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For Celeste Headlee, the Middle Ground is Not Flyover Country

Celeste Headlee
Middle Ground Kickstarter

Celeste Headlee is a public radio veteran. She co-hosted the daily news show The Takeaway, has guest-hosted Weekend All Things Considered & Tell Me More and covered the Midwest for NPR. Her experience reporting on the Midwest is an important part of her latest project,  Middle Ground.

She says the goal of the show is to bring “voices, stories, songs, and news from Middle America” to listeners of public radio.

Coverage will include news, politics and culture in the states between California and the eastern seaboard, including Pittsburgh.

“We’re kind of drawing outside the lines on the map, a tiny bit, to catch Pittsburgh because you cannot separate Pittsburgh from the rest of the middle of the country. It’s part of the rust belt, it’s part of the blue belt, its definitely a middle type of city. And it has the same essential problem that we recognized in other areas of the middle of the country. Which is that it either gets not enough national coverage or the national coverage that it gets is stereotypical and not very good.”

The stories are intended to help readers and listeners understand these areas of the country.

“I want to focus on two things. I want to focus on stories and voices we don’t normally hear and two, I really want to focus on diversity. I want public radio to really sound exactly like the country sounds.”

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