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 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 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

same-sex marriage traditional family council
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

On the eve of oral arguments before the Arkansas Supreme Court and a federal judge, hundreds of supporters of traditional marriage rallied Wednesday morning at the state Capitol.

The event, organized by the Family Council, featured religious leaders and was designed to show support for the 2004 Arkansas constitutional amendment approved by voters that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

"We are here today to call on the Arkansas Supreme Court to simply let the people's vote for marriage stand," said Jerry Cox, president of the group.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Gov
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson says it will be January at the earliest before he decides whether to push for continuing the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

This year’s election cycle has brought millions of dollars to Arkansas media in the form of political advertising. Doug Krile is the executive director of Arkansas Broadcasting Association. He says the amount of money being spent on advertising is vastly more than years prior. 

“The amount of money being spent in Arkansas is unreal. The flood gates have really opened up,” he says. "What I’m hearing from our members is that, yes, this is unique. This has never happened before.”

Election early vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting locations across Arkansas are reported to be busy ahead of Tuesday’s election.

In Pulaski County, Circuit Clerk Larry Crane says more people than ever are opting to vote early.

"Early voting is about 40 percent higher in Pulaski County this year than it was back in 2010, which would be the same corresponding election cycle," Crane said.

"Unless something bends or breaks, we will indeed set a record on early voting and it will be a substantial increase. We are very pleased with the turnout.”

In the race for Arkansas Treasurer, the key priority repeated by the candidates is restoring credibility to the office after the corruption conviction of former Treasurer Martha Shoffner.  The three vying for the office spoke with KUAR News in advance of next month's election.

Democrat Karen Garcia touts her background.

"I am the professional accountant, not the professional politician in this race. I have 30 years of experience. I have personally been responsible for multi-million and billion dollar budgets," Garcia said.

An event this weekend in southwest Arkansas will celebrate the life and legacy of African American poet and author Maya Angelou, who died earlier this year at the age of 86. 

She was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928, but with the end of her parent’s marriage at the age of three, Angelou was sent to live with her grandmother in southwest Arkansas.

Doyle Webb
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas is suing Democratic Attorney General candidate Nate Steel, claiming he is holding two government offices which is prohibited by state law.

At a press conference Tuesday at the state GOP headquarters, Doyle Webb said Steel is working as the city attorney for the southwest Arkansas town of Nashville, while also serving as a state House member.

It’s now up to the Arkansas Supreme Court to decide whether voters will have to show photo identification at the polls next month.

On Thursday, justices heard oral arguments in an appeal of a case that challenged the law passed last year by the Republican-led Legislature.

The Little Rock Police Department is now posting online a list of all calls its officers are dispatched to, but on a half hour delay.

Over the summer, the agency began encrypting police radio traffic, saying that allowing people to hear police activity in real time on scanners or smart phone apps was compromising officer safety. Lawsuits were filed, calling it a violation of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Realtor Killed Larry Jegley Sheriff Doc Holladay
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A real estate agent, whose body was found in a shallow grave early Tuesday, had been contacted by the suspect in her murder to view a house in Scott, investigators said.

A few key details of the investigation by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office were shared during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, 33-year-old Arron Michael Lewis pleaded not guilty to preliminary charges of capital murder, kidnapping and robbery. He had been arrested by Little Rock Police Monday.