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 and fill-in host 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 providing its local news. Michael initially worked as a morning news anchor and reporter, later becoming the department's 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 the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May of 2013. Michael also enjoys researching radio and railroad history in the state and is author of Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in April 2017.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Ways to Connect

Little Rock Airport
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock National Airport is being renamed in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The airport's commission unanimously approved the name change Tuesday after hearing comments from the public.

Arkansas House Speaker-elect Darren Williams told the panel he believes it is an appropriate way to honor the 42nd President and the Secretary of State. 

Johnny Cash boyhoood home
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On what would have been Johnny Cash's 80th birthday, dozens of family members joined hundreds of fans and residents in the east Arkansas town of Dyess Sunday to formally mark the beginning of work to restore his boyhood home.

"This project has been in the making for several years and I never thought that it would actually come to fruition," said daughter Rosanne Cash, who led the ceremony at the Dyess Community Center. "We never foresaw that it would take on this kind of life."

Michael Hibblen filled in hosting the program that week.

Johnny Cash- Like The 309 (American V: A Hundred Highways)
Rodney Crowell- Beautiful Despair (The Outsider)
Johnny Cash- I Still Miss Someone (Live at Madison Square Garden, 1969)
Johnny Cash- Five Feet High and Rising (Live at Madison Square Garden, 1969)
Johnny Cash- Pickin’ Time (Live at Madison Square Garden, 1969)

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

55 years ago, a modest home on West 28th Street in Little Rock was where the Little Rock Nine would meet to coordinate efforts to integrate Central High School.

During the days when National Guard troops kept them out of the school, it’s also where they would meet with tutors in the basement to keep up with their studies.

Today the home of L. C. and Daisy Bates is restored to the way it looked in those days and is available for tours from the National Park Service.

Arkansas Gazette
Arkansas Gazette

It was the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi River and an institution in Arkansas. This weekend former employees of the Arkansas Gazette will gather to mark the 20 year anniversary of the newspaper’s death.

The last issue of the Arkansas Gazette hit the streets on October 18, 1991, capping a fierce battle between it and the Arkansas Democrat.

Rock Island Clinton Presidential Park Bridge Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former President Bill Clinton led a dedication ceremony Friday in Little Rock for a new $10.5 million pedestrian and cycling pathway over the Arkansas River, which was built inside an old railroad bridge. He was joined by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, daughter Chelsea, and the mayors of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

"This bridge is important because first, it keeps the promise we made," Clinton told the crowd. "We came up with the money that turned out to be two and a half times what the original estimate was to complete this trail loop.  It’s important.  I’m proud of it."

It was originally hoped that work to renovate the bridge, which was built in 1899, would be completed in time for the dedication of the Clinton Presidential Center in 2004.  But increasing costs led to it being repeatedly delayed.

Johnny Cash Festival
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A sold out show at Arkansas State University raised more than $310,000 for the restoration of the boyhood home of music legend Johnny Cash in the east Arkansas town of Dyess.

Four generations of the Cash family, including daughter Rosanne Cash, son-in-law Rodney Crowell and son John Carter Cash were on hand to pay homage to Cash, as were many of his longtime friends like Kris Kristofferson.

Two Rivers Park Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hundreds of people came out Friday, many with their bicycles, for the dedication of the new Two Rivers Park Bridge.

"Welcome to your new bridge!” Pulaksi County Judge Buddy Villines said to a cheering crowd. 

The $5 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge crosses the Little Maumelle River where it meets the Arkansas River and links the Arkansas River Trail with Two Rivers Park. Construction of the bridge, which took a year build, was funded with 80 percent federal dollars and Pulaski County paying the rest. 

Dogpatch USA
wikipedia

It was once a big attraction in north Arkansas, but Dogpatch USA, a hillbilly theme park based on the Li'l Abner comic strip, closed in 1993.

Nearly two decades later, the property has now ended up in the hands of a 23-year-old who nearly died there. Pruett Nance and his family are considering what to do with the land, located between Jasper and Harrison.

In 2005, Nance was riding an ATV through the grounds when he was struck by a throat-high cable stretched between two trees.

Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

After a suspicious fire that heavily damaged KUAR's transmitter Saturday night, authorities say it now appears more likely that the blaze was intentionally set.

“At this point in time we’re looking at it like an arson,” said Grover Crossland, Resident Agent in Charge of the Little Rock office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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