Michael Hibblen

News Director

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR News. He handles assignments for the 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 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.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Ways To Connect

Governor's Working Group on Highway Funding
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The head of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the state's senior U.S. Senator are disappointed with the apparent inability of Congress to pass a long-term highway funding bill. 

This week the KUAR news staff discusses a couple of new state laws. One bans cities and counties from enforcing ordinances like anti-discrimination measures on sexual orientation or gender identity. Another makes "rehoming" a felony. Task forces looking into Common Core standards and computer science in public schools are making progress. And a look at monuments to the Confederacy in Arkansas.

ArkansasBusiness.com has details on the arrest of North Little Rock businessman John Rogers. He became known for buying the photo archives of major newspapers across the country and dealing in sports memorabilia like rare baseball cards. But Rogers has been dogged by a series of fraud allegations by banks, business associates, clients and investors.

Eureka Springs
commons.wikimedia.org

A new state law takes effect Wednesday that prohibits Arkansas cities and counties from enacting anti-discrimination measures that are not covered in state law. But a challenge is expected as Eureka Springs city leaders say they will continue enforcing a local ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Tornado mayflower
National Weather Service

A $1 million federal grant will go toward building a saferoom at the new Vilonia Intermediate School.

The Faulkner County school was under construction when it was destroyed by a tornado on April 27, 2014. 16 people were killed statewide in the storm.

As temperatures have become dangerously hot, nearing the 100 degree mark in Little Rock, the city is opening three cooling centers Tuesday for those without a place to get out of the heat. At this point they’re scheduled to be open through Friday.

"As the summer heat persists, we will continue to monitor the situation to see how long we may need to keep these cooling centers open," City Manager Bruce Moore said in a press release.

The cooling centers are located at:

On KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast, the news staff discusses ongoing talks between Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders over the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, an appeals court refusing to reconsider its ruling on a 12 week abortion ban, the state Board of Educations' approval of a change for standardized testing, Rep. Bruce Westerman getting passage of a bill on managing forests and work being completed on a $150 million project to rebuild Little Rock's Big Rock Interchange.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes to hear each week's episode.

Big Rock Interchange Tom Schueck Mark Stodola Scott Bennett
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Drivers will soon be able to use all of the ramps at the Big Rock Interchange in west Little Rock, where interstates 430 and 630 meet. After more than five years of construction, the $150 million project to allow traffic to flow more smoothly is nearly complete.

KUAR's news staff reviews the week a little early, in advance of the extended 4th of July holiday weekend.

Lethal injection gets a second life in Arkansas, a pair of Purple Hearts for victims of an act of terrorism on Arkansas soil, counties start to tally the number of marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples, Little Rock's long-time performance hall makes it to a renovation checkpoint on time, a hiccup in the governor's plans for Common Core, and Confederate flags get unfurled for the 4th of July.

Robinson Auditorium
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On the one year anniversary of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium closing to begin a nearly $70 million renovation, a topping out ceremony was held Wednesday. The final steel beam that will be put in place on the expanded structure was signed by local officials, members of the design and construction teams and other guests. Work is scheduled to be completed by November 2016.

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