas Department of Transportation

UPDATE: Tuesday afternoon, the Arkansas Department of Transportation announced stationary traffic cameras can now be viewed on the traveler information website www.idrivearkansas.com. Visitors to the website will have to click on the traffic light image on the right side of the screen, make sure "traffic cameras" is clicked, then can select any camera to view from a map of the state.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Deputy Timothy Braden
Drew County Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy has died after an accident that  authorities say occurred during a police chase. Arkansas State Police identified the deputy as 29-year-old Timothy Braden who was with the Drew County Sheriff’s office.

A report says he tried to stop a vehicle early Thursday near Monticello, with the driver refusing to stop. Both vehicles were then involved in an accident.

Michael Hibblen
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shared his thoughts with a national audience on President Trump's response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. In an interview Friday on NPR's All Things Considered, the Arkansas Republican said the president needs to send a clear message that "white supremacy, neo-Nazism has no place in American values."

But Hutchinson also spoke against the removal of Confederate statues and monuments, saying it would be dismantling history.  

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An attorney for an Arkansas death row inmate is asking Gov. Asa Hutchinson to deny Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s request to set a date for his execution. Jack Gordon Greene was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of Sidney Jethro Burnett at his home in Johnson County.

Greene’s court-appointed attorney is John C. Williams with the office of the Federal Public Defender. He argues that Greene’s declining mental state could render his execution unconstitutional.

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