Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice are familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program 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 and 2012. 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. 

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

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Politics & Government
8:46 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

2013 Hurricane season begins with warnings for readiness

NOAA

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama officials are alerting residents to be ready as hurricane season begins, even though it's been nearly a decade since the state took a direct hit from a storm. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season began Saturday and runs through Nov. 30. Gov. Robert Bentley and forecast officials are underscoring the need for residents to prepare for the worst should the season usher in another Ivan, which decimated tourist areas in Baldwin County in 2004.

Politics & Government
3:56 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Top Alabama drug cop charged with stealing drug money

istockphoto

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The former commander of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force has been charged with stealing about $125,000 in drug proceeds that were seized by the agency. U.S. Attorney's officials say 55-year-old Jeffrey Lynn Snyder, of Carrollton, has agreed to plead guilty to stealing from the task force between June 2010 and June 2012, when he left the organization. The task force is staffed with police from Tuscaloosa, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the Northport Police Department and the University of Alabama.

Politics & Government
6:01 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Rick Santorum backs candidate for Jo Bonner's seat in Congress

des moines register

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has endorsed conservative writer and former Congressional aide Quin Hillyer of Mobile for a soon-to-be vacant south Alabama Congressional seat. Santorum said Tuesday that he supports Hillyer's position on strengthening America's economy and for his standing up for American values. Santorum says he plans to join Hillyer on the campaign trail and tell Alabama voters why Hillyer would be "the right conservative" to serve in the First Congressional District seat.

Arts & Life
3:59 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Montgomery woman pleads guilty in tax fraud case

istockphoto

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A central Alabama woman has pleaded guilty to gathering personal information that was used to file fraudulent tax refunds. Department of Justice officials say Lea'Tice Phillips, a former state employee, had access to state databases containing personal information. Authorities say Phillips used her state email account to send personal information to a co-conspirator, Antoinette Djonret, who then used the information to file fraudulent tax returns. Officials say the women recruited others to buy prepaid debit cards they could use to launder the money.

Politics & Government
3:23 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Mobile leaders say "no" to expanding a Muslim Center

istockphoto

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - The Mobile City Council is blocking the planned expansion of an Islamic center, a decision the head of the religious organization blames on discrimination. Council members cited parking concerns Tuesday in overturning a previous decision to approve an expansion of the Islamic Center of Mobile. Center president Shafik Hammami calls the decision a "travesty of justice." He claims religious discrimination is behind the decision. Opponents of the planned expansion deny that religion has anything to do with their position.

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Politics & Government
6:27 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Governor Bentley weighs options on State board nominees

State of Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An aide to Governor Robert Bentley says the administration will continue to explore its options after lawmakers adjourned Monday without acting on 70 nominees to various state boards. Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman in the governor's office, said the administration is worried that some boards may not have enough qualified members to do business. Many of the boards, however, allow sitting members to continue serving until their replacement are confirmed.

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Arts & Life
8:05 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

What does Donald Trump, golf, and a 600 pound Moon Pie have in common?

APR/ CPT & R

This Wednesday marks the season finale of “Alabama, Inc.,” the television program about business that airs on Alabama Public Television. The APR newsroom has been collaborating on the show, with News Director Pat Duggins conducting entrepreneur profile segments. This Wednesday, Pat sits down with Dr. David Bronner, the head of Retirement Systems of Alabama, or RSA.

“I’ve had governors, a few of them, like me,” says Bronner. “I’ve had most governors hate the sight of me.”

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Award Entries
1:41 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

"Civil Rights Radio" -- Alabama Public Radio

Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

“For me, it was just a day of resolve and resolution, and I said ‘sign me up,” says James Stewart

“Well, the first thing I tell them is that I went to jail, and they go ‘Oooh, Grandmama,” and I say well, let me explain…” recalled Eloise Gaffney.

“It was just…you knew God was on your side,” says Washington Booker. “And we knew that it didn’t matter what we were facing. You knew if God was on your side, you’d overcome it.”

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Politics & Government
3:13 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

High School kids seek slower speed limits

Istockphoto

NORTH COURTLAND, Ala. (AP) — Students at a north Alabama high school are campaigning to change traffic laws after a teenager died in a wreck at what they say is a dangerous intersection. Students at R.A. Hubbard High School in North Courtland want to lower the speed limit at an intersection where Hatton High School junior Caitlyn Martin was killed in April. Hubbard students are writing letters to legislators to lower the 65 mph speed limit at the intersection of Alabama 157 and Highway 101. Math teacher Karen Posey tells The Decatur Daily that traffic goes too fast at the intersection.

Arts & Life
10:33 am
Thu May 9, 2013

A "sweet" family business

Milo's Sweet Tea factory in Bessemer
APR

Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on a new television program about business. It’s called Alabama, Inc. and it airs tonight at 10 pm on your local Alabama Public Television station. So far this season, APR news director Pat Duggins has interviewed entrepreneurs who build shopping malls, design high-end fashions, and clean up toxic waste. This Sunday, the topic is a “sweet” family business based in Birmingham. Tricia Wallwork hears the stories from customers all the time.

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Arts & Life
10:10 am
Thu April 25, 2013

A Birmingham business that really "cleans up."

APR/CPT & R

Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on the new television program, Alabama, Inc. The show is about business in Alabama, and it airs every Wednesday on your local Alabama Public Television station. This week, how do you go green at your house? We recycle at the Duggins’ household, and we have re-usable canvas shopping bags at the supermarket, and a tankless water which uses less energy. We’re feeling “environmentally friendly,” right? That is, until I met Shannon Riley of Birmingham.

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Arts & Life
6:43 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Listening to the Storm #3-- "Do I have to call the President?"

Westervelt-Warner Transportation Museum

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Arts & Life
5:48 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Listening to the Storm #2 "We opened the ambulance door, and there were 12 kids inside."

Westervelt-Warner Transportation Museum

Alabama Public Radio is collaborating with the Westervelt-Warner Transportation Museum on an oral history exhibit for the second anniversary of the killer tornadoes that tore through our state. The goal is to preserve what survivors saw and heard on April 27, 2011, including Dr. Andrew Lee of Tuscaloosa… When the storm first passed, we didn’t really realize the extent of what just happened. Our ER entrance faces to the north, and we looked outside and it was actually a really pretty day, and windy. We didn’t really realize the devastation that happened behind us.

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Arts & Life
6:07 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Listening to the Storm #1-- "It was like night of the zombies."

Westervelt-Warner Transportation Museum

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Arts & Life
6:30 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Alabama Public Radio-- "Civil Rights Radio"

Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

“For me, it was just a day of resolve and resolution, and I said ‘sign me up,” says James Stewart

“Well, the first thing I tell them is that I went to jail, and they go ‘Oooh, Grandmama,” and I say well, let me explain…” recalled Eloise Gaffney.

“It was just…you knew God was on your side,” says Washington Booker. “And we knew that it didn’t matter what we were facing. You knew if God was on your side, you’d overcome it.”

Read more

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