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Michael Hibblen

Former News Director

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his first two years, he was a news anchor and reporter. In 2011, he was promoted to Assignment Editor. In his final 10 years with the station, Hibblen served as News Director.

In January 2023, Hibblen was hired by Arkansas PBS to become the television network's Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.

A native of North Little Rock, Hibblen 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 as a reporter and anchor for commercial radio stations KARN in Little Rock, WRVA in Richmond, Virginia and WIOD in Miami, Florida.

In 2000, Hibblen became a nationally-heard, Miami-based radio reporter for CBS News covering major stories in the region, including the 2000 presidential recount, an anthrax attack at a tabloid publishing headquarters, and an international custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez. He was hired by the Miami Herald in 2003 when the newspaper partnered with NPR station WLRN to provide local news. Hibblen initially worked as a morning news anchor and reporter, later became the department's Editor, then Assistant News Director. He also frequently wrote articles for the newspaper.

Hibblen returned home to Arkansas in 2009 to take a position with KUAR. He had previously worked part-time for the station while a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the mid-1990s. In 2011, he resumed taking classes to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May 2013.

In March 2019, Hibbblen was named one of 53 fellows selected to participate in the Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The intensive 100-day training program for newsroom leaders from across the country was funded by a $1 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It involved a week of training that August at the Phoenix campus, working regularly with a coach and smaller group remotely, then returning to give a final presentation and graduate in January 2020.

Hibblen 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. He has also been involved in the preservation of the railroad's depot in Perry, Ark. He maintains a personal website with details on his career and other interests: www.hibblenradio.com.