While she will take on issues such as local education, politics and transportation, she will also address national and international topics that resonate with listeners.
The first week, Headlee plans to tackle the ebola crisis, the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial, film production in the state, the upcoming elections and a state law allowing guns in hospitals. She has also banked interviews with host and author Tavis Smiley and British screenwriter Amma Asante.
"We're thrilled to have a journalist of Celeste's caliber to host 'On Second Thought,'" said GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan, who hired her. "She has a wealth of experience covering a multitude of issues on radio and a drive to get to the heart of stories. Her commitment to highlighting diverse voices makes her the perfect choice to lead this new effort for GPB."
Headlee, a married 44-year-old California native with two kids, said her mother's side of the family was owned by a Georgia plantation owner during the Civil War. The owner helped his mixed-race children with land and education, she said. Her grandfather is a famous composer William Grant Still, known as the first African-American to conduct a leading American orchestra.
She herself is a classically trained soprano and still performs opera professionally. But her primary focus the past 15 years has been public radio journalist for a variety of shows in cities such as Detroit and Washington D.C.
Not surprisingly, she plans to cover plenty of culture stories. "I don't see arts as fluff," she said.
She isn't fazed by the new competition with WABE-FM, which plays classical music while she is on air. "I come from L.A.," she said. "We have multiple public stations. One station can't be all things to all people. The winners are going to be the listeners."
GPB plans to heavily market "On Second Thought" with a digital billboard campaign and the slogan, "Mornings just got smarter." "She's going to be everywhere," promised Bert Huffman, vice president for marketing and development.