KUAR – Little Rock, Arkansas

April 2009 – present

At KUAR’s transmitter tower on Shinall Mountain in west Little Rock on May 11, 2012. Photograph by Kelly Connelly.

After 12 years of working in Miami, Florida, I was ready to finally return home to Little Rock in 2009. It took a bit of time and effort, with me persistently contacting my old friend Ron Breeding, who I’d worked for 16 years earlier at KARN, and by that time was news and program director at NPR station KUAR. I’d also knew Station Manager Ben Fry, after worked for him at KUAR in the mid-1990s, first as part of an independent study class which involved me producing a weekly interview program, and later serving as a fill-in morning anchor. Finally Ron told me he had an opening for an anchor and reporter and I took the position and moved back. At that point I had been working for Miami NPR station WLRN for six years and was happy that I would be able to stay in the public radio family.

I’m just starting to build this page on my website in May 2017 with some of the more interesting stories I’ve covered in my years with KUAR. Most of these stories also live on KUAR’s current website, so I’ve also included links to those stories too. You can also visit my page on KUAR website.

The nine African-Americans who integrated Central High School in 1957 pose for a photo for the New Yorker in October 2009.

One of the greatest perks of working as a reporter is when it gives you an excuse to meet and interview people you admire. That was definitely the case when the New Yorker magazine called looking for someone who could interview members of the Little Rock Nine, the African-Americans who integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. The magazine was getting the nine together for a photo shoot in front of the school and I was hired to assist a videographer by interviewing the nine. It would end up being the last time all were together.

AUDIO: My report for KUAR on the Little Rock Nine getting together for a photo shoot in front of Central High School, which aired February 2, 2010.
AUDIO: Reports for NPR News and KUAR on the death of Jefferson Thomas, one of the Little Rock Nine, on September 5, 2010.

On Saturday, April 2, 2011 KUAR suddenly went off the air with our engineer Tom Rusk sent up to the transmitter site to determine what was wrong. When he arrived smoke was pouring out of the small transmitter building and the lock that was normally on the door had been replaced by an unknown padlock, preventing him from immediately getting inside. Fire crews arrived and eventually police and investigators from FBI became involved as it was determined that an accelerant had been used to start the fire. Needless to say it was one of the stranger stories for me to report on, being that we were the subject of it. For three consecutive days the investigation was featured on the front page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as well as industry trade publications. A motive for the fire was never conclusively determined.

AUDIO: My report from Monday, April 4, 2011 shortly after we learned that investigators had determined a fire at KUAR’s transmitter had been intentionally set.

I’ll continue expanding on my time at KUAR in the coming weeks, so check back soon!