Paul Westhelle

Executive Director

Paul Westhelle oversees management of JPR's daily operations and service to the community.  He came to JPR in 1990 as Director of Marketing and Development after holding jobs in non-profit management and fundraising for a national health agency.

Paul grew up in northern New Jersey just outside New York City, where he learned to be self-reliant, resourceful and look both ways before crossing the street.  As a student at Seton Hall University he developed a love for live music romping around Greenwich Village clubs. He traveled west in 1981 to attend San Jose State University where he graduated with a B.A. from its School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Paul believes the meaning of life can be found in public radio and baseball. He’s coached several of Ashland's outstanding youth baseball teams and served as Head Coach of the Ashland High School Varsity team in 2012.

Paul and his wife, Patti Grant, live in Ashland. They have two children, Kelsey and Evan.

NPR

In making the announcement, NPR cited three main reasons.In late August, NPR announced that it was discontinuing the feature on NPR.org that enabled visitors to make public comments about its online news stories. The announcement surprised me. After all, it seems antithetical for an organization with the word “public” in its very name to eliminate a mechanism for receiving public feedback.

Engaging A Nation

Aug 31, 2016

By now it’s evident that the 2016 Presidential election is not a typical affair.  One of the ways it’s been atypical from a media standpoint is that Donald Trump has been the first major party candidate in modern times to so unabashedly embrace the concept that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” – an expression made popular by P.T. Barnum, the 19th century American showman and circus owner.

JPR and the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University present the Jerry Douglas Band in concert Thursday, October 6, 2016 at the SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland at 8pm.

Dobro master and 13-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar: elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. In addition to being widely recognized as the foremost master of the Dobro, Jerry Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking  musician whose output incorporates elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.

A New Beginning

Jun 30, 2016
TVA ARCHITECTS

After over 47 years operating from its cramped, outdated facility located in the basement of Central Hall on the Southern Oregon University (SOU) campus, JPR is getting a new home.  As part of the renovation and expansion of SOU’s theatre and performing arts building, The Oregon Center for the Arts (OCA), a new state-of-the-art JPR studio facility will be constructed starting this month with completion scheduled for late summer 2017.

As you might imagine, JPR gets a fair amount of listener feedback. A recent email from one listener criticized JPR for an episode of RadioLab we aired which this listener contended was the final straw that proved JPR supported the proliferation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs have been a hot topic in recent years, both regionally and nationally, with bans approved by voters in Jackson and Josephine counties and the narrow defeat of an Oregon statewide GMO food labeling initiative in 2014.

Turning A Page

Mar 2, 2016

Welcome to JPR’s new member magazine, The Jefferson Journal! We consider The Jefferson Journal to be a natural evolution of The Jefferson Monthly, a publication JPR has produced and published since April, 1993. Going back to the JPR history vault even further, The Jefferson Monthly was the successor to The Guide to the Arts, which JPR first began publishing in March, 1977.

TVA Architects

Jefferson Public Radio (JPR), extends the regional educational mission of Southern Oregon University (SOU) by promoting lifelong learning, providing access to diverse arts and cultural programming, and fostering the intellectual growth and civic engagement of Southern Oregon and Northern California communities.

TVA Architects

Click on the slide show above for architectural renderings and current site photos of the JPR Studio and Oregon Center for the Arts complex by TVA Architects.

TVA Architects

PROJECT TIMELINE:

  • March 2016: Design work completed
  • April, 2016: Construction bidding and selection of general contractor
  • July, 2016: Construction begins
  • June, 2017: Construction completed
  • August, 2017: Move completed
  • September, 2017: Grand Opening

FUNDING OVERVIEW:

unfccc.int

This past summer I wrote about NPR’s plan to restructure its newsroom shifting resources from beat reporters covering single issues to interdisciplinary teams. The goal of this approach is to provide more holistic coverage of complex issues from diverse vantage points. Also central to this effort is a new commitment by NPR to integrate the work of local station and regional reporters into its coverage.

Stories And Grace

Nov 1, 2015
StoryCorps

On the morning after the horrific mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg I listened to Morning Edition intently to learn more about the tragic events of the previous day.  That morning NPR aired a StoryCorps segment that reminded me of the power of personal stories to put in context even the darkest reaches of the human experience.

Making Radiowaves

Oct 1, 2015

This past summer has been an active time here at JPR as we’ve been addressing both long and short term issues that impact our service to the region.  I thought I’d take a moment to update you on some of those recent developments.

Jackson County News And Information Service Gets FM Frequency

After about a year of concentrated effort to acquire and construct an FM translator for our News and Information Service in Jackson County, we were finally successful and able to begin service on 102.3FM in mid-September.  

JPR's News and Information Service is now available on 102.3FM in the Rogue Valley! After nearly a year of concentrated effort to acquire and construct an FM translator for our News and Information Service in Jackson County, we began service today. Broadcasting is a highly regulated industry and the effort to make this happen was multi-layered, requiring extensive legal and technical work and the joint support of Southern Oregon University and the JPR Foundation.

I’m writing this on the day of the first debates between candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination. When I walked into our studio this morning one of our staff members was commenting with surprise that the debates weren’t accessible online without a Fox News Channel subscriber password. I must confess, before today I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to how the debates were being made available to the public.

In the fall of 2014, NPR announced plans to restructure its newsroom with the goal of de-emphasizing the isolated work of single beat reporters. Instead, NPR envisioned a more interdisciplinary approach to covering important national and international issues with reporters capable of exploring those issues from numerous vantage points. For instance, NPR reduced the number of dedicated environmental beat reporters and made it the job of every reporter, regardless of their beat, to explore and report on environmental issues as part of their work.

Stuart Mullenberg

This American Life creator Ira Glass recently caused a ruckus in public media circles when he told a reporter covering an April event designed to attract potential podcast funders: “My hope is that we can move away from a model of asking listeners for money and join the free market. I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great. Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

Public media idealists bristled at the notion, lighting up social media sites to criticize Glass for selling out.

All Things JPR

Jun 1, 2015
Sue Jaffe

It’s been a busy time here at JPR and I thought I’d take a moment in this month’s column to provide listeners a quick summary of recent developments.

                                                       Spring Fund Drive

We completed our Spring Fund Drive in April and, as usual, it was a wild ride.  It took us a few extra hours past our 8pm deadline on the last night to reach our $190,000 goal and over half of the funds we raised were pledged during the last two days of the drive.  As important an accomplishment as reaching our goal, was the fact that we significantly increased the number of sustaining members from 26% of our supporters to 32%.  This huge jump will have a positive impact on our operations in the months ahead, lowering our overall fundraising costs and evening out cash flow to fund our expenses.  With April now behind us, we’ll continue to work with listeners mostly off air during May and June to raise $140,000 in order to reach our annual listener support goal for our fiscal year which ends on June 30th. We appreciate the generous support and many comments about how much listeners value our service.

JPR's website will be in transition this morning (Thursday, May 21) starting at about 9:30am as it gets a facelift to a more mobile and tablet friendly design. The new "responsive" design will optimize the site’s layout for each individual user according to the screen size of the device being used to access ijpr.org.

New Partners

May 1, 2015

During the coming months, JPR will be collaborating with the Seattle-based non-profit journalism organization InvestigateWest to produce a series of stories that explore different aspects of Oregon’s timber economy with a focus on how they play out in Southern Oregon. 

JPR's Spring Fund took place April 7-14.  

This grassroots fundraising effort is a vital element of sustaining JPR's service to the region.  Local support from listeners and businesses comprises 76% of the resources that enable us to create and broadcast our diverse schedule of programs that feed the human intellectual and creative spirit.

Thanks so much to everyone who made our drive a success, achieving our goal of $190,000.

If you missed the drive and would like to make a contribution, there's still time -- please CLICK HERE.

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