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

The Coloradoan

A group supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona says its proposed ballot initiative could pump millions dollars into state education every year. 


Two environmental groups have filed objections to a forest-thinning project designed to protect Flagstaff’s watershed from wildfire and flooding. The groups say the plan would have negative effects on the threatened Mexican spotted owl. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

AP/Matt York

Arizona environmental officials say they don’t expect the Gold King Mine spill to have any negative impacts to the state’s watershed. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they say Lake Powell will likely disperse the waste made up of several heavy metals.


The most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau puts Arizona near the bottom of the list for K-through-12 public-education spending. That comes as most states are increasing the amount dedicated to schools. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

The toxic plume from the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado last week is no longer visible as it’s mixed with the murky San Juan River. Officials say it’s uncertain whether the polluted water has reached Lake Powell. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


State wildlife officials have voted to increase the practice of “cross-fostering” Mexican gray wolves. That’s the substitution of captive-raised pups for wild ones in hopes of increasing genetic diversity. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Donovan Quintero/Navajo Times

The 3 million gallons of mining waste that spilled into Colorado’s Animas River is now flowing into the San Juan River on the Navajo Nation. Tribal officials have declared a state of emergency and are preparing to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Prolonged drought in the Southwest has caused a rapid drop in the water level of Lake Mead. That’s putting water supplies to some major cities in jeopardy. But it’s also exposed some of the area’s history and a long-submerged town. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

James Minchin

Musician Michael Franti has built a career on blending catchy tunes with socially conscious lyrics. He’s currently touring the world with his band Spearhead, and tonight they perform in Flagstaff. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius caught up with Franti by a scratchy phone connection while he waited for his plane to take off from the Calgary International Airport. 

David McNew/Getty Images

A group advocating for the legalization of recreational marijuana has collected a third of the signatures it needs for Arizona’s 2016 ballot. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.