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 Associate Director of Broadcasting for 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.  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 adult children, Kelsey and Evan.

A New Normal

Sep 1, 2018
LIAM MORIARTY/JPR NEWS

During the past several weeks the JPR news department has been at work covering one of the most active and destructive fire seasons in Southern Oregon and Northern California history.  

A New Chapter

Aug 13, 2018

After years of planning and a year and a half of construction, JPR is ready to move into our new studio facility. By the time this issue of the Jefferson Journal lands in homes and businesses around the region we will be completing the final stages of our move, transitioning our daily service from our old facility in the basement of Central Hall on the Southern Oregon University (SOU) campus to our newly constructed studios just a stone’s throw across the campus.

JPR Gets A New Home

Jun 29, 2018

Update 7/11/2018 | 9:00am -- Our engineer continues to work to return all our services to normal. These are the issues we are currently aware of:

Online: Some programming is interrupted by static.

Classics & News:  In some regions the programming is airing at a higher volume than the announcements. 

Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve these issues.

Good Listening

May 1, 2018

Over the past several years, I’ve written extensively in this space about collaborations that have been developing among public radio stations and NPR which are creating better and more efficient news coverage for public radio listeners. The idea is pretty simple—local stations and NPR can accomplish more with fewer resources if we work together, share content and create an organizational framework to coordinate and leverage the work of our journalists and reporters.

Forging Ahead

Mar 1, 2018

As we get our feet under the new year here at JPR, we’re looking ahead to a number of service improvements for listeners.

While projects change from year to year, our efforts to improve our service consistently focus on three main objectives: strengthening our technical plant to serve our current audience better and reach new listeners; improving our programming, both on radio and in digital platforms; and becoming more effective raising funds to support our work.

I admire the skills of accomplished interviewers. The ability to formulate a logical set of questions that tells a concise, interesting story while cutting to the heart of a complex issue is truly an art. Add to this the interviewer’s role as an active listener who must be able to veer from a planned narrative direction when the interview subject reveals something unexpected or presents a complex or questionable set of data.

It’s been an interesting time to work in public media. On the up side, there’s been an amazing renaissance in the oral tradition.

Podcasts, public radio and other on-demand audio platforms have attracted new and younger audiences for the art of audio storytelling, fueling a surge in the innovative and creative work of artists, journalists and audio producers. 

Pushing People Up

Sep 1, 2017

In the alphabet soup of public broadcasting acronyms, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), often takes a back seat to more familiar organizations like NPR, PBS and even well established local stations. 

Moving Forward

Jun 29, 2017

It’s been a busy time at JPR with numerous projects moving forward. I thought it might be useful to share a glimpse of some of the major initiatives and developments in which we’ve been engaged that will allow us to advance our service to the region. 

Federal Funding

On March 16th, the Trump administration released its FY2018 budget outline which includes a provision to eliminate annual grants to public radio and television stations through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  Ultimately, Congress will make the final decision on continuing the annual federal investment that supports JPR and other public radio and television stations across the country. This support totals $1.35 per citizen per year for all public radio and television stations, and just 30 cents per citizen annually for radio stations alone.

In the last issue of the Jefferson Journal I wrote about the uncertainty surrounding continued federal funding for public broadcasting following the 2016 election. Since the beginning of the year several developments have taken place that inform this issue. But, before exploring these recent developments, here’s an overview of how federal funding fits into the public broadcasting ecosystem and supports JPR’s service to Southern Oregon and Northern California communities:

Focus On The Future

Jan 1, 2017
www.kateto.net

As we welcome a new year, all of us at JPR are reminded of the special challenges and opportunities 2017 will bring.

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, creating globally aware citizens 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.

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