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, 2013, 2014, and 2015. 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 sixty 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

Monday is the fifth anniversary of the Gulf Oil spill. Below are links to Alabama Public Radio’s national award winning coverage of the aftermath of the disaster off Alabama’s gulf coast in 2010. “Oil & Water: Recovering From the Spill” examined the initial recovery efforts, as well as the long-term effect of the spill on the economy, environment, and mental health of the region. "Oil & Water" won first place for best news series from "The Public Radio News Directors' Incorporated" in 2012.  It was APR's first PRNDI award in a decade.

Governor Robert Bentley is looking for more sources of state revenue and one agency may have found one. The Alabama Department of Revenue is considering a new rule requiring companies that offer digital streaming services to pay a four percent state tax. The fee would apply to movies, television programs and music. The revenue department says it's an attempt to update tax code for the digital era. Governor Bentley wants new taxes to plug a half billion dollar hole in the state budget. Opponents say the rule overreaches the bounds of current tax law.

The budget standoff between Governor Robert Bentley and the state legislature now involves state parks. State House member Joe Faust wants to make state parks self sufficient, so Montgomery doesn’t have to spend tax dollars on them. Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores is one of five facilities statewide that turn a profit. Still, Park Director Lisa Larraway says any budget cuts would be felt. Governor Bentley says he’ll veto any budget bill that doesn’t raise taxes to plug a half billion dollar spending shortfall. He’s proposing ideas like hiking cigarette taxes as one solution.

The former financial chief of two Alabama nonprofits for the poor and homeless will plead guilty to defrauding millions of dollars from the clinics and the federal agencies that fund them. The U.S. Attorney's office says Terri McGuire Mollica has agreed to plead guilty to almost twenty counts related to fraud against the government, including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Mollica worked for Birmingham Health Care and the Central Alabama Comprehensive Health Inc.

The Kentuck Art Center near Tuscaloosa kicked off a capital campaign to renovate its facilities with the receipt of a $50,000 donation from Alabama Power. Mark Crews, Vice President of the utility’s western division, presented the check to the Kentuck board during a member event at Chuck’s Fish in Downtown Tuscaloosa. The campaign seeks to raise over a million dollars to refurbish its five building complex in the town of Northport. Part of the Kentuck complex had to be evacuated when it became infested by bats.

Forecasters say strong storms with damaging winds could hit Alabama. The National Weather Service says a strong cold front and an upper level disturbance moving in from the west will create a chance for severe weather on Friday. The risk is greatest in Alabama's northwestern corner early in the day, and forecasters say storms will spread to the southeast during the day before exiting the state. The weather service says periods of damaging winds and large hail are possible. So are some short-lived tornadoes, although forecasters aren't expecting a major outbreak of severe weather.

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.

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.

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.

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.