Celeste Headlee

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Celeste Headlee
Celeste Headlee, co-host of The Takeaway, April, 2012.jpg
Celeste Headlee
Born (1969-12-30) December 30, 1969 (age 49)
EducationNorthern Arizona University, B.A. 1995
University of Michigan M.M. 1998
OccupationRadio journalist, Singer
RelativesWilliam Grant Still and Verna Arvey (maternal grandparents)

Celeste Headlee (born December 30, 1969) has previously been the host of the Georgia Public Broadcasting program "On Second Thought".,[1] and the co-host of the national morning news show The Takeaway, from Public Radio International and WNYC. Before joining fellow host John Hockenberry in 2009, she was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR's Day to Day and the host of a weekly show on Detroit Public Radio. Headlee is the author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Harper Wave, September 19, 2017).

Early life[edit]

Celeste Headlee was born December 30, 1969, in Whittier, California, the daughter of Judith Anne Still, a writer, and Larry Headlee, a marine geologist. Her father is of European descent. Her maternal grandparents were composer William Grant Still and pianist Verna Arvey. Her maternal grandfather was African-American and her maternal grandmother was of Russian Jewish descent.[2]

Journalism career[edit]

Headlee began her career as a journalist as an anchor and writer with Arizona Public Radio station KNAU in Flagstaff in 1999[3] and as an on-air personality with Flagstaff station KVNA. In 2001, she became a reporter and anchor for WDET-FM, Detroit Public Radio, hosting a weekly one-hour program called Front Row Center.[4][5] In 2006 she began working for National Public Radio, developing stories, covering breaking news, and producing long-form features.[6] Headlee was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR’s Day to Day and her news reports have aired on NPR, Public Radio International, the Pacifica Network, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, and National Native News.[7]

From 2009 to August 2012,[8] Headlee was the host (along with John Hockenberry) of The Takeaway, a live national morning news program produced by Public Radio International[9] and WNYC New York. In December 2017, it was revealed that she was one of many female former Takeaway cohosts who had left the program as a result of having allegedly been subjected to bullying and disrespect by Hockenberry.[10] Other women associated with the program also came forward with similar accounts, as well as allegations of sexual harassment.[10]

As of late 2012, she has been an occasional guest host on NPR's Tell Me More, and a guest host in the absence of Neal Conan on Talk of the Nation.

In 2014, she launched On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcasting. The hour-long public radio show focuses on local and national news as it relates to Georgia and the South.

Journalism awards[edit]

Headlee has won awards from the Michigan AP,[11] The Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and the Metro Detroit Society of Professional Journalists.[12] Headlee serves as a mentor and managing editor for NPR’s Next Generation Project, which is aimed at training young broadcast journalists. While living in Arizona, she was a member of the Artist’s Roster for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. In 2011 she was named a Getty Arts Journalism Fellow by USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.[13]

Musical education and career[edit]

A classically trained soprano, Headlee graduated from the Idyllwild Arts Academy (part of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation) in 1987 and received a B.A. in Vocal Performance at Northern Arizona University in 1993, graduating with honors.[14] Headlee received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan in 1998, studying with Freda Herseth, Leslie Guinn, and George Shirley, and has studied song interpretation with Martin Katz. Headlee has performed at the National Gallery of Art,[15] Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Distinguished Artist Series at the Church of the Red Rocks, Colorado College,[16] the Detroit Institute of Arts, Yavapai College, Wagner College[17] and Wayne State University, among other venues. She also performed with such companies as the Michigan Opera Theater, the Sedona Repertory Company, the Harlequin Players (in Olympia, Washington), the Sedona Arts Center, and the Great Lakes Lyric Opera.[18]

William Grant Still[edit]

Headlee is the granddaughter of composer William Grant Still. Known as "The Dean" of African-American composers, Still was the first African-American conductor to conduct a major American orchestra and have one of his own compositions performed by a prestigious orchestra. Still was also the first African-American composer to have one of his operas performed by a major opera company. Headlee frequently performs Still’s music in concerts and recitals and sang Still’s composition “Levee Land”[19] on the CD[20] produced by the Northern Arizona University Wind Symphony. She has given many lectures about Still's music at high schools[3] and universities and was the editor of the second edition of the book, William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music, for which she compiled the first complete thematic catalog of Still’s works.

Personal life[edit]

Headlee has one child, Grant Headlee. A classically trained soprano, Headlee performs frequently.


  1. ^ "Virginia Prescott Named New Host of GPB Radio's "On Second Thought"". Georgia Public Broadcasting. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. ^ gpb.org On Second Thought 20 May 2015
  3. ^ a b "A2Schools.org: PRI Co-Host Celeste Headlee, Conductor John McLaughlin Williams & Singer Daniel Washington in Ann Arbor Jan. 13". 16 January 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Thanks for visiting the Environment Report's home page". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Metro Detroit: Newsmakers May 4, 2006 - Michiguide.com 2006 News Archives". www.michiguide.com. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  6. ^ "NPR Search : NPR". www.npr.org. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  7. ^ The Takeaway. Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Headlee, Celeste (22 August 2012). "@silouette74 I left the Takeaway -- my last day was Friday". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  9. ^ PRI bio. Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b Kim, Suki (1 December 2017). "Public-Radio Icon John Hockenberry Accused of Harassing Female Colleagues". New York magazine's The Cut. Retrieved 10 December 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  11. ^ "Welcome". Newsroom. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Awards". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Getty Arts Journalism Fellows". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Welcome - The NAU Legacy: - People Making a Difference - Northern Arizona University". nau.edu. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  15. ^ National Gallery of Art.
  16. ^ Colorado College Performance. Archived 2006-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Wagner College Work One Campus Road Staten Isl (26 April 2011). "'Porgy & Bess Concert,' May 1". Newsroom. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  18. ^ The Great Lakes Opera. Archived 2012-06-24 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Levee Land, William Grant Still and Florence Mills". www.florencemills.com. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Music of Afro-American Composers". Retrieved 28 December 2018.

External links[edit]