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

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Former Arkansas state Sen. Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for what the judge called "egregious" violations. The Republican of Fort Smith pleaded guilty in January to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

A revised set of standards for accrediting Arkansas public schools is scheduled to be considered Tuesday afternoon by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council. 

The changes were unanimously approved May 30 by the Arkansas Board of Education, despite concerns from some like board Chairman Jay Barth who worry the new rules could be too much of a departure from a uniform set of standards.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a challenge by the state to a circuit judge’s order that halted the issuing of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. It was also revealed that investigators are looking into allegations that a bribe was offered by one company to a member of the Medical Marijuana Commission.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the process for how the commission decided which companies would get five licenses was constitutionally flawed.

Almost 25 years to the day that Conway Twitty died at the age of 59, relatives, former bandmates and fans of the country and rockabilly singer gathered Friday in his hometown of Helena, Arkansas for a celebration of his life. 

Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in 1933 at Friars Point, Mississippi, his family moved to east Arkansas at the age of 10. After serving in the military, he returned home and had to decide between two dreams: music or baseball, according to Doug Friedlander, organizer of Friday's events. Inspired by the sound of Elvis Pressley, Jenkins traveled to Memphis, working with Sam Phillips at Sun Records.

Asa Hutchinson III
Washington Co. Sheriff's Office

The son of Gov. Asa Hutchinson has again been arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities report.

An Arkansas State Police tropper stopped William Asa Hutchinson III in Washington County early Monday for allegedly driving 88 miles-per-hour in an area where the speed limit is 70. Hutcinson reportedly had bloodshot eyes, prompting the trooper to investigate whether he was intoxicated. He was speeding, DWI, violation of the implied consent law. The final charge was because he refused to submit to a test that would determine his blood-alcohol content.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

As Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson faces a challenge from the right in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, he now has the backing of President Trump.

The endorsement came in the form of a tweet Monday evening after Hutchinson and four other Republican governors dined with the president at the White House to discuss border security and other issues. Trump wrote on Twitter that Hutchinson had “done an incredible job with a focus on lower taxes, border security and crime prevention.”

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was expected to testify Friday morning in a lawsuit accusing her of obstructing ballot initiatives in her role of approving the language of items being placed on the ballot. But as the hearing was getting underway, it was announced that the trail was being moved from state court to federal court.

It comes just days after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Griffen issued a strongly worded opinion ordering Mr. Rutledge to testify and not allowing her to defer it to a lower level staffer.

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

A judge is denying a request by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to quash a subpoena calling her to testify in a lawsuit.

A group that has been rejected in its efforts to get language for a ballot initiative approved by the AG’s office argued that Rutledge "has acted in bad faith" and is abusing her power. The Committee to Restore Arkansas’ Rights wants to change the sovereign immunity provision in the state constitution.

A rally will take place Tuesday afternoon in support of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It comes after last week’s announcement that The Rep was suspending operations because of financial problems. Since then people have been discussing ways to help the theater resume operations.

Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, is helping to organize Tuesday's event, which begins at 5 p.m. in front of The Rep at 601 Main Street in Little Rock.

Rutherford spoke with KUAR in advance of the rally. You can listen to the interview above or read a transcript below.

Ben Fry
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Toys of Desperation, a posthumously-released novel, written by longtime KUAR Station Manager Ben Fry is being featured as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival this weekend.

The book, published by Et. Alia Press, is about Billy Williams, who lives in the fictional town of Weir Arkansas. He traverses the town on his bike crossing the railroad tracks, while the 1973 Watergate hearings are being televised. Billy Williams hears the voice of his father and sets out to find what it is that his father is telling him.

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