Ryan Heinsius

Executive Producer/Local Content Manager

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR News and National Native News.

Before making the leap to public radio, Ryan spent more than a decade in print media as the editor of an alternative weekly paper. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in political science and journalism and has also returned to teach at his alma mater. 

Ryan is a Flagstaff-based musician and has performed and recorded with many bands in the Southwest. He spends as much time as possible with his wife and daughter hiking and cycling the amazing terrain of northern Arizona.

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Rural counties in Arizona have more than double the rates of suicide than those in urban areas. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, officials have begun an effort to increase mental health and other services outside of Arizona’s biggest cities. 

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Fifty years ago today, throngs of people descended upon Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. It was billed as 3 days of peace and music, and would go on to become a legendary moment in U.S. history and the counter culture ideology of the time. We didn’t have to look too far to find someone who was there…John Heinsius, father of KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius, was 19 when he and a friend hit the road for Bethel. He lied to his parents about where he was going because he just didn’t think they could handle the truth. It’s a secret he kept from his mother for the rest of her life. She died last year at the age of 97.  In the latest installment of our series Eats and Beats, John reflects on the experience…and the lie he told 50 years ago in the name of peace, love and music.

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Peabody Energy will lay off nearly its entire workforce at the Kayenta Mine this month as it prepares to close the site. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, coal industry critics say the company is abandoning local communities.

Peabody Energy/Wikimedia Commons

Almost all of the workers at the Kayenta Mine on the Navajo Nation are facing layoffs in the coming weeks. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, Peabody Energy will cease operations as its sole coal customer, the Navajo Generating Station, is also slated to close.


The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a Navajo-owned company a contract to control erosion at an abandoned uranium mine on the reservation. It’s part of a larger cleanup effort of hundreds of sites on the tribe’s land. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.