The Jefferson Exchange Team

Jefferson Exchange Team

The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, April Ehrlich is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.

To contact the producers to pitch a segment idea or make a comment about the show, email them at or call 541-552-7075.


When money gets tight, what do you do?  Payday and car-title loans are among the options that low-income Oregonians resort to, according to a recent report from the Center for Responsible Lending

Student loans, car loans, and credit card debt exert a crushing burden on people who make between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. 

The report includes input from several Oregon nonprofits, including Innovative Changes, which makes small loans itself. 

Midnightblueowl, CC BY-SA 3.0,

We give credit to the British for a wicked sense of satire.  But maybe the credit really should go to their Anglo-Saxon forebears. 

We'll be sure to ask Martha Bayless, a professor of English at the University of Oregon.  Her research focuses on Anglo-Saxon England and many aspects of its culture... including its entertainments and diversions. 

Derek Bridges, CC BY 2.0,

The heart of Mardi Gras season is still a few weeks away.  But why wait? 

New Orleans is unique and exotic among American cities, and worth a look anytime.  Jason Berry observes the recent anniversary of the city's founding in City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at 300

From the swampy beginnings to its modern-day near-death and rebirth, it's a long and complicated story.

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The unemployment rates for the nation and our states continue to look pretty good. 

Oregon and California are both right around four percent unemployment.  But not uniformly; Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon, for example, tend to run about two points higher than the statewide average. 

Damon Runberg is a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department

Society is not so great at sympathy for unseen maladies.  People complaining of back pain will often find at least one person who thinks they're faking. 

And so people with diseases of the mind--mental illness--don't often get fully understood or diagnosed.


Maybe you've wondered a bit about the American psyche.  We do get ourselves into some pickles, like wars without clear winners, and political deadlocks, and people spreading information that isn't true and calling it news. 

Psychologist Bryant Welch wants to put the country on the couch, and does, in a sense, in State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind

If you're familiar with the term "gaslighting," you'll recognize right away what the book is about.  It was first published ten years ago, and has been updated.


Journalists make people mad even when they do their jobs well.  We've reached a moment in history when criticism of journalism is widespread, and income sources for the work of journalists have been reduced. 

A study out of Louisiana State University suggests that journalists can take two pathways to improve public trust in what they do: 1) check their facts; 2) speak up in defense of journalism. 

Journalists tend to groan when they talk about the 24-hour news cycle.  Events move so fast, there's seldom time to bask in the glow of a job well done... because new events knock the big stories out of the headlines almost immediately. 

Our monthly survey of the media landscape, Signals & Noise, attempts to take in events in news and non-news media.  And just a day after our last session, we had five new items to discuss. 

Our regular partners from the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University, Precious Yamaguchi (subbed this month by Chris Lucas) and Andrew Gay, work hard to keep up. 


The people most concerned about climate change are serious about finding ways to power our lives without burning fossil fuels. 

And there is an option that seldom gets discussed: nuclear power.  This is the centerpiece of a book by Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist, A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.  

The authors make the case for a strong commitment to nuclear power as a way to solve climate change. 

Government Alliance on Race and Equity

People do make judgments about other people, like about how healthy their personalities are. 

But stop and think: what are the components of a healthy personality?  This is not just a food-for-thought question, but a real research topic, at the likes of the Personality Change Lab at the University of California-Davis. 

And after a lot of work, lab members think they have the five key variables: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. 

They had to work hard to get elected, but new Oregon legislators face plenty more work once they take office.


The "ends of the Earth" is just an expression for most people.  But Erling Kagge has been there... exploring both poles and climbing to the summit of Mount Everest.  He's come to appreciate something he found in abundance in all three places: silence. 

In fact, he wrote a book musing on the virtues of the absence of sound, called Silence: In the Age of Noise.  It runs the gamut from the physics of sound to the metaphysics of finding silence in noisy places. 

And the response has been so strong, it's been translated into dozens of languages from its original Norwegian.


A majority of American households include either a cat or a dog or both.  There's a good chance that the minority households live in rental units, where landlords often forbid pets.

Our monthly perusal of the Stories of Southern Oregon tends to focus on the people who've led notable lives in the region. 

This month, we get to turn the focus to the collection itself.  Stories of Southern Oregon is just one section of the Southern Oregon Digital Archive at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library. 

There are many other collections within SODA, including an extensive First Nations collection. 


By now, plenty of people have heard of the effect reintroducing wolves had on the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park: more wolves means fewer elk and deer hanging out by streams, so plants like willows grow taller.  Wolves get credit as ecosystem engineers. 

A recent study shows that cougars may have a similar effect in the same area.  And it gets even more interesting, because cougars leaving meals behind (dead deer) has allowed for growth in beetle populations. 

Joshua Barry and Mark Elbroch were members of the research team for Panthera, the wild cat conservation organization. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Forget self-driving cars.  Many of us have been waiting for self-repairing cars. 

That may take a while longer... and during the wait, Zach Edwards and his team at Ashland Automotive will stay busy.  Once a month, Zach joins us to talk about car issues in a segment we call The Squeaky Wheel. 

This month we focus on car issues typical for the middle of winter.


What better time than the New Year to take on a grudge!

British crime writer Sophie Hannah maintains that not all grudges are created equal. Some are better than others.

And embracing a good grudge -- or as Sophie Hannah puts it, walking the Grudge-Fold Path -- can be downright healthy. She outlines it all in her new book, How to Hold a Grudge

Youtube/Camelot Theatre

Plenty of Christmas decorations are still hanging there, but it's time to talk about entertainment options for January. 

Our First Friday Arts segment returns, giving a chance for arts organizations to tout their performance plans for the weeks ahead.  It's probably true that January won't have quite as much on offer as December, but there's plenty to talk about. 

We throw open the phone line at 800-838-3760 for news of arts events happening soon. 

East Carolina University/Jon Carpenter

Our regular archaeology segment, Underground History, branches out a bit this month. 

Consider this the first edition of its alternate: Underwater History.  Because we meet Jennifer McKinnon from East Carolina University, a specialist in underwater archaeology, like on World War II battle sites in the Pacific. 


It's clear that millions of people find the identification of our country as the "land of opportunity" a bit off the mark.  Because there's a huge gap in the United States between the very rich and the very poor. 

People get elected promising to close that gap, but it's still there.  Robert Friedman, an activist devoted to closing the gap, makes some suggestions in the book A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone