The Online Home And Archive Of Radio Journalist Michael Hibblen

 

 

RECENT REPORTS:

Amid a controversy over a $4.2 million Deficit at the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas, state lawmakers subpoenaed top and former officials, hearing contradictory accounts and accusations over who was at fault.

Arkansas's largest investment firm and the state's top securities regulator are firing accusations back and forth alleging Ethics Violations. Stephens Inc. is accusing Arkansas Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure of illegally steering more than $170,000 to his favorite charities and of retaliating when Stephens refused to make a similar donation while negotiating a recent settlement.

As final work is being completed to open Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas as a museum, his daughter Rosanne Cash came to Little Rock for a show in advance of the release of a new album that she says was inspired by her travels through the south.

A long-running Desegregation battle, with roots going back to Little Rock's 1957 Central High Crisis, could be coming to an end. A federal judge has given preliminary approval for a settlement that would end payments to three central Arkansas school districts.

See my Previous Reports for KUAR.

  On the air at KUAR
After 25 years in radio, today I'm the news director of KUAR FM 89.1, the NPR station in Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm a native Arkansan who returned to my hometown in 2009 after 12 years in Miami, Florida. While my passion is radio, I have also written for newspapers and appear regularly on the public television program Arkansas Week.

 

 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Filling in hosting AETN's Arkansas Week

 

I've been a regular panelist for a couple of years on the week in review show Arkansas Week, which airs on the six PBS stations in Arkansas that make up the Arkansas Educational Television Network. But I got the chance to host the program recently, filling in when regular host Steve Barnes was out.

The key topic was the oil spill caused by the rupture of an ExxonMobil pipeline one week earlier. Joining me first for a newsmaker interview was Glen Hooks of the Sierra Club, then we had a panel discussion with Columnist Steve Brawner and Arkansas Times editor Lindsey Millar. At one point, I also discussed being threatened with arrest while covering Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel touring the site of the oil spill. If the window to the left isn't working, click here to download an MP4 file of the show.

 

 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reporting for NPR on the restoration of Johnny Cash's boyhood home

The restored boyhood home of Johnny Cash in October 2012 -- Click to enlarge.The story behind the house where Johnny Cash grew up is one that has fascinated me. Dyess, Arkansas was a planned community, created during the great depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Cash was only three when he and his family were among 500 families chosen to get a fresh start in life with a new house and piece of land for them to farm. His experiences during those days would provide the inspiration for many of his songs like "Five Feet High and Rising," which was based on his community being flooded. Even a decade after his death, fans from around the world seek out the home, which was recently purchased by Arkansas State University as part of its Arkansas Heritage Sites. The goal is to turn it into a museum, not only looking at Cash, but to help tell the history of the town.

NPR.orgI had reported several stories related to the house when I finally pitched the story to NPR. I'd first reported when ASU negotiated the purchase of the property, covered the first fundraising concert at ASU, then covered the ceremony in February of 2012 that marked the beginning of the restoration project. So I knew it was an extremely interesting story. And with Cash still popular today, nearly 10 years after his death, I figured people elsewhere around the country would also find it interesting. So I was glad when NPR finally gave me the green light to produce a five minute piece. I recorded the interviews at the house on Oct. 6, the morning after the second fundraising concert for the project, which brought many of the family members to town. I met up with Cash's brother Tommy and Sister Joanne, who were seeing the house for the first time since work to restore it had begun. So I had the tremendous fortune to be there to record their reactions walking inside. I also spoke with Dr. Ruth Hawkins, who is overseeing the project and Dyess Mayor Larry Sims. I was pleased with how the piece came out, though I could have easily gone twice as long. NPR's web version of the story also came out nice.

AUDIO: Report on the restoration of Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas, aired on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, runs 5:51.

 

 

Read About My Radio Background
Details my 25 years in radio and news with photos and audio from each station, network or newspaper. I started as a DJ in Arkansas, made the transition to news through an internship at C-SPAN, spent 12 years in Miami working for CBS News and the Miami Herald before returning home to Little Rock.
See My Black & White Photography
While I love the convenience and quality of digital cameras, nothing compares to the look of black and white film. Many years back I put together a few galleries, focusing on some of the more consistent topics I shot over the years. I hope to eventually revise and expand this section to include more photos.
Beat Writers & Spoken Word
For about a year in 1994, in addition to my regular show on KABF, I hosted a beat poetry and spoken word program. I took every opportunity to interview some of my favorite writers and poets, including Allen Ginsberg when he gave a reading in Arkansas.
 
I also have a few other sections that may be of interest for some. I maintain a section looking at the long gone Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, with recent photos and MP3 interviews with former employees. As Mike Huckabee emerged as one of the leading candidates for President in 2007, I put together this profile of him based on my experiences. This includes an MP3 with an interview I recorded in 1996 just before he became governor, articles, reports and photos from my days of covering him in the mid-1990s. I've also got photos of Miami's fascinating, long shuttered Marine Stadium, which was damaged by Hurricane Andrew, but is the focus of preservation efforts by those who would like to see it reopened and restored to its former glory.
 
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