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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Politics & Government
9:07 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Unemployment benefits expire in Alabama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Holiday cheer may be a little harder to come by in more than a million American households starting today, including an estimated 11,000 Alabamians. The nation's long-term unemployed will be abruptly cut off from federal unemployment benefits after lawmakers left Washington without voting on an extension. Recipients will lose an average monthly stipend of $1,166. Alabama's unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in November, but some counties have double-digit unemployment.

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Arts & Life
9:27 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Nick Saban signs contract extension with the Crimson Tide

University of Alabama

Alabama coach Nick Saban is staying put. The university announced on its Twitter account Friday night that the football coach has reached "a long-term agreement" to remain with the Crimson Tide. Alabama didn't release terms of the new deal, which must be approved by the board of trustees. Saban received an eight-year deal in March 2012 worth about $5.6 million annually and seems likely to remain college football's highest-paid coach. The agreement quells speculation that Saban would take over at Texas if Mack Brown steps down. Saban, who turned 62 on Oct.

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Politics & Government
7:49 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Huntsville Makes its Case for New Boeing Plant

Boeing

The City of Huntsville and the state of Alabama have a Tuesday deadline to present a proposal to Boeing. Huntsville, which is home to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, and corporations including Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, is in the running for a new assembly plant for Boeing’s 777X aircraft. Other states, including Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina, are also vying for the project. As the deadline draws close, APR student reporter Kyle Lawley spoke with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle as his community and the state of Alabama makes its case to Boeing.

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Politics & Government
7:49 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Huntville Makes its Case for New Boeing Plant

Boeing

The City of Huntsville and the state of Alabama have a Tuesday deadline to present a proposal to Boeing. Huntsville, which is home to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, and corporations including Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, is in the running for a new assembly plant for Boeing’s 777X aircraft. Other states, including Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina, are also vying for the project. As the deadline draws close, APR student reporter Kyle Lawley spoke with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle as his community and the state of Alabama makes its case to Boeing.

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Politics & Government
9:42 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Tuscaloosa Tornado lessons taught at Harvard

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (R) with President Obama and Governor Robert Bentley following the April 27, 2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa.com

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government today about the city's response to the April 27, 2011 tornado. I sat down with the Mayor just before he headed to the Boston area. Maddox says no disaster plan could have covered every challenge Tuscaloosa faced that day...

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Arts & Life
8:45 am
Tue December 3, 2013

"Civil Rights Radio" Part 4-- "Jail was like hell..."

Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

"Jail was like hell. It was four days of really hell..."

James Stewart of Birmingham was just a teenager on April 2, 1963. He took part in the Children’s March, and he was one of the first to arrested and jailed…

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Politics & Government
3:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

City of Athens looks to restore blighted downtown

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — City leaders in Athens are looking for ways to attack blight downtown and are leaning on owners of the buildings to show they're making progress. The Decatur Daily reports that the city has been trying to eliminate dilapidated structures by forcing owners to fix them or removing the problem and billing the owners. Laurie McGuire bought five empty stores downtown about five years ago, during the economic downturn. She used a grant to fund storefront improvements but hasn't had the funds to continue the work until she recently got a loan.

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Arts & Life
7:24 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Welcome aboard Columbus' ships "Nina" and "Pinta"

apr

Between now and Monday, fans of Christopher Columbus can get a taste of what life was like during his 1492 voyage of discovery to the New World. Replicas of two of his vessels, the "Nina" and the "Pinta" are docked along the Tennessee/Tombigbee River in Demopolis. I spoke with Captain Morgan Sanger who was aboard the Pinta.

Morgan Sanger—“Well, it’s an educational exhibit we’ve been doing for twenty years now, and we go to school groups, and families—showing them what life was like five hundred years ago, and how good they have it now.”

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Arts & Life
12:22 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Alabama and Auburn gear up for "Iron Bowl"

Auburn University

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Alabama and Auburn are preparing for one of the biggest Iron Bowls in history. The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 4 Auburn meet Saturday in only the in-state rivalry's second Top-5 matchup. It's a winner-takes-the-SEC-West game between two-time defending national champion Alabama and another surprising contender. The only other Top-5 Iron Bowl matchup came in 1971. Bear Bryant's No. 3 Alabama beat No. 5 Auburn and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan 31-7.

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Politics & Government
7:24 am
Sun November 24, 2013

State to provide Collards to the needy for Thanksgiving

urbansacredgarden.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state Department of Agriculture and Industries is donating nearly 800 pounds of fresh collards to help feed the needy. A department spokeswoman says the collards were grown in the department's community garden, and the department wants to share them for Thanksgiving. The collards will be presented to the Society of St. Andrew on Monday in Montgomery. The society collects fresh food to help the needy through food banks, kitchens and other agencies. Officials say society will distribute the collards to agencies that will prepare and serve them.

Politics & Government
6:34 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

Huntsville competes for Boeing 777X Factory

Boeing

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co. is soliciting bids from more than a dozen locations that want to build the new 777X airplane. Company spokesman Doug Alder said Saturday that requests for bids began going out Friday. Boeing wants the proposals returned in a few weeks, and the company hopes to make a final decision early next year. Alder declined to specify the locations but said each had asked for the chance to compete for the 777X work and met the company's qualifications.

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Politics & Government
5:33 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Marshall County Revenue Commissioner faces ethics charges

Marshall County

eadline. < MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The former Marshall County Revenue Commissioner is facing charges of violating the state ethics law. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced the arrest of Joey Masters on Wednesday. A warrant charges Masters with using his official position to obtain personal gain, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $6,000. His attorney, Dan Warnes, says Masters has resigned and didn't intend to violate state ethics laws.

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Politics & Government
5:40 am
Wed November 6, 2013

It's Byrne versus LeFlore for Congress in Mobile

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Republican establishment put its money and its clout behind Bradley Byrne and came out a winner in Alabama's 1st Congressional District. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Byrne won the Republican runoff with 52.5 percent of the vote while tea party supporter Dean Young drew 47.5 percent. Young said he had a strong grassroots campaign, but he couldn't overcome the money the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than two dozen Republican members of Congress put behind Byrne.

Politics & Government
7:24 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Mobile's new Mayor takes the oath of office

Northmobilian

Mobile's Mayor-elect, Sandy Stimpson, took the oath of office on Monday. I sat down for a one-on-one conversation with the new Mayor to talk about his plans for the City and what Monday will be like... Sandy Stimpson: Well, it all starts off with a meeting at 10:30, and where I’ll actually be sworn in at the auditorium at Government Plaza. Then, we’ll go right to work right after that, there are a lot of things that the Mayor will to execute at that time.

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Arts & Life
2:43 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

Hoover dentist buys back unused Halloween candy

myscienceproject.org

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — A dentist in Hoover has collected more than 100 pounds of leftover Halloween candy to send to American troops overseas. Al.com reports Dr. James Sanderson Jr. held a two-hour candy buyback Friday afternoon. Sanderson offered to pay people a dollar for every pound of candy donated. His daughter Sara Franklin tells the website more than 180 people showed up. Sanderson says he wants to brighten the day of U.S. troops overseas with care packages. This was the 10th year in a row that Sanderson has held his leftover candy buyback.

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