The Online Home And Archive Of Radio Journalist Michael Hibblen
Former air staff and fans of legendary Little Rock top 40 radio station KAAY gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of "the day the music died." There were many great stories shared, some too risque to include in my report. A change of ownership in 1985 led to a format change to paid religious programming, ending the station as generations of Arkansans had known it.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge testified before a congressional committee in Washington on proposed EPA regulations that in Arkansas would require cutting carbon emissions 44 percent. Utility companies said the cost of retrofitting coal-fired power plants would end up being covered through higher electric bills, while the Sierra Club said the change is long overdue.
The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the state's same-sex marriage ban, though a dispute over which justices should decide the case likely means a ruling won't come until after the U.S. Supreme Court considers the matter. A circuit judge ruled last year that the amendment was unconstitutional, prompting hundreds of couples to line up for marriage certificates. That 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."
Welcome to the online home of Michael Hibblen, where I write, occasionally in perhaps too much detail, about more than a quarter-century of working in radio and news. I also include sporadic posts with photos, videos and audio of things that interest me.
I'm a native of Little Rock, Arkansas and 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.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Reporting For NPR News On Arkansas Religious Objections Law
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.
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.
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 typically on Arkansas Week as a panelist once or twice
a month. This week I joined fill-in host Lance Turner, 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
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.
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.
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!.