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

Get ready to bundle up for what forecasters say will be the coldest weather of the season. Temperatures from the Tennessee Valley to central Alabama are expected to plunge to the upper twenties tonight and Friday night. Weather watchers say these readings are twenty degrees below the average for this time of year. Mark Rose is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham. He says the frigid conditions are due to a polar vortex coming down from Canada.

The APR newsroom continues collaborating on the television show about business called “Alabama, Inc.” I profile entrepreneurs from our state to see how they got from here to there. This week, you’ll meet Fred Spicer, the head of Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens. His path to Alabama started in his home state of New Jersey…

If I say New Jersey, what comes to mind?

Frank Sinatra from Hoboken?

Steve Buscemi in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire? The show is set in Atlantic City at the turn of the century. I admit it’s a little more obscure unless you have cable.


Join a national award-winning news team at the home of the Crimson Tide!

A familiar name and voice will be heard tonight on Alabama, Inc. on your local Alabama Public Television station. Shelley Stewart is a well-known advertising executive in Birmingham. But, his story and that of Alabama’s fight for civil rights are all linked together.

“Anger is just one letter away from danger,” says Shelley Stewart.

Stewart is never at a loss for a clever turn of phrase. He built his ad firm o2ideas in Birmingham during the turbulent 1960’s and he did it with a white business partner.

Election 2014-- The student vote

Oct 31, 2014
University of Minnesota

Election Day is Tuesday, and the candidates have spent a lot of time and money trying to win your vote. APR student reporter Elayne Smith reports on one group that’s learning how to flex its political muscle.

It’s lunch time at the Ferguson Student Center at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Many of these thirty six thousand young people are sweating their finals and wondering how the Crimson Tide football team will do against the L-S-U tigers this Saturday. But for others, these Tuscaloosa students equal votes…

Newscast 8 am October 31, 2014

Alabama Public radio is well into season two of the television business program called “Alabama, Inc.” I profile entrepreneurs who call our state home. Today, we’ll meet an architect whose projects range from a symbol of the civil rights movement to the home of the San Antonio Spurs. Jay Pigford is a fan of the Spurs and he makes no bones about it…

The Alabama Public Radio newsroom continues collaborating on the television show about business called “Alabama, Inc.” Would you pay ten thousand dollars for one good idea? I'll profile the President and C-E-O of Alabama Power and the challenge he put to young people in Birmingham.

“Well, gee Mark. Tell us what can we do to improve Birmingham.’”

That’s not your everyday question. But, Mark Crosswhite had a ten thousand dollar answer. He’s the C-E-O of Alabama power. His audience was the Birmingham youth group called Rotaract…


Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on the television business show called “Alabama, Inc.” A lot of college students work as interns for local businesses. But, how many interns do you know who go back to that very same business, and become the president and C-O-O? That’s the story I have for you today...

During our interview with Hibbett Sports CEO Jeff Rosenthal, we visited the company's sports memorabilia collection. The highlights include footballs signed by Bobby Bowden and Gene Stallings, and baseballs signed by Hank Aaron, Whitey Ford, and Hoyt Wilhelm, as well as super model Kathy Ireland and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Alabama Public Radio newsroom continues to collaborate on the television show about business called “Alabama, Inc.” The second season of the program is airing statewide on Alabama Public Television.

Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on the television show about business called “Alabama, Inc.” It airs Wednesday nights at 10 pm on your local Alabama Public Television station. How many times have you been a customer somewhere, and said to yourself “I can run this business better!” I sat down with the head of the McWane Science Center in Birmingham. She put that idea into action.

The business television program "Alabama, Inc." returns to your local Alabama Public Television station this Wednesday night at 10:00 pm. 

Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on the television show about business called Alabama, Inc. Season two begins tonight. I'll interview the head of a construction company in Birmingham. His work may be familiar, especially if you vacation in Orlando.

“I drive by buildings we did, and I say ‘I built that,’” says Rob Burton.

Newscast 7 am September 19, 2014

PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (AP) - A northwest Alabama town is finally opening a new school more than three years after a tornado destroyed the old one. Students began attending classes at Phil Campbell High School on Monday. WAFF-TV reports that teachers, administrators and some students worked much of the weekend getting the new building ready to open. An EF-5 tornado killed more than two dozen people and destroyed much of the Franklin County city during the outbreak of April 27, 2011. The school was among the casualties.

ATLANTA (AP) — Blake Sims was good enough in his first start at quarterback for Alabama, getting plenty of help from Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, and the second-ranked Crimson Tide held off West Virginia 33-23 Saturday. Sims was 24-for-33 for 250 yards and added 42 running, playing every meaningful series. The fifth-year senior beat out Florida State transfer Jake Coker for the start. Tide coach Nick Saban had suggested both quarterbacks would play, but Coker only came in to take a knee at the end.

APR news director Pat Duggins shot this video at Fort Morgan while covering the observance of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. APR's radio series on the battle, and on Alabama's role in the Civil War in 1864, can be found at

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Department of Corrections officials say a surveillance system featuring more than 300 cameras has been installed at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka. Department Commissioner Kim Thomas said Thursday that the surveillance system is part of an effort to improve inmate safety at the facility. The U.S.

Pat Duggins

Alabama Public Radio is looking back on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. The Naval engagement helped close off supply lines to the Confederacy, which brought the war to an end. It was also a big deal for newspapers during that time. Before radio, television, and the web—this is how most people got their headlines. We’re in the press room of the Birmingham News. Press manager David Ellis takes around as tomorrow’s issue goes by on rollers. The first thing you notice is the smell. It’s the red, black, yellow and blue ink.

Pat Duggins

Alabama Public Radio is looking back on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. The engagement, on August 5, 1864, was a turning point in the “war between the states.” APR listeners heard about the re-enactment of the Battle of Resaca yesterday, but that’s not the end of the story. An Alabama cavalry unit took part in the actual battle. And, we warn you, there’s a twist.

The Alabama Public Radio newsroom will present a week of stories on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay, and Alabama's role in the U.S. Civil War in 1864. That includes the battle of Resaca, just over the border from Alabama. This year marks that battle's sesquicentennial as well. APR news director Pat Duggins took this video while covering the re-enactment of the Battle of Resaca. Civil War enthusiasts re-created the skirmish between Confederate General Joe Johnston and Union General William T. Sherman, on the 150th anniversary of the battle. Tune in for Pat's story about Resaca Monday on Alabama Public Radio