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

Tom Cotton Reince Priebus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee is in Arkansas, promising the state will be ground zero in the battle to seize control of the U.S. Senate this fall.

Speaking to volunteers at Tom Cotton’s campaign office Tuesday, Reince Priebus said incumbent Senator Mark Pryor lied when he said people would benefit from the president’s healthcare plan.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Fans have long traveled from around the world to see the small farm house in northeast Arkansas that Johnny Cash often talked or sang about.  After years of restoration work, it is now officially open as a musuem. A grand opening ceremony was held Saturday, drawing a large crowd to the town circle in Dyess.

Johnny Cash House
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

After years of fundraising and restoration work, Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in northeast Arkansas will officially open to the public Saturday as a museum.

The country music icon – who died 11 years ago – moved to the house in 1935 when he was three years old.  His family was one of about 500 selected to live in the town of Dyess, which was created during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. They were sold a piece of farm land at a low price in return for making contributions to the community.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A new report says central Arkansas has one of the lowest rates in the country for people who walk or ride a bicycle to work.

Metroplan released its 2014 Demographic Review and Outlook Tuesday, analyzing demographic and workforce trends. The full report can be viewed here

Jonathan Lupton, research planner for Metroplan, says only 1.3 percent of commuters pedal or walk to their jobs.

The number of Arkansans enrolled in the private option continues to grow. The Arkansas Department of Human Services said Friday that as of the end of July,192,210 had been determined eligible for the program. Spokeswoman Amy Webb says of those, about 183,000 have completed the enrollment process.

In his campaign for Arkansas governor, Democrat Mike Ross Thursday unveiled what he calls his "Seniors Bill of Rights." He detailed it during a speech in Hot Springs.  In an interview afterward, Ross said the plan would protect and empower Arkansas’s aging population.   

A new study shows Arkansas outpaced the rest of the United States in reducing the percentage of uninsured residents during the first half of 2014.

The Gallup report released Tuesday says the rate of uninsured adults fell from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in Arkansas by the middle of this year.

"It’s nice for Arkansas to be number one in the nation in something really, really good," said Gov. Mike Beebe, reacting to the report.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is vowing to join a lawsuit challenging the federal government's proposed rules for power plant emissions. He says the recommended changes, designed to reduce global warming by limiting carbin-dioxide emissions, would disproportionately impact Arkansas compared to other states.

At a press conference Monday at his campaign office in Little Rock, Hutchinson said electricity bills would increase 20 to 40 percent in Arkansas if the proposed standards are enacted.

Arkansas is hosting its annual back to school sales tax holiday this weekend.

State and local taxes won’t be charged on Saturday and Sunday for clothing that is less than $100 per item and school-related merchandise. A complete list of items and exceptions can be found here.

Human Rights Campaign HRC Kendra Johnson Brad Clark
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As part of a campaign to expand protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in three southern states, an Arkansas director has been named for the Human Rights Campaign.

Kendra Johnson was introduced during a press conference at the capitol Monday and said LGBT people are particularly vulnerable in Arkansas.