WNYC and Public Radio International Announce New Co-Host for The Takeaway

WNYC and Public Radio International Announce New Co-Host for The Takeaway

CELESTE HEADLEE to Join JOHN HOCKENBERRY on Morning Drive Radio News Program Beginning Monday, September 21

(Cleveland, OH—September 16, 2009)—Public Radio International (PRI) and WNYC today announced that Celeste Headlee will join The Takeaway as co-host to John Hockenberry. The announcement was made at the annual Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The Takeaway, a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC World Services, The New York Times, and WGBH Boston, is public radio's first new morning drive time news program in almost 30 years. The program launched in April 2008 on seven public radio stations and now airs on 49 nationwide, and is available on XM and Sirius Satellite Radio and at www.thetakeaway.org as well.

Headlee's first day on the air in her new role will be Monday, September 21, following several stints as guest co-host this past summer.

Headlee brings to the role experience both on and off the air in local and national public radio productions. Most recently, she was the Midwest Correspondent for NPR's Day to Day, covering everything from the auto industry to art, the presidential election to toilet smuggling. From 2001-2006, Headlee was a reporter at public radio station WDET Detroit. Previously, she was the local Morning Edition anchor at public radio station KNAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her news reports have aired on NPR, the Pacifica Network, National Native News and Public Radio International. She has also reported for the Detroit News. Her work has been honored with multiple awards from the Michigan Chapter of the Associated Press, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and the Metro Detroit Society of Professional Journalists.

In addition to her journalistic background, Headlee is a classically trained soprano who has performed at the Michigan Opera Theater and various recitals around the country. She has contributed pieces to Chamber Music magazine, and is the granddaughter of "The Dean of African American composers," William Grant Still.

"Celeste is a seasoned and accomplished broadcaster, and a woman of many talents," said Mark Effron, Executive Producer, The Takeaway. "Her reporting portfolio shows both depth and breadth, and as a host, she brings a natural sense of curiosity and warmth to whatever she does. When Celeste and John first teamed up on the air, I knew we had found the right partner. She and John have the right on-air rapport to draw the audience in and make them comfortable and receptive to our brand of interactive journalism and conversation."

"I am thrilled to be joining The Takeaway," said Celeste Headlee. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with John Hockenberry, and I love the show's lively format and commitment to a direct, immediate connection with the audience. I look forward to being part of the national conversation about issues that affect all of us, and to bringing my own experiences and background to the table."

The Takeaway is the new national morning news program that delivers the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. Each morning, Hockenberry and Headlee convene a virtual "watercooler," sparking critical conversations about the day's top news, taking live reports from the field, and fielding commentary and analysis from a cast of contributors around the table and around the globe that embody our multicultural nation and world. The vast newsgathering resources of editorial collaborators the BBC World Service, The New York Times, and WGBH Boston allow for deep access to local intelligence and a range of perspectives, while the show's interactivity on-air and online allows for unsurpassed use of authentic voices in an American news program.

Regular contributors include Todd Zwillich, Washington correspondent for The Takeaway; Louise Story, financial reporter for The New York Times; Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, sports commentator; Lisa Belkin, author of the "Motherlode" blog for The New York Times; Farai Chideya, author and founder of popandpolitics.com; and Patrik Henry Bass, Senior Editor, Essence.

Recent guests include Elizabeth Warren, Governor David Paterson, Representative Eric Cantor, Representative Barbara Lee, David Axelrod, John Bolton, Representative Maxine Waters, Representative Barney Frank, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Eliot Spitzer, DJ Spooky, filmmaker John Waters, and Senator Chuck Grassley.

The Takeaway is co-produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International, in editorial collaboration with The BBC World Service, The New York Times, and WGBH Boston. It emanates from WNYC's studios in Lower Manhattan.

Major funding for The Takeaway is provided by Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the John S and James L Knight Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, the Freeman Foundation and the Starr Foundation.