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

Jeremy Gillam Arkansas House of Representatives
www.arkansashouse.org

The 2016 fiscal session of the Arkansas Legislature was formally adjourned Monday. With no major issues to address since last week’s passage of a final budget, lawmakers quickly wrapped up the session.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam told colleagues that after "communicating with the Senate and determining there is no further business necessary to come before the fiscal session of the 90th General Assembly and in accordance with the provisions of the House concurrent resolution 1001, the House of Representatives is hereby adjourned sine die.”

Arkansas Senate
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are to formally adjourn the bi-annual fiscal session of the legislature Monday, with a general consensus that it was a productive, bi-partisan effort.

Last week included passage of a formal budget for the coming fiscal year. The start of the session saw debate and eventually approval of legislation to allow Arkansas to accept federal healthcare dollars to continue the state's Medicaid expansion plan, providing coverage for more than a quarter million low income residents.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast.
Michael Hibblen

As the Arkansas Legislature prepares to adjourn the fiscal session on Monday, the KUAR news staff looks at this week's passage of a state budget for the coming year. 

We also share the governor's concerns about non-budgetary items being taken up and plans for a special session later in the month on highway funding.

The main campus of the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
UAMS

With Arkansas ranked as the most obese state in the nation, a new study out this week is getting a lot of attention.

It looked at how most former contestants on the reality TV show The Biggest Loser eventually regained much of the weight that was lost. In particular, the research showed a disproportionate reduction in metabolic rates with a drop in weight.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast.
Michael Hibblen

The battle over the future of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Medicaid expansion plan takes center stage on KUAR's podcast, with lawmakers recessed until Tuesday amid a standoff about funding. Jacob Kauffman reports on developments he's covered this week at the Capitol, while Chris Hickey speaks with state agency heads about the impacts to them if the healthcare plan for low income Arkansans isn't renewed.    

The news staff also discusses developments in education this week, the state's jobless rate dropping to an all-time low, and the death of longtime Congressman Ray Thornton.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast.
Michael Hibblen

It's nothing  but Medicaid expansion special session talk on this week's podcast from the KUAR News crew.

We'll take a look at what was and wasn't on the call. Arkansas Works passes with comfortable margins in this week's long-anticipated special session but a bigger hurdle looms for the governor's healthcare plan for over 250,000 Arkansans in next week's fiscal session.

Can the Republican governor unite his party around healthcare expansion made possible by the Affordable Care Act?

Charlie Collins
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas legislators have given initial approval to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to continue a modified form of the state's Medicaid expansion, but the margins suggest it will be an uphill battle to approve funding.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast.
Michael Hibblen

On this week's podcast, the KUAR news staff discusses preparations for next week's special session of the Arkansas Legislature on healthcare, the debate over whether the state should continue to elect high court judges and the decision to expand charter schools in Little Rock.

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

World War I Memorial Joseph Weishaar
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A native Arkansan is leading the design of a World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. On Thursday, 25-year-old Joseph Weishaar was honored for his role in the project during a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol that formally established a centennial commemoration committee for the state.

Weishaar is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture who today lives in Chicago, but is preparing to move to Washington to oversee the project.

Wes Flanigan UALR Little Rock Trojans
Nelson Chenault / UALR

Wes Flanigan is the new head coach of the Little Rock Trojans. He takes over for Chris Beard, who led the men’s basketball team to a record season and the NCAA tournament this year. Beard has now been hired by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Flanigan has spent five years with the UALR program and most recently served as associate coach.

School officials made the announcement Thursday, with Director of Athletics Chasse Conque saying Flanigan "brings a wealth of experience, strong recruiting ties and a tireless worth ethic to the position."

Pages