Ryan Heinsius

Executive Producer/Local Content Manager

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom staff in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy and public lands issues. Ryan also regularly interviews both internationally known and regional musicians, and is 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.

Ways to Connect

University of California

Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was in her second term when she was asked to join the incoming Obama administration as Homeland Security Secretary. She led the agency for nearly five years, and now she’s written a book about her experiences. It’s her own report card of sorts about the current state of U.S. national security and the more border-focused role of DHS under the Trump administration. Napolitano is on a book tour and will make a stop tonight in Flagstaff. She spoke with KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius. 


Good news for Deadheads: This weekend dozens of local and national musicians will come together in Flagstaff to pay tribute to the Grateful Dead. Over the course of two days, they’ll interpret the band’s music and recreate the Dead’s landmark 1973 performance at the Watkins Glen Summer Jam festival in New York State that also featured the Allman Brothers and the Band. In the latest installment of KNAU’s series Eats and Beats: Stories About Food and Music on the Colorado Plateau, we hear from musician and Grateful Festival mastermind Tony Abrams about his lifelong love of the Dead that started at his first show.

Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President

President Donald Trump has signed a major disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it follows significant winter snowfall that taxed tribal resources.


Gov. Doug Ducey this week signed a bill to commission a task force to study the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Arizona. The state has the third highest rate in the nation, but the epidemic remains under-researched and the full scope of the problem isn’t clear. Tribal communities have taken matters into their own hands in recent years with aggressive social media campaigns to find missing relatives. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius spoke with advocate and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty.


This time last year, officials across the state were on high alert for fire danger following one of the driest winters on record in the Southwest. Now, fire managers in northern Arizona are cautiously optimistic after months of precipitation and a healthy high-elevation snowpack. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius spoke with Coconino National Forest Deputy Fire Staff Officer James Pettit about what officials are anticipating as the region enters what’s typically the driest and warmest months.