Ryan Heinsius

Executive Producer/Local Content Manager

Ryan joined the KNAU staff as newscast manager in 2013. He’s covered a broad range of stories from local and state politics to environment, education and economic issues. He’s also covered wildfire in northern Arizona, including the 2014 Slide Fire that became the largest in the history of the Coconino National Forest. From time to time, Ryan interviews both internationally known and regionally relevant musicians, and he’s a regular contributor to NPR News as well as National Native News.

Before making the leap to public radio, Ryan spent a decade working in print media. As the editor of an alternative-weekly paper, he covered arts, entertainment and local culture and dabbled in political writing with a weekly column.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in political science and journalism, and in the past has returned to teach at his alma mater.

Ryan is also 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

Chris Parish/Peregrine Fund

Saturday is National Public Lands Day. To mark the occasion, biologists at Vermillion Cliffs National Monument near Lees Ferry will release three endangered California condors into the wild. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’s the 20th year the giant birds have been released in the area. 


The president of Northern Arizona University will address the Arizona Board of Regents at its meeting in Flagstaff Thursday. Rita Cheng will update the board on how NAU is faring after state funding to higher education was slashed by nearly $100 million. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


This weekend is the 10th anniversary of Flagstaff’s Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival. In that time, hundreds of national and regional artists have taken the main stage, including the Mars Hillbillies. They’re as local as it gets. An acoustic string band from Flagstaff, they’ve been together for more than a dozen years and have played Pickin’ in the Pines many times. They’ll do it again this anniversary weekend. The Hillbillies recently stopped by KNAU for a jam session and an interview with Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius.

Donovan Quintero/Navajo Times

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about the impacts of the Gold King Mine spill on the tribe. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, he’s concerned about the spill’s environmental and economic impact on Navajo farmers.

President Begaye said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waited 48 hours before informing Navajo Nation officials of the incident. He said the agency’s response lacks transparency and creates mistrust.


Law enforcement officials are investigating at least three more possible freeway shootings in Phoenix. In the past two weeks, authorities have confirmed 11 cases of projectiles or bullets hitting moving vehicles. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Nature Conservancy

The director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency has called on Congress to intervene in the tribe’s recovery from last month’s Gold King Mine spill. Navajo officials say the federal government has failed to provide adequate relief to residents and farmers. 

Michael Quinn/NPS

Over Labor Day Weekend, Grand Canyon National Park had a record number of visitors. Officials say an improving economy and the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial are responsible for the spike. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of dozens of water tests following the Gold King Mine spill last month. The tests were conducted at sites on Animas and San Juan rivers, other tributaries, on Lake Powell, and near the City of Page as recently as Aug. 25. 


Arizona unexpectedly ended the 2015 fiscal year $325 million in the black. As a result, some lawmakers are discussing restoring the funds cut from the state’s three public universities in the current budget. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Earlier this week, Navajo farmers in New Mexico voted to keep irrigation canals along the San Juan River closed for at least a year. They have concerns about soil contamination following the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado. Meanwhile, officials in Page are worried about the incident causing a drain on the local economy, even though scientists say Lake Powell remains mostly unaffected.  Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.