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

Huntsville—

TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 40S. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

TONIGHT...CLOUDY. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT. NEAR STEADY TEMPERATURE AROUND 40. CHANCE OF RAIN 90 PERCENT. .

FRIDAY...CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT.

All eyes are on New Orleans as Alabama and Ohio State face off again during today’s Sugar Bowl. The Tide and the Buckeyes first met in New Orleans in 1978. Alabama under Coach Bear Bryant beat Ohio State, coached by Woody Hayes, 35-6.

Now, both teams are vying for a slot in the first ever college football championship game. The winner of the Sugar bowl will face either Oregon or FSU who are playing in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Buckeyes have a reputation for physical football similar to LSU. Defensive back Landon Collins says the Tide needs to be ready for whatever comes…

More Alabamians are signing up for health insurance through the federal marketplace than last year. The Department of Health and Human Services says these consumers are snapping up policies at a much faster rate as well. Nearly sixty five thousand Alabamians selected plans in the marketplace during November and December. That compares to nearly twenty nine thousand who had signed up during the same time last year. Washington says ninety one percent of those who have selected a plan are eligible for federal assistance. That's higher than the national average of 87 percent.

Two Alabama death row inmates have dates for their executions. The Alabama Supreme Court says Tommy Arthur will be put to death on February nineteenth with Bill Kuenzel one month later. The two inmates are the first to be executed with the state's new lethal injection drug combination. The state carried out its last death sentence last executed an inmate in 2013. A shortage of drugs left Alabama unable to carry out death sentences. The Department of Corrections adopted a new three-drug combination in September.

It looks like Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is gearing up for a fight. The Republican lawmaker faces twenty three counts of using his elected office for personal gain. Hubbard’s legal team issued a subpoena for a recorded phone conversation between a talk show host and a prosecutor. His lawyers say they believe there might be other conversations involving prosecutors. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart claimed prosecutors are not acting with political motivations. Defense lawyers say the call shows an effort to taint the jury pool.

APR

UAW versus Mercedes Benz

Alabama Public Radio

Audio clip at the bottom of the page

Get ready for plenty of company on Alabama’s roadways. The holiday driving period is expected to drag on until after New Year’s and Triple-A Alabama says this year set a record. Triple-A predicted ninety nine million people nationwide would drive at least fifty miles from home this year. That’s a four percent hike over 2013. AAA spokesman Clay Ingram says the growing number of holiday drivers is part of an ongoing trend…

A Mississippi man could spend twenty years in prison for his part in a scheme to defraud the oil spill recovery effort. The Biloxi Sun Herald reports Shawn Townsel pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges of lying about his past employment to get $25,800 in oil-spill recovery money. Prosecutors say Townsel received the money after claiming he lost work as a first-class painter/blaster with Northrop Grumman/Peyton Sandblasting & Painting in Pascagoula and in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

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…

Consumers in Alabama still don't have a way to track so called payday loans in our state. A proposed  A database to track payday loans in Alabama remains on hold because of a court fight. The system is aimed at improving enforcement of a $500 limit on the amount of payday loans a person can have. But payday lenders sued Alabama's Banking Department to block creation of the system last year. A judge in Montgomery ruled against the industry in August and the industry appealed. The state Banking Department says it hopes to have a final decision soon.

TUSCALOOSA

SATURDAY...RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 90 PERCENT.

SATURDAY NIGHT...RAIN SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 80 PERCENT.

SELMA .

SATURDAY...RAIN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 60S.

SATURDAY NIGHT...WARMER. RAIN SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. NEAR STEADY TEMPERATURE IN THE UPPER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 90 PERCENT.

MOBILE .SATURDAY...RAIN SHOWERS AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 90 PERCENT.

Selma--

.CHRISTMAS DAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S

.THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 30S.

.FRIDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE MORNING THEN BECOMING MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 60S.

.FRIDAY NIGHT...NOT AS COOL. CLOUDY. A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE MID 40S.

Tuscaloosa—

.CHRISTMAS DAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S.

.THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 30S. .FRIDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 50S.

Record numbers of people are packing their bags for the long holiday weekend. Triple-A Alabama is predicting ninety nine million people nationwide will get in their cars to travel at least fifty miles from home this year. That’s a four percent hike over 2013. It’s a number that even the American Automobile Association describes as through the roof. There’s been speculation that lower gas process and higher airplane ticket prices are driving more people to drive. AAA spokesman Clay Ingram says actually the growing number of holiday drivers is part of an ongoing trend…

The National Weather Service says conditions could get rough starting this afternoon. The forecast is calling for straight line winds and the possibility of isolated tornadoes starting later today and into Wednesday. Today’s outlook calls for a lot of rain in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and south of those cities. Tomorrow’s forecast includes rain for more southern areas of the state. Forecaster Gary Goggins says the fact that people are travelling for Christmas could complicate things…

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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