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.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Ways to Connect

The pending election dominates this week's podcast, with the KUAR news staff talking with voters, discussing the last minute invalidation of one of two medical marijuana proposals, and taking an in-depth look at issues 1 and 3.

We also have Gov. Asa Hutchinson on funding cuts for Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium and talk with a lawmaker proposing his own budget cuts that he wants considered in next year's legislative session.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas legislator is proposing a plan to cut state income taxes by $105 million. Wage earners who make less than $21,000 a year would pay no income taxes, while those earning $35,000 to $50,000 would see tax cuts.

Northwest Arkansas Republican Bart Hester says his proposal would benefit nearly 600,000 taxpayers.

Early voting
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Early voting got underway in Arkansas Monday, with many voters saying they're ready for this campaign season, and the presidential race in particular, to be done.

"It was a hot mess, quite frankly," Paul Silman said with a laugh, "so I cannot wait for it to be over." He was among a steady stream of people casting ballots at the Pulaski County Regional Building in downtown Little Rock.

Pam Henline said it was important that she come out on the first day of early voting.

Jarl Mohn
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The head of NPR is on a road trip across America, which Wednesday brought him through Arkansas where he stopped for lunch with the staff of UALR Public Radio.

It’s a three week trip for network CEO Jarl Mohn and his wife. He spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen about his background, the future of public radio, and the impact the presidential election is having on NPR. You can hear the full discussion above.

MICHAEL HIBBLEN: Tell me about this road trip. What are you doing?

On this week's podcast, a look at Arkansas political candidates discussing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Arkansas Supreme Court rulings removing a couple of proposed constitutional amendments from consideration in next month's election, and the demolition of the Broadway Bridge not going quite as expected.

You can listen to the podcast above or Subscribe on iTunes.

The 25th annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival begins this weekend. More than 100 documentaries will be screened over 10 days, with many filmmakers taking part in discussions afterward. You can find a full lineup of  documentaries and events here.

Matt DeCample, communications director of the festival, says one highlight this year is a showing of For the Love of Spock, a look at Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy. 

Command And Control
PBS

Screenings are planned around the state this coming weekend for the new documentary thriller Command & Control. It looks at the September 1980 accident at a Titan II Missile silo involving a nuclear weapon in the north Arkansas town of Damascus.

A worker doing routine maintenance on the missile dropped a socket from a wrench which fell, puncturing the rocket's fuel tank, causing it to leak. The film’s director, Robert Kenner, says the military was unprepared for the accident or how to respond, with those involved doing the best they could in the situation.

Betse & Clark the Creek Rocks
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Betse & Clarke, a fiddle and banjo duo from Kansas City, Missouri, performed with Springfield, Missouri group the Creek Rocks live on KUAR's Not Necessarily Nashville Saturday evening before a show later that night in Little Rock. You can hear segments of the broadcast above.

On this week's podcast, the news team discusses the arrest of Arkansas state Representative John Walker while filming a police traffic stop, the closure of the Broadway Bridge between Little Rock and North Little Rock, and testing that has wrapped up to check for contamination in the Buffalo River by a nearby hog farm.

You can listen to the podcast above or Subscribe on iTunes.

Clean Line
Arkansas Business

Federal lawsuits are pending over a project to build a transmission line through Arkansas delivering wind energy from Oklahoma to the Memphis area. In this week’s issue of Arkansas Business there’s a closer look at the arguments involved in the case involving two groups of landowners who would have to sell property. 

From reporter Kyle Massey:

Who wouldn’t support a project that promises to bring cheap, clean power to 160,000 Arkansas homes along with hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars for state landowners and schools?

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