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 music DJ for 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 in Little Rock, Richmond, Virginia and Miami, Florida.  During his 12 years in Miami, Michael became a nationally-heard reporter for CBS Radio News and later served as Assistant News Director for the NPR station WLRN, which worked out of the newsroom of daily newspaper The Miami Herald.  He 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



Local & Regional News
6:26 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Arkansas Lawmakers Preparing To Convene For Special Session

Gov. Mike Beebe speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislature is to convene Thursday to begin a special session to try and avoid skyrocketing health insurance premiums for the state’s 47,000 public school employees.

In the short term, the plan calls for using $43 million from state surplus funds to avoid a 50 percent increase for insurance coverage that would take effect at the beginning of next year.

After initially not having enough lawmakers agreeing on a proposal, Wednesday Gov. Mike Beebe said some lawmakers had been swayed by changes in finding a long term solution.

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Local & Regional News
10:40 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Beebe Says He'll Call Special Session On Teacher Insurance Fix

File photo of Gov. Mike Beebe.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Members of the Arkansas Legislature are expected to convene for a special session Thursday afternoon to address health insurance increases for the state’s public school employees. 

Governor Mike Beebe will issue an official call for the special session later Wednesday. 

A 50 percent hike in insurance premiums for public school employees was set to take effect January 1, if lawmakers were unable to rally enough votes in support of a short term fix that would cap premium increases at 10 percent.

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Local & Regional News
3:25 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

If Shutdown Doesn't End, Universities Have To Furlough Some Employees

As efforts continue in Washington to end the federal government shutdown, more furloughs are being announced in Arkansas. But some of the damage is being mitigated.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson said in an email to employees Tuesday that after initially expecting to have to furlough 196 employees and students who are paid with federal funds, they have been able to find exceptions to the mandate and now only expect 46 to be furloughed.

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Local & Regional News
4:50 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Deceased Mountain Home Doctor May Have Crafted Largest Medicare Fraud in State History

The late Dr. Stacey Johnson of Mountain Home (inset) once owned and practiced at this medical building, where the alleged Medicare fraud occurred.
Credit Kevin Pieper / Arkansas Business

Efforts continue by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas to recover assets of a cardiologist charged with over billing Medicare by nearly $15 million.

Dr. Stacey Johnson of Mountain Home died earlier this year. A criminal investigator’s affidavit that was recently made public says if he were still alive, criminal charges likely would have been filed against Johnson.

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Not Necessarily Nashville
8:10 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Not Necessarily Nashville Playlist Oct. 12, 2013

This week's program, with fill-in host Michael Hibblen, featured several songs from Willie Nelson's new duets album To All The Girls, which will be released Tuesday, Oct. 15.  The 80-year-old music legend will be playing in Little Rock on Nov. 21 at Robinson Center Music Hall.  One of the artists Nelson recorded with for this album was Rosanne Cash, who will also be playing in Little Rock two days later, on Nov. 23 at South On Main.


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Local & Regional News
8:55 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Pedestrian & Bike Trail Proposed Linking Little Rock And Hot Springs

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, at the podium, details plans for the trail, alongside other county judges and mayors.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

County administrators of Pulaski, Saline and Garland Counties are proposing construction of a bicycle and pedestrian trail linking Little Rock and Hot Springs.

They were joined Thursday by several of the mayors of cities and towns that the trail would pass through, making an enthusiastic pitch for the project for reporters and cycling advocates.

“When this is completed, we will have something that is second to none in this country,” said Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines. 

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Robinson Center Music Hall
9:16 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Little Rock Board To Decide On Referring Robinson Center Renovations To Voters

An image of how backers of the proposed renovation would like Robinson Center Music Hall to look.
City of Little Rock

The Little Rock Board of Directors is to decide Tuesday afternoon whether to allow a special election for voters to decide whether to use a two percent tax to fund a massive renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall.

But there are concerns that there hasn’t been enough discussion about the funding.

The extensive plan was unveiled last week, calling for $60 million worth of renovations to the building, which was built in 1939. The cost rises to $68 million when including the expense of relocating staff and paying for a special bond election.

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Federal Government Shutdown
2:01 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Governor Beebe: Federal Government Shutdown Would Hurt Arkansas

Governor Mike Beebe

Governor Mike Beebe says if the federal government shuts down, it will have dire consequences for Arkansas, leaving many without a paycheck and putting children at risk.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Beebe said:

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Local & Regional News
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Arkansas Senators Split On Budget Bill

Arkansas two senators have split on legislation that continues funding government after it was stripped of a House-backed effort to defund the federal health care law.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor on Friday voted for the measure intended on keeping the federal government operating through Nov. 15, while Republican John Boozman voted against the measure.

The Senate passed the continuing resolution on a 54-44 vote after voting by the same margin to remove from it a House proposal to defund the federal health care overhaul.

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Local & Regional News
12:22 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Arkansas Private Option Gets Formal Approval From Feds

Gov. Mike Beebe

The bi-partisan plan crafted by the Arkansas Legislature this year to use federal Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance got a formal approval Friday from the federal government.

It came directly from the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, says Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Governor Mike Beebe.

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