The Online Home And Archive Of Radio Journalist Michael Hibblen




Arkansas, like many states, is grappling with the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to wed. In November, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguements in the appeal of a judge's decision that said an amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. After the initial ruling in May, I reported as hundreds of couples lined up to get married. The issuing of licenses started and stopped until a stay was issued pending appeal.

Five months after the death of author and poet Maya Angelou, the small town of Stamps, Arkansas held a celebration of her life and legacy.  It's where she spent much of her childhood, encountering racism and sexual abuse, and was the setting for much of her best-selling novel "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings."

After days of searching by hundreds of volunteers for a Realtor who went missing after going to show a house, police said information from her cell phone led them to a suspect. The man had posed as a poential home buyer, investiators said, and eventually led them to a shallow grave.

On a sweltering August morning, relatives and fans of music icon Johnny Cash came together for a ceremony to officially open his boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas. It was the culmination of years of restoration work and fundraising concerts. Even before it opened, fans have long made their way to the town, which played a pivital role in shaping the artist Cash would become.

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

  On the air at KUAR

Welcome to the online home of Michael Hibblen, where I write, occasionally in way too much detail, about more than a quarter-century of working in radio and news. I also share sporadic posts with photos, videos and audio of things that interest me.

I'm a native of Little Rock, Arkansas and finally returned to my hometown in 2009 after 12 incredible years in Miami, Florida. Today I'm news director of NPR station KUAR-FM 89.1 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. While my true love is radio, I have also written for newspapers and appear regularly on the public TV program Arkansas Week.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Filling in hosting AETN's Arkansas Week


I'm a regular panelist on the week in review program Arkansas Week, but occasionally get the opportunity to fill in hosting the program when regular host Steve Barnes is out.

That week I started the program with a newsmaker interview, discussing efforts to place a proposal on the November ballot to gradually raise the minimum wage in Arkansas from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour. Then I was joined by that week's panel, which included University of Arkansas journalism professor Hoyt Purvis, KUAR political reporter Jacob Kauffman and Ouachita Baptist University political science reporter Hal Bass.




Monday, April 28, 2014

Reporting for NPR News on a devastating tornado touchdown in Arkansas

An image from social media immediately after the tornado hit, giving the first hint of the devastation.On Sunday, April 27, 2014, shortly before sunset, an incredibly powerful tornado, estimated by storm chasers to be about a half-mile wide, touched down just west of Little Rock. Over the next hour it traveled about 40 miles causing widespread destruction, especially in the towns of Ferndale, Mayflower and Vilonia. Images posted immediately to social media, like the one to the left, gave a hint of the devastation. It wasn't until the sun came up the next morning that we learned the full scope of the fury of this tornado, which killed at least 15 people in Arkansas, destroyed entire neighborhoods and picked up vehicles, tossing them hundreds of feet. A large-scale rescue response was immediately launched to find victims, provide assistance for those displaced and to begin restoring basic services.

NPR.orgAs the magnitude of the tornado became clear, I began reporting on the story for NPR, providing extensive coverage over the next 24 hours. Sunday evening I filed spots for newscasts, then Monday I reported on networks programs throughout the day, which you can hear on links below. I first went on the air during Morning Edition, describing what was known at that point during a two-way with host David Green. I then traveled up to Mayflower, just north of Little Rock, to talk with residents who had survived the storm by hunkering down wherever they could, and to get initial assessments from state and emergency officials. I went on the air live via cell phone from Mayflower during Here & Now, then traveled back to KUAR to produce a piece for All Things Considered.

Below are links to NPR stories with my reports on the tornado:

  • Morning Edition two-way with host David Green, Monday, April 28, 2014.

  • Live Here & Now two-way by cell phone from Mayflower, Arkansas with host Robin Young, April 28, 2014.

  • Report for All Things Considered, April 28, 2014.

  • The same storm system went on to cause destruction in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle and was blamed for causing a total of at least 35 deaths in the region. As of this writing, President Obama is planning to make a visit to Arkansas on Wednesday, May 7, to see the damage firsthand and talk with emergency officials. It would be his first visit to the state since becoming president.



    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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