The Jefferson Exchange

News & Information: Mon-Fri • 8am-10am | 8pm-10pm

JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

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To participate in the live program, call 800-838-3760 or email


Bicycles are moving around the city of Medford, sometimes ridden by people who do not own them.

Medford Police report an uptick in bike thefts this year, more than 62% up from the same time last year. The reasons are not clear, but some preventive actions could curb the trend.


Quick, name the powerful figures behind the rise of right-wing politics in America.  The Koch Brothers?  Yes, and... James McGill Buchanan. 

Who?  Buchanan was a Nobel-winning economist whose ideas were largely taken up and boosted by the Koch Brothers. 

Historian Nancy MacLean told the story in her book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America


Norma Paulus left the planet in 2019.  She was Oregon's first woman secretary of state, first woman major party candidate for governor, and later Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Paulus did not take no for an answer, at a time in history when many men in positions of power said "no" to her.

Before her health declined, Paulus and a pair of co-authors joined forces to tell her story, in The Only Woman In the Room: The Norma Paulus Story.

Lamiot, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Athletic teams will get new places to play in Grants Pass in the new year and there's an issue over the surfaces the teams will play on. 

Artificial turf will be used on the new fields at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, and the plans call for "crumb rubber" fill... the little beads of rubber that make the field more springy and natural, and make those little black sprays when players slide across the "grass." 

Urban Youth Foundation

The emergence of Greta Thunberg as a leading commentator on climate change may only have deepened the sense that the issue is only of interest to white people.  Angelou Ezeilo begs to differ. 

She is the founder and CEO of the Greening Youth Foundation, working with young people of all colors to focus on the environmental needs of the planet and its occupants.  And she provides a blueprint to follow in a new book, Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders

Crank up the tunes, it's time for another edition of Rogue Sounds.  Our monthly musical interlude features the sounds of five bands planning performances in the area. 

Josh Gross, music player and creator, is our guide, compiling the list of musical events, with an eye to variety. 


Welcome to 2020!  New Year's Day gives us a chance to look both forward and backward at once.  We revisit some Exchange segments from the past.  

At 8: Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever say our future can be a choice between "Star Trek" and "Mad Max"... and decisions made by all of us will decide which we get.  Their book is The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Your Technology Choices Create the Future

At 9: The stories of people with impressive educations working low-pay jobs in the United States are not simply apocryphal.  Deepak tells his story in How May I Help You? An Immigrant's Journey from MBA to Minimum Wage

City of Eureka

Life is a long journey; a lot of us wish for a co-pilot.  The need may be felt more acutely by people living on the street. 

Which is why the City of Eureka's UPLIFT program pairs people not currently living indoors with people who are.  The person who is currently homeless gets a volunteer co-pilot to help guide the homeless person to services, and eventually (it is hoped), to housing. 


The people who want to blow up the current system of political gridlock may find something to like in the program called BAM 2020

BAM is actually an acronym for Build A Movement, a movement aiming to unite people behind a number of issues, with climate change at the top of the list. 

Dr. Paul Zietz, a physician and epidemiologist, is the creator of BAM 2020. 


Kiese Laymon has a story to tell, and don't expect it to make you smile.  His life has had its ups, to be sure, but plenty of downs as well. 

It's no accident that his memoir bears the title Heavy.  Sexual violence, gambling, anorexia, and obesity are just a few of the subjects the book contains. 

Last year Kiese Laymon joined host Rob Goodwin for an episode of The Keenest Observers. 


Homelessness is shrinking across America, says HUD, the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.  But that's the whole-country picture; two states are singled out as places where homelessness is growing significantly: California and Oregon. 

David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0,

No word on whether Jonathan Lethem was among the first people in line for the latest Star Wars movie.  But he was a big fan of the first one (first one made, that is), seeing the 1977 classic 21 times. 

It was part of his escape into fictional characters, a process he continues in his own novels, like Motherless Brooklyn and Dissident Gardens

Lethem visited a few years back to talk about More Alive and Less Lonely, his writing that muses on the workings of the minds of other writers. 


The Christmas holiday extends a bit longer for the Exchange staff.  Instead of a live show today, we present a couple of interviews from our archives.  

At 8: Michael Copperman now teaches at the University of Oregon, but he volunteered for Teach for America and ended up in one of the poorer parts of the country.  He tells the story of that time and how much he learned from his students in the book Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta.

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, has a special significance on the Exchange.  Our staff takes the day off and pulls a couple of shows out of the storage boxes for your listening pleasure.  

At 8: some of the really bad ideas of science, boiled down to a list of seven.  Physician and vaccine inventor Paul Offit takes up the subject in his book Pandora's Lab. 

The Exchange takes Christmas off, presenting in its time slot "The Keepers, from the Kitchen Sisters and PRX," hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand. Stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas. Keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep.

In hour one, The Hip Hop Archive at Harvard, The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky, The Lenny Bruce Archive and more striking and surprising stories of preservation and civic life.


Oregon has long lacked an adequate number of foster homes for all of the children in foster care.  And after revelations of children sleeping in hotel rooms and Child Welfare offices because of that lack, the pressure was on to clean up the system.

To the untrained eye, it may look like high school students getting senior portraits taken... dozens of them all at once.  But there's more going on at a Portrait Slam

Models and photographers and makeup and hair and wardrobe people all assemble in one place at the same time, to shoot a series of portrait photographs.  Locations can range from ritzy vintage homes to junkyards. 

Squidocto, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Let's celebrate Oregon.  You know, the place where it rains a lot in the tall evergreen trees?  Maybe that's how much of the country views Oregon, but we know better. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Albert Herring, CC BY 2.0,

The image--and the sound--is still fresh to many minds in Redding.  The Carr Fire's entrance into town in late July 2018 was frightening, loud, and destructive; the fire had created a tornado. 

Science verified what people saw that night, but there are still some gaps in the knowledge.

Justin thought he was having a heart attack, so he went to the hospital.  The diagnosis came back: not heart attack, but anxiety attack. 

Justin's experience is a reminder that mental health issues can interfere with a person's life just as much as physical health issues.  This will surprise no one at Southern Oregon Compass House, a clubhouse shared by people with persistent mental illness in Medford.