Michael Hibblen

News Director

Michael Hibblen is the News Director for UA Little Rock Public Radio. He oversees daily news coverage for KUAR, which includes assignments for the news staff, helping develop story ideas, editing news copy and ensuring accuracy and fairness in all reporting. 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 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 the daily newspaper The Miami Herald in 2003 when it partnered with NPR station WLRN and provided its local news. Michael initially worked as a morning news anchor and reporter, later became the department's editor and 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 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 the author of Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in April 2017.

Phone: 501-683-7386

Email: michael@kuar.org

Ways to Connect

KAAY Barry McCorkindale Arkansas Sounds John Miller
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A legendary Little Rock radio station will be celebrated with an event Friday night. In its heyday during the 1960s and '70s, KAAY-AM 1090 played top 40 music during the day and progressive rock at night. With a powerful signal that reached most of Arkansas during the day, at night KAAY's secondary pattern reached much of the U.S., as well as other counties.

Arkansas Razorbacks Blaine Knight
University of Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team could win its first national championship Wednesday night. Arkansas faces Oregon State beginning at 6 p.m. after winning the first game Tuesday 4-1. If Arkansas loses Wednesday night, a decisive game three will be held Thursday.

KUAR spoke with veteran Arkansas sports writer Harry King about what has put the Razorbacks in such a strong position this year. You can hear the interview above.

Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder of First United Methodist Church calls for compassion for migrant families during Wednesday's press conference.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Midway through a press conference with the Arkansas leaders of several religious denominations who were calling for an end to separating children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico, David Cook’s phone vibrated. The legislative director for Faith Voices Arkansas read a news bulletin that said President Donald Trump had reversed his position on families caught crossing into the U.S.

Cook then stepped to the podium to share the news.

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Former Arkansas state Sen. Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for what the judge called "egregious" violations. The Republican of Fort Smith pleaded guilty in January to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

A revised set of standards for accrediting Arkansas public schools is scheduled to be considered Tuesday afternoon by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council. 

The changes were unanimously approved May 30 by the Arkansas Board of Education, despite concerns from some like board Chairman Jay Barth who worry the new rules could be too much of a departure from a uniform set of standards.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a challenge by the state to a circuit judge’s order that halted the issuing of medical marijuana cultivation licenses. It was also revealed that investigators are looking into allegations that a bribe was offered by one company to a member of the Medical Marijuana Commission.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the process for how the commission decided which companies would get five licenses was constitutionally flawed.

Almost 25 years to the day that Conway Twitty died at the age of 59, relatives, former bandmates and fans of the country and rockabilly singer gathered Friday in his hometown of Helena, Arkansas for a celebration of his life. 

Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in 1933 at Friars Point, Mississippi, his family moved to east Arkansas at the age of 10. After serving in the military, he returned home and had to decide between two dreams: music or baseball, according to Doug Friedlander, organizer of Friday's events. Inspired by the sound of Elvis Pressley, Jenkins traveled to Memphis, working with Sam Phillips at Sun Records.

Asa Hutchinson III
Washington Co. Sheriff's Office

The son of Gov. Asa Hutchinson has again been arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities report.

An Arkansas State Police tropper stopped William Asa Hutchinson III in Washington County early Monday for allegedly driving 88 miles-per-hour in an area where the speed limit is 70. Hutcinson reportedly had bloodshot eyes, prompting the trooper to investigate whether he was intoxicated. He was speeding, DWI, violation of the implied consent law. The final charge was because he refused to submit to a test that would determine his blood-alcohol content.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

As Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson faces a challenge from the right in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, he now has the backing of President Trump.

The endorsement came in the form of a tweet Monday evening after Hutchinson and four other Republican governors dined with the president at the White House to discuss border security and other issues. Trump wrote on Twitter that Hutchinson had “done an incredible job with a focus on lower taxes, border security and crime prevention.”

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was expected to testify Friday morning in a lawsuit accusing her of obstructing ballot initiatives in her role of approving the language of items being placed on the ballot. But as the hearing was getting underway, it was announced that the trail was being moved from state court to federal court.

It comes just days after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Griffen issued a strongly worded opinion ordering Mr. Rutledge to testify and not allowing her to defer it to a lower level staffer.

Pages