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

Preserve Arkansas, which each year releases a list of 10 most endangered places, has released its list for 2017.  

From the group's press release:

Cemeteries, Burial Grounds, and Graveyards
Statewide

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made it official Tuesday, announcing that he is seeking a second term in office.

"I wanted to make clear what everybody suspected, I hope, and that is that I’m running for reelection. I’m honored to serve the people of our state. We’ve accomplished a lot," Hutchinson said in an interview with KUAR. "I’ve concentrated on economic development, job creation, had some success there, and want to continue to be able to serve."

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Union Pacific, which is the largest railroad operating in Arkansas, is working with local law enforcement agencies in an effort to crack down on drivers going around lowered crossing gates in front of approaching trains. They also watch for people trespassing by walking on railroad tracks or doing anything else considered unsafe.

About a dozen Little Rock Police officers took part in an operation this past week in the southwest part of the city. It was the latest effort in an ongoing campaign.

Members of Arkansas's congressional delegation, all Republicans, are responding to the unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, three of the six had released written statements while a spokesman for another offered a brief response. But the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas called the situation a "constitutional crisis" and said the delegation should demand an independent investigation.

Three big topics on KUAR’s Week-In-Review Podcast:

-Record flooding in northern Arkansas prompts a big response to save lives and property. We talk with KASU reporter Johnathan Reaves about what he has seen and calls for improvements to the state’s levees after another failure leaves a town flooded.

-The Arkansas General Assembly hold a special session approving changes to the state’s Medicaid expansion program and talking about impeaching Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for demonstrating against the death penalty.

-And reaction to news that former evangelist Tony Alamo, convicted of sexually abusing children at his compound in southwest Arkansas, has died in prison. Sabrina McCormick with KTXK has been talking with many in southwest Arkansas, while we’ll air segments of a 1982 interview former KUAR news and program director Ron Breeding recorded with Alamo and his beliefs.

Flooding Black River Pocahontas
KATV, Channel 7 News

As flood waters continue to rise in northeast Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson is sending additional manpower and resources to the area. It comes as an earthen levee for the Black River near Pocahontas is apparently no longer able to hold back the water.

Hutchinson told reporters Wednesday at the state Capitol that state emergency officials have identified nine levee breaches in Randolph County alone, and that three of those "appear to be categorized as major."

Flooding
Christy Robinson / KATV, Channel 7

Powerful thunderstorms in Arkansas are being blamed for several deaths as heavy rain caused flash flooding and strong winds brought down trees and power lines. By Sunday afternoon rain had moved out of the state and flood waters were beginning to recede, but Entergy Arkansas says it could be a few days before all power is restored.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

The execution of inmate Kenneth Williams on Thursday night has prompted calls for an investigation after reports that he was lurching and convulsing about 3 minutes into the lethal injection process.

Williams is the fourth convicted killer put to death in Arkansas over a period of 8 days.

What happened last night, and how is it linked to a controversial drug used in the deadly three-drug cocktail? We'll explain.

Varner Arkansas Department of Correction Cummins Prison
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Updated at 6:45 p.m.  

Kenneth Williams, who is set to be executed Thursday at 7 p.m. killed four people in separate incidents. But relatives of the victims are mixed about whether his execution should be carried out. Loved ones for the man whose case led to the death sentence are supporting the lethal injection, but relatives of another victim say the execution would only cause more pain.

As Arkansas's execution plans, initially scheduling an unprecedented eight lethal injections over an 11 day period drew national and international attention, news staff from KUAR and Arkansas Public Media have been reporting the blow-by-blow developments for NPR programs and news outlets worldwide. Below you can hear or find links to many of those reports. The entire news team has also been regularly filing short newscast reports for NPR News.

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