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Bobby Ampezzan Joins Statewide Radio Network

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Natural State News, the newly created regional collaboration of Arkansas public radio stations based at KUAR-FM at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, announced on Friday that Bobby Ampezzan has been hired as the project’s managing editor.

Ampezzan, editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Sunday High Profile section since 2012, will oversee three reporters focusing on long-form storytelling about education, health and energy, with a focus on rural Arkansas, according to a news release from UALR.

Ampezzan, a native of the Detroit area, will be based at UALR, according to Allen Hicks of the university’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

The reporters will be based at KUAR, KUAF in Fayetteville and KASU in Jonesboro, stations that have been sharing news material, along with KTXK in Texarkana, since 2009.

A grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting provided $278,300 in funding for Natural State News, which was among the projects being promoted by KUAR General Manager Ben Fry before his death in March.

Ampezzan started at the Democrat-Gazette as a feature writer in 2008 after reporting stints at the Times-Herald in Port Huron, Michigan, and served as an intern at public station WNYC in New York, where he helped to produce the “Leonard Lopate Show,” according to the release from UALR.

He received a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

“We’re extremely excited to bring Bobby on board to lead our newly funded RJC, which I think will bring our state coverage to a new level,” KUAR News Director Michael Hibblen said in the release. 

Hibblen represents KUAR on the editorial board that will oversee the collaboration. Hibblen praised Ampezzan’s journalism background, passion for public broadcasting and “experience in overseeing and bringing out the best in reporters.”

Along with KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK, partners in the project are the Arkansas Educational Television Network, the El Latino Spanish-language newspaper, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

The project’s next step is to hire a partner manager to oversee fundraising and administration. Prospects for that job are now in the interviewing process, Hicks said.

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