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.

Jefferson Public Radio and the JPR Foundation invite JPR listeners and members from the greater Southern Oregon Coast area to join us for a public meeting this Friday, September 26th at 7pm at the Coos Art Museum in downtown Coos Bay (235 Anderson Ave.). The meeting is part of the JPR Foundation's commitment to hold periodic meetings around the JPR listening area to hear feedback from JPR listeners and supporters related to its service to the region.

Public radio in the U.S. is an unusual amalgamation of locally owned stations and well known national networks. Together, these stations and networks partner each day to create and broadcast programs that touch the lives of nearly 35 million weekly listeners. Listeners tend to think about public radio as “NPR” but the reality is that NPR is only one piece of the public radio puzzle.

In an age where text messages, tweets and other social media posts demand short writing, there is new focus on the benefits of getting to the point.   The Washington Post recently reported that The Associated Press (AP) has instructed its correspondents to keep stories between 300 and 500 words, citing the lack of staff at its member outlets available “to trim stories to fit their shrinking news holes” as the primary reason for this policy shift.  And, the website Talking Biz News reported that Reuters recently adopted a policy limiting most stories to no more than 500 wor

NPR recently announced a restructuring of its newsroom designed to more efficiently utilize resources while expanding editorial hubs that combine the digital and audio work of its reporters, editors, producers and bloggers around specific areas of focus.

The appropriations season is unfolding in Washington D.C. and there is both good news and bad news to report related to continued funding for public broadcasting stations around the country.

R&R For Carl

Mar 31, 2014
Photo: Tony Nagelmann

After waking up well before dawn for 30 years and flying every week to Chicago for the past 15, Carl Kasell is ready for some well-earned R&R and has announced he’s retiring this spring after a five-decade career in broadcasting. Carl will record his final broadcasts for Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me! this spring during shows that are being planned to celebrate his career in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The National Agenda

Mar 1, 2014

For better or worse, broadcasters of all stripes operate in a highly regulated environment. While we work hard to focus on and reflect life in our local communities, what goes on in Washington, D.C. impacts our work and can significantly affect our ability to serve citizens. Several national developments are underway that are worth watching.

JPR 2014

Feb 1, 2014

As we settle into the new year here at JPR, we’ve made some significant program changes that we hope you’ve had an opportunity to sample. We’ve shifted several of the programs that have been on the JPR airwaves for years between our three networks and have added several new programs to our schedule that have been high on our listener request list, such as Radiolab, The Moth Radio Hour and the return of Science Friday

I just returned from a meeting of station managers from across the country who gathered to take stock of the public radio system and develop strategies to attract and engage the next generation of listeners. It’s always refreshing to step back from the churn of daily operations to view the bigger picture. As local stations, together with NPR and the other national producers and organizations, look to the future, it’s also pretty amazing to consider the system we’ve built together.


2013 has been a memorable year.  And, every day JPR has been part of the journey … providing news that informs and music that inspires.

When discoveries are made… when chaos breaks out… when your world changes… you turn to JPR.  When you want to learn about a new artist making waves on the music scene … or revisit a beloved classic … JPR is here for you.

As public radio stations across the country attempt to navigate the brave new world of emerging media platforms there has been a new fervor to return to radio’s roots when radio was “live and local.”  Public radio in the U.S. has been built on a foundation of localism. Stations have always been locally (or regionally) owned and operated, and have worked hard to be more than just repeaters of nationally syndicated programming.  Creating local content unique to individual communities has always been an essential element of public radio’s mission.

The New

Sep 12, 2013

By the time you read this I hope you’ve had an opportunity to explore JPR’s new website.  There are a number of features about the new site that I’d like to highlight.

We seem to live in the age of “zero tolerance.” A zero tolerance policy imposes automatic pre-determined punishment for infractions of a rule or law, forbidding people in positions of authority from exercising discretion or changing punishments to fit the unique circumstances or history of any given infraction. While it’s hard to argue against the merits of certain zero tolerance positions society has taken, like drinking and driving, numerous examples exist where zero tolerance rules have led to unjust outcomes and caused detrimental unintended consequences.

This summer as families break out the GPS (or road maps, if you’re old school) and hit the road for the mountains, rivers and beaches, NPR has a great selection of interesting radio series planned to inspire lively conversations and fill the silence during those long road trips. Here’s a taste of what’s on deck.

Lost in Translation

Jun 1, 2013

I recently exchanged email with a JPR listener who was frustrated that one of our translators was experiencing a degraded signal. After our communication, I thought it might be useful to dedicate my column this month to explaining how translators work and why recent developments have caused difficulties for some translators JPR has operated for decades.

In late March, NPR announced that it will discontinue production of Talk of the Nation at the end of June. Over its 21-year run, Talk of the Nation has made a powerful contribution to public radio and set the standard for high quality call-in talk programming. The show also created a model that spurred many public radio stations around the country to launch their own call-in shows, like JPR’s Jefferson Exchange.

Mission Quest

Apr 1, 2013

In a recent conversation with a JPR staff member I found myself in an interesting and spirited discussion about the difference between public radio and what he referred to as “corporate” radio. As I listened, I found myself struggling with the very concept of “corporate” anything. It seems to me that a corporation is a legal structure, not a qualitative standard. I generally accept the principle that there are effective corporations and ineffective corporations, just like there are effective non-profits and ineffective non-profits.

The Big Picture

Mar 1, 2013

Running the day-to-day activities of a pretty complicated public radio network can be downright consuming. Each day, there are programs to produce, transmitters to fix and money to be raised. Through the buzz of daily work here at JPR, it’s sometimes easy to forget the part we play in a bigger public radio community. A recent email from NPR Senior Vice President for News, Margaret Low Smith, made me step back to put that bigger picture in focus and I thought I’d share portions of her communication with you.

Every spring and fall, all satellite receivers (including JPR’s) experience brief periods of high level background noise due to the alignment of the sun, the satellite and the satellite receive antenna.  The digital audio channels used in the public radio system are more resistant to solar interference than the older analog audio channels, however, the disadvantage is that when they do fail, they fail completely and without warning. The only sound is a brief chirp.

Beyond the Cliff

Feb 1, 2013

At the dawn of the new year, the U.S. Congress approved and the President signed H.R. 8: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.” What does this mean for public broadcasting and JPR? Since the legislation includes a two-month delay to sequestration, the mandatory cuts that would be imposed if no compromise could be reached, it delays the estimated 8.2% or $36 million cut to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) that would have gone into effect on January 1 as a result of sequestration.