Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice is familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program, including fourteen years 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, 2012, and 2013. 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. His documentary "Civil Rights Radio," on the 1963 "children's march" in Birmingham was honored with the international "Silver Radio Award" from the New York Festivals radio competition, and with a "Gabriel Award" from the Catholic Church. 

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 fifty awards for excellence in journalism, including a second national Sigma Delta Chi award and the international Gabriel award. Duggins is also the recipient of a Suncoast Regional Emmy.

Ways To Connect

Have those warm winter coats ready for Monday and Tuesday. That's the warning from forecasters who are predicting a combination of freezing, snow, and ice for much of Alabama. The situation is prompting alerts Governor Robert Bentley to the University of Alabama. Governor Bentley placed several key state agencies on alert and urged Alabamians to prepare for a wintry mix. "With winter weather expected to impact Alabama, we are taking precautions to protect Alabamians," Bentley said in a news release.

Two same sex marriages in Tuscaloosa County may the exception rather than the case, if two conservative groups get their way. The Alabama Supreme Court will consider a request by two conservative groups seeking to halt same-sex marriages in the state. The court voted six to two on Friday to hear the petition. The organizations are asking the justices to join Chief Justice Roy Moore and direct state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples.

You know Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold as a national award winning journalist, but did you know he’s a blue ribbon winning barbeque and chili champ as well? The APR news team (with Stan as our “ringer”) is teaming up with WVUA-TV to support today’s Great Tuscaloosa Chili Cookoff to benefit the Tuscaloosa exchange club, and we want your vote!

Tuscaloosa County issued its first marriage license to a same sex couple this morning. The historic moment was the result of a federal court order in Mobile County. Alabama has been in a legal whirlwind all week over when the State’s chief justice refused to enforce an earlier federal ruling that same sex marriages in the state are legal. Today’s legal change of heart in Tuscaloosa means joy for one couple and confusion for another.

“I was at work and I heard the news about the Mobile case…"

We met Meredith Bagley earlier this week…

An Alabama legislator has a solution to the controversy over execution by lethal injection. Republican Cam Ward wants to bring back the electric chair. The proposal would let Alabama use the electric chair for executions if the state is unable to get the drugs needed for a lethal injection. State senator Ward of Alabaster filed the bill ahead of the legislative session that begins in March. Alabama switched from the electric chair to lethal injection in 2002 as the state's primary form of capital punishment.

Conditions were right for north Alabama to get a light dusting of snow and more could be on the way for tonight. Parts of the Tennessee Valley received traces of snow that left grassy areas white today. The National Weather Service says bridge and overpasses could turn icy since temperatures are around freezing. But authorities aren't expecting major travel problems. Temperatures are predicted to fall into the lower twenties into tonight and early Tuesday, so any freezing precipitation could linger.

A last minute interception by a player with football roots in Alabama sealed New England Patriots' 28-24 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The hero of that play was Malcolm Butler of West Alabama, who earned enough of a reputation in college as a strong safety in the Gulf South Conference to be signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent last May. The Patriots rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit. Brady threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winning 3-yard strike to Julian Edelman with 2:02 left.

It's going to be a good day for at least someone from the University of Alabama. Dont'a Hightower of the New England Patriots and Kevin Norwood, Jesse Williams, and James Carpenter of the Seattle Seahawks will face off during today's Super Bowl match-up in Arizona. Hightower worked out on a limited basis with the rest of the Patriots on the first day of practice before the title game, despite a shoulder injury. The Seahawks picked Norwood in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL draft. In his rookie season, Norwood made nine catches for 102 yards.

If you and someone you know are surfing the internet at this moment in Alabama, Washington says there's a third person out in the cold. The federal government says more than one third of Alabama residents lack broadband internet service. A new report by the Federal Communications Commission says almost 35 percent of the state's residents don't have the high-speed service needed for today's digital offerings. That means nearly two million people statewide lack a fixed broadband connection. Nationally, about 17 percent of Americans don't have such service.

A Tuskegee VA employee is accused of sexually abusing a mentally handicapped volunteer. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more on the upcoming trial.

It may be tougher to light up in the city of Gadsden starting this Sunday. The town, just east of Birmingham, is putting a tougher smoking ordinance into effect. The new rule prohibits smoking in all enclosed workplaces in the city and that includes restaurants and bars. It also bans smoking within twenty feet of public entrances to buildings. The City Council passed the ordinance in June, but delayed enforcement until February first. Advocates say it will protect the public from secondhand smoke. But some business owners worry about lost revenue.

The fight over same sex marriage in Alabama has resulted in an ethics complaint against the state’s Chief Justice. The Southern Poverty Law Center is objecting to Roy Moore’s criticism of a federal judge's ruling in favor of a Mobile couple in a same-sex marriage. Moore called the ruling judicial tyranny, The SPLC says Moore’s behavior is similar to when he refused to follow a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building. He was removed from office, but re-elected. .

Attorney General Luther Strange is taking action to keep Alabama’s same sex marriage ban in place. Strange filed an appeal and a motion against a federal court order overturning Alabama’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. This follows a ruling U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile declaring the ban unconstitutional. The Judge stayed her own decision for two weeks to all Alabama a chance to appeal. Judge Granade originally ruled in favor of a Mobile couple who wanted their marriage recognized.

Attorney General Luther Strange wasted no time in seeking to stay yesterday's court decision overruling Alabama's ban on same sex marriage. Strange is asking a federal judge to stay a ruling that ended the law against gay marriage. Meanwhile, advocates are cheering what once seemed an improbable victory in the deeply conservative state. Luther Strange's office asked a federal judge on Friday to put the ruling on hold since the U.S. Supreme Court plans to take up the issue. U.S. District Callie V.S.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the battle of Mobile Bay helped bring the U.S. Civil War to a close. Historians also credit the engagement with helping Abraham Lincoln win a second term as President. Over the next half hour, Alabama Public Radio will look back on the battle and Alabama’s role in the Civil War in 1864. Stan Ingold will examine the Mobile campaign from the perspective of the man who lost. Ryan Vasquez will explain how Mobile resulted in more Congressional Medals of Honor than any other U.S. Naval battle.

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