Celeste Headlee steps down from GPB's 'On Second Thought'

Posted Thursday, January 4, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Celeste Headlee, host of GPB Radio's "On Second Thought" news/talk program, is stepping down after three-plus years. Her final day will be at the end of February.

"In the past couple years, my career has changed radically," Headlee wrote today on Facebook. "I'm now doing speeches all over the world and I'm working on my second book, and it's very difficult to be in the hosting chair every day. I will work with GPB to find just the right host to replace me."

She added in an interview that her schedule has gotten too crazy and she feels bad she can't be in the host chair all the time. "I'm tired all the time," she said. "I flew 65,000 miles last year."


In 2015, Headlee did a TEDx talk in Savannah about how to converse better and it became a viral hit, generating millions of views. She released a book "We Need to Talk" last year based on that TED talk and has become an in-demand speaker.

RELATED: Details on her book from my interview with her last year

Her one-hour show airs at 9 a.m. daily on 88.5/WRAS-FM. She started the program and takes pride in what it has become.

"My goal was to help design and produce a show that would focus on issues particular to Georgia and the South, and to feature voices not heard anywhere else," she said in a press release. "That's the kind of show we've created, and I know it will continue to serve the people of Georgia for years to come.”

She added, on Facebook: "It's one of the few public radio shows that has over 40% non-white listeners and occupies a special place in the South, halfway between the conservatives and the liberals." She also noted that it brought in younger listeners compared to many NPR-type shows. 

GPB Radio said it will hold a nationwide search for a replacement. Headlee said she'll help out.

"We've got to find just the right person who believes in the mission of civil, fair, respectful conversation," she said.

Before coming to Atlanta in 2014, Headlee worked out of Washington D.C. anchoring NPR shows such as “Tell Me More,” “Talk of the Nation, “All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition.” She also previously co-hosted the national morning news show, ‘The Takeaway,” from Public Radio International and New York City public radio station WNYC-FM.

She's leaving Atlanta, she said, and will likely move to D.C.  (Her 19-year-old son attends Georgia State University and will stay in town.)

"I will continue to stay connected to GPB as a special correspondent," she wrote. "I'll be back in Atlanta doing town halls from time to time and I'll guest host 'On Second Thought' every now and then, too."

Here's the TED talk that changed her life:

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