Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice are familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program on NPR.  Pat’s NASA experience began with the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, and includes 103 missions.  Many NPR listeners recall Pat’s commentary during Weekend Edition Saturday on February 1, 2003 when Shuttle Columbia broke apart and burned up during re-entry.  His expertise was utilized during three hours of live and unscripted coverage with NPR’s Scott Simon.  Pat later wrote two books about NASA, Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program and Trailblazing Mars, both of which have been released as audio books.  Pat has also lectured about the future of the space program at Harvard, and writes about international space efforts for "Modern Weekly" magazine in Shanghai, China.

Duggins experience goes beyond NASA.  He led the APR news team through the tornadoes of 2011.  Along with dawn to dusk rescue and recovery updates, the news crew also provided national and international coverage for the BBC in London, MSNBC, CBC in Canada, and Australia Broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne.  Duggins’ efforts, and that of the APR news team, were twice recognized with National Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The Radio Television Digital News Association also honored Pat and the team with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence. The Alabama Associated Press also recognized APR as the "Most Outstanding News Organization" in 2011 and 2012. And, Duggins' news series on the long-term impact of the Gulf oil spill won a national PRNDI award for best series from the Public Radio News Directors' Association, and a regional Murrow. 

Pat’s work isn’t limited to radio, with regular appearances on TV.  He also conducts interview/profile segments for "Alabama, Inc." a new University of Alabama TV series on business on airs statewide on Alabama Public Television. Pat also co-hosted “Your Vote Counts,” a program featuring college-age voters who critiqued the final debate between Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks in the 2011 race for Alabama Governor. 

Since his arrival at APR, Pat and the team have won more than forty awards for excellence in journalism, including a second national Sigma Delta Chi award and the national Gabriel award. Duggins is also the recipient of a Suncoast Regional Emmy.

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Arts & Life
9:46 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Al. Medicaid Reform = Political heat, UPS' Busiest day

Governor Robert Bentley statements about possibly expanding Medicaid is drawing political heat. Members of the Tea Party sent Bentley a letter asking him to promise never to expand the federally funded health system for the poor. The Alabama Hospital Association says it appreciates the Governor being open the idea. Bentley says he’s exploring a possible state-designed program that uses a Medicaid block grant to bring private insurance coverage to people at the poverty line. The Governor says he’d like to include the requirement that recipients look for a job or get job training…

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Arts & Life
7:11 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Gay rights challenge from Apple CEO, more UAB football fallout

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will stay in jail for now. U.S. District judge Clay Land of Georgia is denying Siegelman's request to get out of prison while he continues to appeal his 2006 bribery conviction. The Judge says the defense raised significant issues that deserve serious consideration. Still, Judge Land believes an appeal isn’t likely to result in a new trial or a lower sentence. The former Democratic governor is arguing his 2006 trial was tainted by the involvement of a prosecutor with ties to GOP politics.

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Politics & Government
7:55 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Courts uphold Alabama's Ballot Access law, Veterans health questions

A federal appeals court is upholding Alabama's ballot access law. Third party presidential candidates trying to get their names before voters in 2012 challenged the measure. Alabama requires third-party candidates to collect signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast in the last governor's election to get on the ballot. The Alabama Green Party, Constitution Party of Alabama, Libertarian Party of Alabama claimed discrimination. The appellate panel says the candidates didn’t show how the state's requirement was overly burdensome.

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Arts & Life
6:11 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Jobs for the Shoals and the Black Belt, Wanted: Xmas Toys!

A State and Federal partnership plans to spend three hundred thousand dollars in Alabama’s Black Belt region to help generate jobs. The Delta Regional Authority will target Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe, and Washington counties where unemployment is typically high. Half of the grant will be spend on a system to help employers identify and train new workers. The other half is for a study on how to better train groups like young people and native Americans. The Delta Regional Authority was created by Congress to address unemployment.

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Arts & Life
6:15 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Freedom for Former Gov Siegelman? Confederate flag comes down in Pensacola

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman could go free pending his appeal. U.S. District judge Clay Land says he will decide by the end of the week if Seigelman should be released from prison while appealing his 2006 bribery conviction. Land questioned the prosecution and defense on whether the original U.S. attorney's ties to Republican politics tainted the prosecution of the former Democratic governor. The prosecution says Laura Canary’s participation was minimal. The defense says she championed the case even after recusing herself.

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Arts & Life
6:13 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Tough State Budget Choices, and an Eating detector for the holidays?

The State may cut tax deduction exemptions to balance the budget. At least, that’s what some Alabama republicans are suggesting. Governor Robert Bentley will propose Alabama's first major revenue-raising package since 2003. Since then, the General Fund budget has been patched together with borrowed money, federal stimulus funds and other non-recurring revenue. Bentley says he's working a bold, long-term solution to make the budget work. The one thing Bentley says he won’t support is the expansion of gambling. `

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Arts & Life
5:49 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

Civil Rights Radio Part 1-- "Well, the first thing I tell them was I went to jail..."

Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

“For me, it was just a day of resolve and resolution, and I said ‘sign me up,” says James Stewart “Well, the first thing I tell them is that I went to jail, and they go ‘Oooh, Grandmama,” and I say well, let me explain…” recalled Eloise Gaffney. “It was just…you knew God was on your side,” says Washington Booker. “And we knew that it didn’t matter what we were facing. You knew if God was on your side, you’d overcome it.” Stewart, Gaffney, and Booker are all in their early sixties. They’re all from Birmingham. They’re all African American. And fifty years ago, they made national news.

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Arts & Life
5:46 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

The Battle of Mobile Bay-- "Resaca"

Pat Duggins

Alabama Public Radio is looking back on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. It was on August 5, 1864 when the engagement helped to both seal the fate of the Confederacy, and put Abraham Lincoln into a second term in office. The APR news team is examining Alabama’s role in the Civil War in 1864. For some, the conflict has turned into an expensive hobby that can get pretty loud…

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Arts & Life
7:34 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Hospital Worker Gets Jail Time for I.D. Theft

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A former Dothan hospital employee has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing patients' identities to file fraudulent tax returns. Kamarian Millender of Headland received the sentence Friday in Montgomery. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of aggravated identity theft. Court records show Millender worked as a lab technician at Flowers Hospital in Dothan and stole patient records containing personal identifying information. Then he used the information to file fraudulent tax returns and obtain refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

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Arts & Life
6:37 am
Fri December 12, 2014

High School Graduation rate improves, Montgomery "no smoking" ban

Governor Robert Bentley may be softening his position on expanding Medicaid. But there would be conditions. The Governor he says he's somewhat open to the idea. However, any Medicaid reform plan would have to be designed by the state and there would be rules. Bentley told state lawmakers he's willing to consider a state-designed program. Bentley says he would want the program to require recipients to look for a job, or join a job-training program. It would also use the private sector.

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Arts & Life
8:23 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Federal Preschool grants, Alabama teacher pension questions

Alabama preschoolers could soon benefit from a federal grant. Our state is one of eighteen in the nation receiving federal grants to boost access to preschool programs. Washington is awarding more than two hundred and twenty six million dollars nationally. Alabama will be given seventeen and a half million in development grants. The development grants are meant to help states with no or small preschool programs. Federal officials say they expect the grants to help states develop high-quality preschool programs in regionally diverse communities ranging from urban to suburban and rural.

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Arts & Life
2:57 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

"Pay it Forward!" For your public radio station

Shutterstock

Pay it forward.  Alabama Public Radio listeners understand the concept.

Throughout the year you depend on APR for the very best in news, information and music. Your year-end contribution will keep intelligent, independent programming alive in the year ahead.

Alabama Public Radio is trying something new this December and we hope you'll help make it a success.

Throughout the holiday season, APR will be bringing you the programming you depend on--the very best in news, information, and music....uninterrupted by fundraising.

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Arts & Life
6:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Montgomery may ban smoking, Sirius-XM settlement

City officials in Montgomery are thinking about making much of their town a no smoking zone. The Montgomery Advertiser reports the proposed ordinance would also prohibit smoking within twenty feet of business entrances, public transportation stations or playgrounds. The city's Health, Education & Recreation Standing Committee on Tuesday heard concerns from residents. City Councilman C.C. Calhoun says more must be done before the ordinance is brought before the city council for a vote, such as whether to "grandfather" certain businesses that already allow smoking.

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Arts & Life
6:37 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Alabama GOP Chief: "No Third term," Airbus is hiring

The Alabama Republican party will have to find another chairman. Bill Armistead says he won't run for a third term when the party's executive committee meets next February. He was elected to a two-year term in 2011 and re-elected in 2013. Armistead says he wants to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. He says that would not be possible if he were party chairman because the chairman is supposed to be neutral. During Armistead's leadership, the GOP won every race for statewide offices in 2012 and 2014.

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Arts & Life
6:11 am
Mon December 8, 2014

It's The Tide versus The Buckeyes in Playoff slot, Cooper for Heisman?

APR

It’s Alabama versus Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The committee that names the final four teams for the championship playoffs selected Alabama, FSU, Oregon, and Ohio State  for the semi-final games. The announcements comes after Alabama’s victory over Missouri in the SEC championship. Wide Receiver Christion Jones was quick to spread the credit around following the game….

“It feels great man! Proud of our team, our coaches, it feels great, man. We got a long road ahead, we know what’s at stake right now. We just know we put ourselves in a good position.”

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