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

Dr. Kenneth Jones and and Dr. Laverne Bell-Tolliver were two of the 25 students who desegregated Little Rock's junior high schools in phase two of the school district's desegregation plan. Bell-Tolliver edited the book The First Twenty-Five, An Oral Histo
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The story of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School by nine black students is well known. But overshadowed is phase two of the school district’s desegregation plan, which involved 25 students attending five previously all-white junior high schools in 1961 and 1962.

Bonnie Montgomery
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bonnie Montgomery has been a fixture in the Little Rock music scene for years with a voice that has incredible range, singing deep, complicated country songs. When you learn about her background as a classically-trained opera singer who grew up in White County, Arkansas, you begin to understand how she comes to write and perform such songs.

Robinson Center
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Beginning this weekend all people attending live, ticketed performances at venues owned by the city of Little Rock will have to go through metal detectors. Those venues include Robinson Center Music Hall, First Security Amphitheater and the Statehouse Convention Center.

Efforts to improve safety at large gatherings like concerts were stepped up after October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman firing down from a hotel room at a country music festival killed 58 people and injured more than 800.

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba.
Dan Charles / NPR News

The State Plant Board will meet next Wednesday to reconsider a ban on a controversial weed killer that has divided Arkansas’s farming community. The meeting is in response to a request for changes by a subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for restrictions in the use of dicamba during next year’s growing season.

The herbicide can be sprayed on crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate it, but is blamed for widespread damage to neighboring non-resistant crops.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a pioneering gospel singer and guitar player from Arkansas, will be among the 2018 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was born in the Woodruff County town of Cotton Plant in 1915 and achieved fame in the 1930s.  Tharpe was among six acts announced Wednesday for next year's induction ceremony and will be honored in the category Early Influences. 

Stephen Koch, host of the weekly feature Arkansongs, says given her influence, it’s an honor long overdue. He spoke with KUAR during All Things Considered.

Wendy Reaves (seated) speaks to members of the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission with her daughter Regan and Gov. Asa Hutchinson looking on.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says diverting money from Arkansas’s tobacco settlement to help people with developmental disabilities has cut the number of families on a waiting list by 500.

Speaking at the quarterly meeting of the state’s Tobacco Settlement Commission Tuesday, Hutchinson praised commissioners for supporting a proposal he made in September 2016.

"You embraced that idea, which I wanted to thank you for," he said.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

For a few hours Friday the Arkansas Department of Health did not issue any birth certificates, per a judge’s order. Gov. Asa Hutchinson eventually issued a directive that the department treat married lesbian couples the same as married heterosexual couples and to include the names of both spouses on birth certificates.

Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox took the action Friday morning, suggesting the state was delaying making a fix to the state’s birth certificate law, which the nation’s highest court said was unjust.

J. Matthew Grant / University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas’s Department of Physics in Fayetteville has announced progress that could lead to a great reduction in the size of electronics. Assistant Professor Dr. Hugh Churchill spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen to explain this development.

An east Arkansas school district is being taken over by the state, effective Monday.

The Department of Education says a review last month found the Earle School District had "substantial audit violations and unallowable expenses." Close to $2 million in improper expenditures of state and federal funds are alleged beginning in the fall of 2015.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement: 

Public radio icon Garrison Keillor will be in Little Rock Tuesday for a live performance at Robinson Center Music Hall. In advance of the show, the 75-year-old spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen about life after retiring from his long running program A Prairie Home Companion, his connections to Arkansas, and his thoughts on current affairs. The interview was recorded Thursday as Keillor was traveling to a show in Asheville, North Carolina.

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