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

UAW versus Mercedes Benz

Alabama Public Radio

2014 saw the United Auto Workers union’s successful challenge of German auto maker Mercedes Benz before the National Labor Relations Board, the white-out snow storm that crippled central Alabama, and massive lay-offs at the International Paper Company’s mill in Lawrence County.

“At that time, we’d been singing songs, we shall overcome, and before I’d be a slave…be dead and buried in my grave,” says Bennie Lee Tucker. He’s seventy four years old, and he spent the last fifty five of those years here in Selma. “And we gonna let nobody turn us around, no more Governor Wallace…no more white folk,” he says.

On the front porch of his home on Eugene Avenue, Tucker recalls March 7th, 1965. It was the height of the voting rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior wasn’t the name on everyone’s mind that day.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act are pointing out Alabama’s participation on the fifth anniversary of the program. It was in 2010 when President Obama signed the Act into law. One hundred and seventy one thousand Alabamians were enrolled as of last month when the latest sign-up period ended. The U.S. Supreme Court could deal the Act a setback in June. That’s when the Justices rule on the legality of tax subsidies that help people buy policies. Pamela Roshell is regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tony Parker led five UCLA Bruins in double figures with a career-high twenty eight to beat UAB ninety two to seventy five to advance to the sweet sixteen of “March Madness.” A controversial “goal tending” call with seconds to go, gave the Bruins their win over the SMU Mustangs to make it to this round. The Blazer’s Robert Brown made his presence known with twenty five points. Chris Cokley made nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to hold off UCLA.


Friends, family, and fans of the late Kathyrn Tucker Windham gathered today at Judson College, just outside of Selma, as the storyteller became part of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. APR’s Pat Duggins asked Windham's daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley (second from the left in our photo,) to relate her favorite story that her mother used to tell...

Alabama Public Radio news director Pat Duggins produced this video while covering the 50th anniversary jubilee of "bloody Sunday" on Selma's Edmund Pettus bridge.

"Sounds of Selma"

Mar 8, 2015

Thousands of people crowded the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma yesterday to remember what became known as “bloody Sunday.” Voting marchers in 1965 were attacked by State Troopers and a Sheriff’s posse armed with clubs and tear gas. The weekend observance was attended by President Obama and the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. APR news director Pat Duggins and reporter Stan Ingold teamed up to bring us this audio postcard…

Once again, the APR newsroom compiled this list of school closings and delays. For the most up-to-date information on your child's school, contact the front office or that school's website. Pat D.

AAMU: Open at noon Friday

ALCA Chapters 1 and 2 - “Building Bridges” workshop at Athens State University on Friday is CANCELLED.

Arab City Schools: 3 hour delay Friday

Athens City Schools: Closed Friday

Bethel Baptist School: Closed Friday

Bethlehem Christian Academy: Closed Friday

Colbert County Schools: Closed Friday

This weekend, the city of Selma will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the civil rights event known as “bloody Sunday.” In 1965, sheriff deputies and state troopers attacked African American protesters during a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The violence is etched into world history, but it’s not the first time this city has seen bloodshed  nor was 1965 the city's first "march to freedom."

The Alabama Public Radio newsroom has compiled this list of school closures. Again, for the most up-to-date information, call the front office of your child's school, or check their website. Pat D.

Alabama A&M University - Open at 12 noon

Albertville City Schools - Closed.

Arab city schools: Closed

Athens City Schools - 3 hour delay

Boaz City Schools - Closed.

Calhoun Community College - Open at 11

Cherokee County Schools - Closed.

Colbert County Schools - 2 hour delay

Cullman City Schools - 3 hour delay


Mardi Gras is here. The festival along the gulf coast is a time for parades and costumes and party goers catching plastic beads and doubloons. This year’s celebration in Alabama follows a Valentine’s Day like no other. Same sex couples got married and that includes two in Tuscaloosa. This follows a federal court hearing in Mobile that resulted in an order that prompted county probate judges to start issuing marriage licenses. This change, combined with Mardi Gras, is giving Tuscaloosa’s gay community a unique chance to interact with their neighbors in conservative Alabama.

The Alabama Public Radio newsroom compiled this list of school delays and closings due to Thursday's cold weather. For the most up to date information, be sure to call the front office of your child's school or check their website. Pat D

A LIGHT IN THE CITY DAYCARE: Delayed opening until 10 a.m.

Adventure Nook Preschool Inverness: OPENING AT 10AM



CHRISTIAN ACADEMY IRONDALE: Delayed opening until 10 a.m.


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.