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

Lieutenant Governor's office

With Gov. Mike Beebe out of state attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr Friday signed into law a bill that makes private a list of people who can carry concealed weapons in Arkansas.

Gov. Beebe had said he would not sign the bill, but also would not veto it, which would allow it to become law five days after reaching his desk.

But in his role as Acting Governor, Darr signed it into law, saying in a written statement that he felt there should be no delay.

Rogers Photo Archive

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 120 rare photos of the president will be on display next month in central Arkansas.

"The JFK 50 Years Later" exhibit will highlight rare and never before seen photos of John F. Kennedy and his family," said John Gaudin, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Argenta Arts Foundation.

The exhibit will be held at various arts locations and will be free to the public.

Michael Hibblen

A major new employer will be coming to east Arkansas IF the legislature approves start-up funding for the project.

Governor Mike Beebe announced Tuesday that a much talked about super-project involves a steel mill in Osceola.

"It is a $1.1 billion investment.  It is 525 direct, immediate jobs with an average salary of $75,000 a piece," Gov. Beebe said to applause in a packed conference room at the Capitol.

About 2,000 temporary construction jobs would also be created as the mill is being built.

Michael Hibblen

A former state lawmaker, who has led efforts concerning state highways in previous years, was appointed Thursday to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

Former House Speaker Robert Moore was named to a 10-year term, replacing commission Chairman Madison Murphy, whose term is expiring.

Moore said he realizes the significance and challenges of maintaining good highways and will look for innovative new ways to meet the challenges of funding needed work.

Winthrop Rockefeller Collection

The late Johnny Cash was well known for his prison concerts, but this weekend the BBC will air a special looking at one lesser-known prison show that helped spur reform in Arkansas.  You can listen to the show here.

The international broadcaster sent a reporter from London to Arkansas to research the performance at Cummins Prison in 1969.

For the first time since before the Civil War, Republicans Tuesday night won control of both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature.

Republican incumbents from Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives also won re-election, while Tom Cotton won the 4th district seat being vacated by Democrat Mike Ross.

But the margins in the state House and Senate weren't as wide as Republican leaders had hoped, suggesting both parties will still have to work together in reaching mutually satisfying agreements in the coming legislative session.

Michael Hibblen filled in hosting the program that week.
Joe Ely- You Can Bet I’m Gone (Satisfied At Last)
Norman Blake- The Railroad Days (Fields of November)
Steve Goodman- City of New Orleans (Live at the Earl of Old Town)
Robert Earl Keen- Five Pound Bass (The Road Goes On Forever)
Guy Clark- Dublin Blues (Dublin Blues)
Billy Joe Shaver & Kris Kristofferson- No Earthly Good
The Carper Family- Another Town (Come See Yer Ol’ Daddy)
Hayes Carll- Little Rock (Little Rock)
Merle Haggard- Branded Man (Down Every Road Box Set)

Rodney Crowell- Anything But Tame (Kin)
Pat Green- All Just To Get To You
Merle Haggard – Big City (The Bluegrass Sessions)
Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down (American III: Solitary Man)

Interview with Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director of the Arkansas Heritage Sites program, who is overseeing the restoration of Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.  During a visit to Little Rock, she stopped by KUAR to provide an update on how the project is going.

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."

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