The Online Home And Archive Of Radio Journalist Michael Hibblen




In May, I launched KUAR's Week-In-Review, podcast, with the station news staff joining me to discuss the biggest stories we covered for the week. You can hear recent episodes on the link, or subscribe to the podcast, which is produced each Friday, on iTunes.

Last year, after a judge ruled an Arkansas amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman was unconstitutional, more than 500 same-sex couples were married during a week-long period before the decision was suspended pending appeal. On June 9, a different judge ruled that the state must recognize those marriages.

I produced a two-part series looking at the renovation of Little Rock's historic Robinson Auditorium. The $70 million project was approved by voters with the goal of making the outdated venue a world class music hall. In part 1, as work was nearing the halfway point, I toured the facility, which has been completely gutted, leaving only the outside shell of the building. In part 2 I focused on planning to make the acoustics once the hall is rebuilt as good as possible. Acoustical problems had long been a key complaint about the grand structure.

Four days before an expected presidential announcement by Republican Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor released a video that would be played during his introduction. Huckabee returned to his hometown of Hope, which is also well-known as the birthplace of former President Bill Clinton, and has been positioning himself as the strongest Republican to challenge Hillary Clinton.

See my Reports & Biography page on KUAR's website.

  On the air at KUAR

Welcome to, where I tell my story of working more than a quarter-century in radio and news. You can hear audio of some of the bigger stories I've covered, see photos, videos and PDF files of my newspaper stories. Not all of it is good. Some of the early radio work makes me cringe hearing it today, but it's who I am.

I started my career in Arkansas, made my way up to Washington, DC, down to Richmond Virginia, then spent 12 years in Miami, Florida before finally returning home to Little Rock, where today I'm news director of NPR station KUAR-FM 89.1 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.



Friday, June 26, 2015

Filling In Hosting AETN's Arkansas Week After Major Supreme Court Rulings

I'm a regular panelist on AETN's Arkansas Week, but a few times a year I get to fill in hosting the week-in-review program while regular host Steve Barnes is away. Each week the program, aired statewide on the six stations that make up the Arkansas Educational Television Network, features journalists, political scientists and newsmakers discussing the top stories. That week we got word shortly before going on the air that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled states cannot prohibit same-sex marriages. It also came the day after the high court had upheld a key part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, so we had plenty of big news to talk about. I was joined that week by columnist Ernie Dumas, reporter Steve Brawner and my colleague, KUAR political reporter Jacob Kauffman. If your browser is having trouble showing the video below, you can also watch the program here.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reporting For NPR News On Arkansas Religious Objections Law

Arkansas Senate President Jonathan Dismang listens as Gov. Asa Hutchinson talks with the media about the religious objections bill. National attention over "religious objections" laws shifted to Arkansas at the start of April, when Governor Asa Hutchinson asked state lawmakers to recall a bill that was sent to his desk for signature. The Republican had vowed to sign the measure a week earlier, but with businesses like Walmart and economic development officials concerned about the image it would present of Arkansas, Hutchinson asked for changes to be made. In my photo to the left, Senate President Johnathan Dismang listened as Hutchinson spoke to the press.

The bill passed the Arkansas Legislature shortly after a similar bill went into effect in Indiana, drawing criticism from many who said it would allow the open discrimination of homosexuals. An example of the types of arguments being made was that a baker with deeply held Christian beliefs shouldn't be required to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the hundreds who carried signs demonstrating in the halls of the Arkansas Capitol said it was much more than that, with language from the Arkansas bill allowing people to go much further than that in refusing to provide services for LGBT people and asked Governor Hutchinson for a veto. He didn't do that, but requested that changes to be made in the legislation.

NPR.orgShortly after Governor Hutchinson made the announcement, I went live on NPR's midday program Here and Now by telephone from the press room of the Capitol to discuss the developments. Later I produced a piece that led the second hour of All Things Considered that afternoon. Below are links where you can hear and read my reports for the network.

  • Live two-way on Here & Now, talking with co-host Jeremy Hobson, April 1, 2015.

  • A packaged report for All Things Considered, April 1, 2015.

  • The bill had passed with strong support in the legislature and there was resistance from some lawmakers to making changes, calling for the governor to make a decision one way or another: either veto it or sign it. But legislative leaders were able to convince most members to make changes and found shell bills that had been filed before a session deadline, but not used that could fit the purposes of filing a similar bill, but making it more closely mirror a federal law. With quick work by the legislature, a new bill was ready to be signed the following day. Activists said that while the second bill was an improvement from the original bill, it still fell short of providing protections for all Arkansans. I covered Governor Hutchinson's signing ceremony on April 2, which allowed lawmakers to wrap up the session, with a formal adjournment later that month.


    Friday, March 27, 2015

    This Time On AETN's Arkansas Week

    I'm a regular panelist on AETN's Arkansas Week, where journalists, political scientists and newsmakers discuss the top stories of each week. This time I joined fill-in host Lance Turner of Arkansas Business, Wesley Brown, business editor for Talk Business & Politics, and Ernie Dumas, a columnist for the Arkansas Times. The controversy over a religious objections bill from the Arkansas Legislature and a newly named economic development director hired from Florida were among the key topics. The program is aired statewide on the six stations that make up the Arkansas Educational Television Network. If your browser is having any problems showing the video below, you can also watch the program here.



    Read About My Radio Background
    Details 26 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.

    I welcome your Feedback. If you have any questions, notice any errors, links that no longer work or other problems with this site, please let me know. Or if you just want to share any comments about what I've got here, I'd love to read it. Thanks for stopping by and please check back again. I try to update this regularly, it's just a slow, slow process!.

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