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 music DJ for 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 in Little Rock, Richmond, Virginia and Miami, Florida.  During his 12 years in Miami, Michael became a nationally-heard reporter for CBS Radio News and later served as Assistant News Director for the NPR station WLRN, which worked out of the newsroom of daily newspaper The Miami Herald.  He 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



Local & Regional News
7:36 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Former Treasurer Martha Shoffner To Have Court Arraignment

Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner, who is facing extortion and bribery charges, is to have an initial appearance Thursday morning in federal court in Little Rock.

In a court filing, Shoffner said she will plead not guilty.

A federal grand jury indicted Shoffner June 5th on 14 counts. She resigned last month after the FBI arrested her at her Newport home.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe denied a request by Shoffner to waive her appearance at Thursday's arraignment.

She is accused of accepting cash payments to steer state investments to a bond broker.

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Mayflower Oil Spill
11:11 am
Thu June 13, 2013

U.S. Attorney & Arkansas AG File Joint Lawsuit Over Mayflower Oil Spill

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer speaking to reporters Thursday at ADEQ headquarters in North Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

State and federal prosecutors announced Thursday that a joint lawsuit has been filed against the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company for the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, which spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels of raw tar sands crude in a residential neighborhood.

“The oil spill disrupted lives. This oil harmed the environment and this oil spill was in violation of both state and federal law,” said Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

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Local & Regional News
5:19 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Arkansan Honored For Work On Behalf Of Kids With Parents In Prison

An Arkansas woman, who founded a group that advocates on behalf of children with incarcerated parents, was honored Wednesday at the White House.

Dee Ann Newell, executive director of Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind, was one of 12 people from around the country honored as a “Champion of Change.”

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Local & Regional News
5:56 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Highway Commissioner Burkhalter To Announce Campaign

Credit Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept.

Arkansas Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter says he will make an announcement Tuesday that will run for a statewide office, but isn't saying which one.

There has been a lot of speculation in recent months that Burkhalter is considering a run for the Democratic nomination for Governor.  Sitting Governor Mike Beebe is term-limited and can not run for re-election.

Burkhalter, who is also a small business owner and entrepreneur, has close ties to Beebe, as well as former President Bill Clinton.

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Not Necessarily Nashville
8:09 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

Amy Garland Plays New Songs Live On Not Necessarily Nashville

Flap Jones, Nick Devlin and Amy Garland in the KUAR studio during Not Necessarily Nashville, Saturday, June 8, 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

In advance of a CD release party later that evening, Amy Garland joined Flap Jones live on Not Necessarily Nashville to play a few songs and talk about her music.  Also joining Amy at KUAR to play guitar was Nick Devlin .

The new CD Hang A Light came out this month, and its release was marked with a performance at the Whitewater Tavern in Little Rock.

You can listen to excerpts of that week's program above.

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Local & Regional News
4:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Judge Rejects Guilty Plea From Ex-Arkansas treasurer

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer speaking with reporters outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner and prosecutors had agreed on terms of a plea deal, but Friday afternoon it was rejected by a federal judge.

“There were questions that I wasn’t comfortable with,” Shoffner told reporters as she left the courthouse in Little Rock.

Judge Leon Holmes questioned her during the hearing, asking if she understood the terms of the plea. She said “Yes.”

He also asked if Shoffner had taken the payments from a bond broker as alleged by prosecutors. She said “Yes, but it was offered. I didn’t demand it.”

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Local & Regional News
7:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Inside Union Pacific's North Little Rock Rail Yard

A freight train travels through the Union Pacific yard in North Little Rock, with the Arkansas Capitol in the background.
Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

Railroads have long been a key industry for Arkansas, with North Little Rock today being the home of one of the largest rail yards for Union Pacific.

The sprawling grounds are busy 24 hours a day with arriving and departing freight trains.

It’s a complicated process, sorting rail cars that arrive from all over the country, changing crews and servicing the equipment.

Directing the action from the top of a tower in the center of the yard is General Yard Master Robby Robelot. He says the biggest challenge is coordination and timing.

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Treasurer Kickbacks
5:54 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

US Attorney: State Treasurer's Alleged Actions Erode Public Trust

US Attorney Chris Thyer (at podium) told reporters after Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner's arraignment hearing that she was arrested over the weekend after accepting $6,000 from an FBI informant.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Chris Thyer said Monday that allegations against state Treasurer Martha Shoffner are grave.

He spoke to reporters after Shoffner made her initial court appearance on charges she accepted money from a broker in return for investing state money with that broker.

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Local & Regional News
4:37 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

State Treasurer Martha Shoffer To Have Hearing On Extortion Charges

A mug shot of Martha Shoffner after she was arrested Saturday.
Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner is to go before a federal judge Monday, after being arrested over the weekend on charges of extortion.

FBI spokeswoman Kimberly Brunell says agents arrested Shoffner Saturday at her home in Newport.

The Democrat serving her second term has been under scrutiny because of how her office has handled state investments.

Legislative auditors say that in 2011, 11 bonds were sold from the state’s investment portfolio before they had matured, resulting in a net loss of more than $434,000 worth of earnings.

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Local & Regional News
1:03 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Judge Grants Injunction In Arkansas Abortion Ban Case

State Senator Jason Rapert, sponsor of the 12-week abortion ban, speaking to reporters after Friday's ruling
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge has granted a request to temporarily block enforcement of a new Arkansas law that bans most abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright granted a motion Friday for a preliminary injunction against the ban, set to take effect in August.

The state's Republican-led Legislature enacted the ban in March by overriding a veto from Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

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