Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas

Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas

Michael Hibblen

4.4.2017

Michael Hibblen

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR. He handles assignments for the news staff, helps develop story ideas and edits copy. Michael is responsible for starting a news-sharing partnership between public radio stations in Arkansas in 2009 which laid the foundation for what became Arkansas Public Media. He is also a regular panelist on AETN's Arkansas Week, where journalists discuss issues in the news.

A native of North Little Rock, Michael started in radio in 1988. After a 1993 internship at the C-SPAN Cable Network in Washington, DC, he transitioned to news. In 2000, Michael became a nationally heard, Miami-based reporter for CBS Radio News, covering major stories in the region, including the anthrax attack at a tabloid publisher, an international custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, and the 2000 presidential election recount. He was hired by daily newspaper the Miami Herald in 2003 when it partnered with NPR station WLRN, initially working as morning news anchor. Later Michael became department editor, then assistant news director. He also wrote frequently for the newspaper.

Michael returned home to Little Rock in 2009 to work for KUAR. At that time he also resumed taking classes at UALR to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May of 2013.

 

For nearly 80 years, the Rock Island was a major railroad in Arkansas providing passenger and freight services. A decline in rail travel after World War II and an increase in trucks hauling freight over government-subsidized interstates were among factors that left the railroad struggling. Efforts to merge with other railroads were stalled for years by federal regulators. The Rock Island filed for bankruptcy in 1975 and attempted reorganization, but creditors wanted the assets liquidated, with a judge shutting it down in 1980. Most of the tracks that traversed the state were taken up, but a few relics, like the Little Rock passenger station and the Arkansas River bridge, remain as monuments to this once great railroad. Michael Hibblen is the author of Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas and a journalist with KUAR radio in Little Rock.