Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson nearly three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.


The flow of children into foster care ebbs and flows, and it is flowing now, in a big way. 

The number of children who have entered the foster care system in Douglas County alone has increased from 41 children in 2013 to 204 children so far this year.

That’s a 398 percent increase, according to data released this year from the Oregon Department of Human Services.

That means more work for DHS, but also for court appointed special advocates--CASAs--who represent the children in court. 

CASA staff say most of their cases have families struggling with drug abuse.

Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Time to take off the glasses and tell us YOUR story of the American Eclipse

Did you travel far enough to see the total eclipse?  Did you stay closer to home and still enjoy the sliver of daylight left? 

We want to hear your stories of the big event. 

So we throw open the phone lines for some of the many impressions formed by this once-in-a-lifetime event. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Arguments in favor of protecting this stream or that forest tend to come down to ecological significance or some other scientific reason. 

Robert Leonard Reid--mountaineer, musician, mathematician, and writer--likes the concept of protecting things because of their beauty. 

He explores the concept further in the 19 essays of Because It Is So Beautiful: Unraveling the Mystique of the American West.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Maybe "umbraphiles" can lay claim to multiple solar eclipses, but the rest of us wait most of a lifetime to see something like a total eclipse. 

And here it is... the "American Eclipse," with a path of totality from the Oregon Coast to Charleston, South Carolina. 

The Exchange takes a hiatus to allow live coverage of the eclipse. 

The BBC will provide that coverage from 8 AM to 11 AM on the News & Information Service of JPR. 


The idea of outdoor recreation differs widely from person to person. 

Where one person may enjoy zooming through the forest on a motorcycle, another would much prefer being able to hike to a place where no human sounds can be heard.  Call that "quiet recreation," because the term is catching on. 

And so is the practice, as measured by an ECONorthwest study funded by Pew Charitable Trusts


Society seems to have gained a new appreciation for bees.  Mostly for their work as pollinators... but can we pause for a moment and say thanks for the honey? 

Honey and all the things that can be made from it--including the alcoholic drink mead--will be celebrated this weekend at the Oregon Honey Festival in Ashland. 

The mind may boggle at the variety of eats and drinks that honey can lead to. 


Exhibition games are already underway in the NFL, and college football is just days away now. 

Don't ask Steve Almond to watch a game with you.  He loves football, but hates what it does to the people who play it and the society that celebrates it. 

We thrill at great catches and long runs, but overlook the toll on brains and bodies.  As Almond puts it, "we want the bacon, but we don't want to see the slaughterhouse." 

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Legal marijuana puts states in some strange positions. 

Under state law, adults can use marijuana for either recreational or medical purposes. 

Either way, it's still illegal under federal law. 

And people can abuse it, so the Oregon Health Authority still maintains a marijuana use prevention program.  OHA is also taking its youth program, Stay True to You, statewide after a pilot project.

The two major political parties have lost a bunch of ground in recent decades. 

The people who self-identify as "independent" far outnumber the people who identify as either Democrat or Republican.  But nearly all major political figures are party members. 

That is precisely the situation the Centrist Project wants to change.  The projects wants to get independent candidates elected at all levels of government, but especially the U.S. Senate... because electing a handful of independents would deny either party a majority. 


That was fast.  Alaska-based Peninsula Air, "Pen Air", began flying to several airports in our region just last year. 

Now Pen Air has filed for bankruptcy and announced the ending of flights to Portland from Redding, Klamath Falls, Coos Bay/North Bend, Crescent City and Eureka/Arcata

That leaves Klamath Falls with no airline service for a second time in five years. 

U.S. Census Bureau

Help wanted: teachers.  The need for teachers will stay strong for years to come, partly because so many are retiring of late. 

What adds pressure to the situation is the numbers of people training to be teachers... it is not keeping up with the rise in the numbers of students. 

Oregon and California both have fairly high teacher turnover rates. 

The Learning Policy Institute tracks these and many other numbers. 

Alena Kravchenko/Wikimedia

Regardless of your feelings, it is safe to say that the Trump administration takes a very different approach to science and the environment from the Obama administration.  Science has noticed. 

And so has the legal profession.  Professor Dan Rohlf at the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland is one of several authors of a paper on how to defend science, specifically conservation science, against political attack. 

The Twin Heroes String Quartet
Twin Heroes

Twin Heroes is an Ashland-based arts group that brings together artists based in New York and Southern Oregon for a series of performances ranging from classical music to cutting-edge dance vibes. This summer's festival kicks off this weekend at Ashland's Dance Space with Transcend: Queer Arts Festival.

Given the deep divisions in the country, the festival theme is compassion and common ground.


"All science is either physics or stamp collecting," said Lord Rutherford, the nuclear physicist. 

A little harsh, perhaps, but Raghu Parthasarathy can probably relate.  Parthasarathy is a physicist at the University of Oregon whose work crosses over into biology, chemistry and neuroscience. 

His work includes researching the microbiome of the gut, which influences a person's overall health. 

When cars drive themselves, will we all be backseat drivers?  There's something to think about. 

Jokes and philosophy aside, there are many issues yet to be resolved with self-driving cars. 

A simple one: how do they work?  A listener suggested this topic after our last session with mechanic Zach Edwards, the owner of Ashland Automotive

He joins us monthly for a segment we call The Squeaky Wheel. 


In 1906, Teddy Roosevelt ordered a large fleet of US warships to circumnavigate the globe. The fleet, painted white as a symbol of peace, became known as The White Fleet. Author Leslie Compton recreates this legendary voyage as a historical love story using postcards sent by a White Fleet sailor. 

Leslie Compton joins us in the studio.

Picture of a drought affected landscape

It takes more than one wet year to recover from a severe drought. What if the next drought arrives soon after?

A new study published August 10 in Nature seeks to understand the ways in which ecosystems across the world recover from drought. It finds that, if a new drought arrives before the ecosystem has recovered from a previous drought, the entire ecosystem may change for good.

William Anderegg,  Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, is one of the study's authors and joins us to discuss his findings. It's far from a dry subject.

Random House

It happens to us all the time: one little slip on the keyboard, and a "protector" becomes a "protestor." 

Typographical errors are not fun for the committer, perhaps, but they can be highly entertaining for the rest of us. 

Scottish editor and author Drummond Moir proved the point with his book of some truly classical typing gaffes, called Just My Typo.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

We already have master gardeners and master recyclers in our midst. 

Now you can add a title: master climate protector.  It puts action into the concept of "think globally, act locally." 

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, SOCAN, offers the 10-week training course for master climate protectors starting in September.  It follows a pilot program earlier in the year. 

News from around the world in an instant.  Summer movies.  Social media. 

The Internet alone gives us an almost unlimited supply of media options. 

And it gives us plenty to talk about with Andrew Gay and Precious Yamaguchi of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

They join us once a month to talk about media topics--news and not--in a segment we call "Signals & Noise."