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


Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivered his first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday evening, calling on the U.S. to increase defense spending to combat what he called growing threats to national security.

The speech comes after he received widespread national attention last week for authoring a letter signed by 46 other Republicans warning Iran that any nuclear agreement reached by the Obama administration could be revoked after the President leaves office in two years.

Charlie Collins
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

A bill passed in the Arkansas House of Representatives Monday would require public universities to allow faculty and staff with concealed carry permits to bring firearms on campus. It now heads to the Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville, said during debate that the proposal would serve as a deterrent to those considering committing a mass shooting.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge testified before a congressional committee in Washington Thursday, saying proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency would be an "economic disaster" for Arkansas.

The House Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior heard from officials about the Clean Power Plan, which in Arkansas would require cutting carbon emissions by 44 percent by 2030.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about possible “unintended consequences” of legislation scheduled to be discussed at a Senate committee meeting Wednesday.

The Conscience Protection Act would allow someone to cite religious beliefs in denying someone service. Gay rights groups say it would sanction discrimination.

Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday he has questions about how it would be applied.

LaVerne Bell-Tolliver

While the history of the integration of the Little Rock School District is largely overshadowed by the 1957 crisis at Central High School, 25 young African-Americans also faced daunting challenges in following years when they desegregated the city’s junior high schools.

On Saturday, many will be sharing their stories, some for the first time publicly, as part of the celebration of African American history month.

John Walker
Arkansas House of Representatives

Legislation that would loosen requirements for creating new school districts in Arkansas failed Tuesday in the House of Representatives, but its backer says he’ll try again.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle, where officials are studying options for leaving the Pulaski County Special School District. Sherwood is also considering creating its own district.

The proposal would reduce the number of students needed to form a new district from 4,000 to 2,500, which would be more in line with what those communities would have.

Arkansas River
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Funding for a key project to protect commercial river traffic on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is included in President Barack Obama’s 2016 federal budget, which was delivered to Congress Monday.

With many similar projects vying for funding, officials with the Arkansas Waterways Commission are celebrating the news.

state board of education little rock school district takeover
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

By a 5-4 vote, the Arkansas State Board of Education Wednesday approved a state takeover of the Little Rock School District. It came after an impassioned five hour meeting, that included comments from parents, students, state lawmakers and school officials overwhelmingly opposed to the takeover. 

Little Rock Superintendent Dexter Suggs, who has only been on the job a year and a half, asked the board for time to make changes, saying progress was being made. 

Asa Hutchinson private option medicaid
Arkansas Times

Arkansas’s Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling for the state’s Republican controlled legislature to keep funding its version of Medicaid expansion, at least for two more years, without adding any changes. Hutchinson revealed his position Thursday for the first time in an address at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It took workers using two excavators a little less than an hour to bring down the old Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock. The dome-shaped building at the corner of University and Asher Avenues ran many of the top films of its day.

Built in the late 1960s with a screen that curved at a 150 degree angle, it gave movies a big impact.  The theater was closed in 2003, considered functionally obsolete for having just one screen in an era of multiplexes. But it still had a very special place in the hearts of many who saw films there.