Southern Oregon University and JPR Foundation Reach Agreement on Shared Partnership for Future

The press kit components are available as PDFs.

JPR – JPRF Q & A
JPR – JPRF Settlement Fact Sheet
JPR – JPRF Chart
Listen to the August 30 “Jefferson Exchange” with guests President Cullinan, JPR Foundation President Steve Nelson, and JPR Interim Executive Director Paul Westhelle.

JPR Listeners Guild Logo(Ashland, ORE) – Southern Oregon University (SOU) and the JPR Foundation have reached an agreement on a new organizational structure that continues their existing 14-year partnership to operate SOU’s regional public radio network, Jefferson Public Radio (JPR). Also contained in the agreement is the creation of a new entity called Jefferson Live!, which will be wholly owned by the JPR Foundation, to manage Redding’s Cascade Theatre, restore Medford’s Holly Theatre and explore the feasibility of the Foundation’s Jefferson Square project.

“We are pleased to announce today that we have reached agreement on a shared vision for the future of Jefferson Public Radio that will protect public radio and connected cultural institutions in Southwest Oregon and Northern California,” said SOU president Mary Cullinan. “I want to thank the members of the JPR Foundation Board for their hard work and dedication to seeing this process through to a successful outcome.”

“It is a tribute to our shared commitment to Jefferson Public Radio and the work of the JPR Foundation that the parties were able to come back together, move past our differences, and find agreement on a shared path for the future,” said JPR Foundation president Steve Nelson. “This mediation was a fair process marked by mutual respect and honest dialogue, leading to a good compromise that will serve these communities in the decades to come.”

The agreement, which was reached in mediation sessions over the past month, stipulates that:

  • Southern Oregon University will be the licensee and operator of all of JPR’s public radio stations (currently SOU owns 15 stations and 32 translators and the JPR Foundation owns 7 stations).
  • The JPR Foundation will remain as a separate but affiliated non-profit entity associated with Southern Oregon University, with its primary role to support and raise funds for the radio network.
  • The JPR Foundation will establish a new limited liability corporation called Jefferson Live!, to restore Medford’s historic Holly Theatre  and manage the theatre once restoration is complete. Jefferson Live! will also manage the ongoing operation of Redding’s historic Cascade Theatre and other related projects.

In response to the announcement, Governor John Kitzhaber offered a statement of support.

“I am glad to see that the parties were able to find agreement on a solution that will benefit communities across Southwest Oregon,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “Jefferson Public Radio is a beloved Oregon institution that provides exceptional information services to the region, and is a great training ground for SOU students in the broadcasting and communication fields.”

Joining SOU President Cullinan and JPR Foundation President Steve Nelson at the press conference in a show of support were State Senator Alan Bates (Medford), State Representative Peter Buckley (Ashland), Medford Mayor Gary Wheeler and Ashland Mayor John Stromberg.

In 2011, the Oregon University System conducted an audit of Jefferson Public Radio and the JPR Foundation. That audit highlighted a number of outstanding issues that had emerged over those organizations’ evolution during the past decade.

Following the audit, representatives of SOU and the JPR Foundation began negotiations about how to best address those outstanding issues. The parties were not able to find an agreement that was acceptable to SOU and the full JPR Foundation Board.

After negotiations failed to produce an outcome in June, Governor Kitzhaber asked all parties to accept a cooling off period and appointed leading Oregon mediator Susan Hammer to restart discussion. The agreement today is the successful result of those discussions.

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