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.
JPR operates one of the most extensive networks of transmitters and translators in U.S. public radio, enabling it to serve nearly 1.5 million potential listeners. JPR provides three unique program streams from a central studio – one dedicated to all news and public affairs programming, one dedicated primarily to classical music and one dedicated primarily to contemporary music by emerging artists. Audience ratings and per capita fundraising consistently place JPR as one of the most successful public radio organizations in the U.S.
Yet, despite JPR’s success and growth, it still operates from the cramped 4,500 square-foot studio facility created when it first signed-on its 10-watt flagship station, KSOR, in 1969. Located in the basement of Central Hall, one of SOU’s oldest buildings, this facility no longer serves JPR’s operational and programmatic needs.
In planning for a new JPR studio facility, JPR and SOU explored several partnerships with other campus programs in an effort to leverage the impact a new facility could create for both SOU students and the regional community. Following extensive program assessment, a plan has been developed to construct a new 6,600 square-foot JPR studio facility that would be part of the Oregon Center for the Arts Complex (OCA) at SOU. The OCA complex is the home of SOU’s academic programs in the performing arts -- theatre, music and dance/movement. The OCA facility will be extensively remodeled and expanded during an $11.5 million renovation that will take place in 2016.
The partnership between JPR and the OCA will create the following benefits:
- It will add a dynamic new program element to the OCA as the arts and culture hub on the SOU campus.
- It will build organizational capacity for the future growth of JPR by creating professional studios and production spaces that support higher quality programming for the community.
- It will create a more visible home for JPR that energizes and engages both the campus and the community with cultural and civic events -- such as live radio sessions with visiting musicians and interviews with local, state and national government officials and civic leaders.
- It will create new learning opportunities for SOU students by utilizing shared facilities such as a music recording studio designed for JPR which can be used by students during times it is not needed by JPR.
- It will strengthen JPR as a vital informational resource for the community during natural disasters and public emergencies by integrating a backup electrical system that can be utilized during commercial power outages.
- It will build the capacity for JPR to mentor students, enabling them to develop employable skills in areas such as news writing, voice work, sound engineering, audio editing, radio operations and digital media content creation.
- It is more cost effective to add JPR’s relatively modest space needs to a larger project.
The new JPR studio will include:
- A dedicated live performance studio capable of hosting live radio sessions with visiting musicians and a live studio audience
- An expanded newsroom creating space for SOU students and community volunteers to participate in JPR’s award-winning news department
- Backup electrical power that will enable JPR to serve as a vital informational resource for the region during public emergencies
- A dedicated public affairs studio from which the Jefferson Exchange and other civic affairs programs will be produced
The total cost of the JPR studio addition to the OCA complex is $2.5 million. The project is planned for completion in mid-2017.