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KLRE/KUAR General Manager Nathan Vandiver to resign

Nathan Vandiver inside the control room of KUAR on Aug. 25, 2016.
Michael Hibblen
Nathan Vandiver inside the control room of KUAR on Aug. 25, 2016.

After 13 years with UA Little Rock Public Radio, General Manager Nathan Vandiver has announced he will resign. A national search will be conducted by the university to fill the position which oversees NPR member station KUAR-FM 89.1 and classical music station KLRE-FM 90.5.

Vandiver’s family is moving to Portland, Oregon where his wife, federal public defender Julie Vandiver, has accepted a similar position with the government. His last day as a fulltime staff member will be July 8.

Vandiver started as an intern in the spring of 2009 in KUAR's newsroom. At the end of the semester he was hired as a part-time anchor/reporter, covering stories around the state.

Under the guidance of longtime General Manager Ben Fry, Vandiver was promoted to program director in June 2013. After Fry’s unexpected death from a heart attack in 2016 at the age of 54, Vandiver served as interim general manager of UA Little Rock Public Radio. He formally became general manager in December 2019.

"I’m proud of the work we’ve done in the time that I’ve been here," Vandiver said in an interview Friday. "With the death of Ben Fry, it was a big transition to make and we stabilized the station after that difficult period."

He has overseen a growth in the membership of donors to KLRE/KUAR. During last fall’s pledge drive, the university announced that an anonymous donor gave the stations $1.5 million to create an endowment.

Dr. Sarah Beth Estes is dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education which oversees the stations. In a written statement, she praised Vandiver for his work.

"We appreciate Nathan and the station staff for their efforts to enrich the lives of those who benefit from the quality news and cultural programs that are part of KUAR/KLRE. Under Nathan’s leadership, UA Little Rock Public Radio grew both its sustaining members and its endowment. We wish him the best in his future endeavors," Estes said.

The university is working to prepare a job description for the general manager opening. No timeline has been given for filling the position.

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his final 10 years with the station, he served as News Director. In January 2023, he was hired by Arkansas PBS to become its Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.