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.

Douglas County Sheriff

The families of the nine victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting are sharing their thoughts with the public.

Friday afternoon, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin's office released statements from four of the families:


Isolation is a major concern for older people. 

Having friends move away or die can often leave seniors with few people to talk to on a regular basis. 

And there's evidence that isolation leads to depression. 

The evidence is collected and amplified by a new survey that shows depressive symptoms increase as face-to-face contacts with other people decrease. 

Oregon Health & Science University's Dr. Alan Teo, an asstant professor of psychiatry, is the lead author of the study. 


We expect water to come out of the faucet when we turn the handle. 

But the task of providing water gets harder in a drought, and our region has been living with drought conditions for several years. 

A national awareness campaign called "Imagine a Day Without Water" brings together a number of water agencies and interested groups to press the case for wise use and conservation this week (October 6-8). 

Viking Press

Talk about making a splash: Mary McGrory's first assignment in Washington was to cover Sen. Joseph McCarthy's hearings to root out communists in the Army. 

McGrory had a knack for being first in a lot of different ways.  She is the subject of John Norris's book Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism.

McGrory rattled many cages and took no prisoners in a career as a liberal columnist stretching into the George W. Bush years. 


It happened again, and this time in our backyard: a person brought a gun to an educational institution and opened fire. 

The Thursday mass shooting at Umpqua Community College is only the latest in what seems like a never-ending series of events involving guns and schools. 

Several guests join us in this hour to talk about this specific incident, but more broadly, what--if anything--we understand about the perpetrators and their motivations. 

Eugene's Joe Lieberman, who wrote two books on school shootings, joins us.

Start warming up your voice.  Friday is here, and with it, the return of our First Friday Arts Segment.

And we'll be singing a cappella with the Rogue Valley Harmonizers, our featured guests in our First Friday Arts segment. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.

ABA Publishing

The New Mexico state legislature once considered an amendment to a bill that would have required some expert witnesses in court cases to dress like wizards. 

It didn't become law, but many oddball approaches to the legal system DO get into the books. 

And a new book called The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance runs down some of the highlights... including the "dress like a wizard bill." 


As fall deepens, the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter (in theory).  It's a great time to head indoors for a movie. 

Which probably explains at least part of the motivation behind "Varsity World Film Week" at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland (October 2-8). 

The week is co-produced by the Ashland Independent Film Festival, under new Program Director Richard Herskowitz.

Once in a while, it's a good thing to step back and take stock of the accomplishments in a particular field.

Especially art. 

And the planned Portland 2016 Biennial will feature recent works from artists all across Oregon, the first of its kind in several years.

Storey Publishing

It seemed like we went overnight from talking about "McMansions" to talking about tiny houses. 

That probably has a lot to do with the economy crashing.  But small places to hang out for a while or live full-time have their own unique appeal. 

Builder/designer Derek Diedricksen scours the planet looking for creative houses, cabins, tree houses, and more... and delivers the findings to us in his book Microshelters

National Archives

Eugene School District is building a replacement for Roosevelt Middle School, and at least one of its teachers thinks the name could be replaced as well. 

Theodore Roosevelt is just one of many white men for whom schools are named. 

RMS history teacher Jenoge Khatter says plenty of women and people from minority groups are worthy of such recognition. 

He's even constructed an online petition to take input. 

Charlotte Duren / JPR

Political correctness and deer are this week's VENTSday topics.

Tell us how far college campuses should go to make language inoffensive, and how far Ashland (or any community) should go in making life uncomfortable for herds of deer. 

You've got opinions on events in the news, and our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.

Workman Publishing

The vocabulary of the English language is huge. 

But sometimes, it's not big enough, at least not big enough to contain phrases that SHOULD be words. 

Lizzie Skurnick started creating words years ago, leading to a New York Times Magazine column rolling out her inventions. 

The column has now morphed into a book, That Should Be a Word: A Language Lover’s Guide to Choregasms, Povertunity, Brattling, and 250 Other Much-Needed Terms for the Modern World


The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas project clears another regulatory hurdle for the project.

We had already scheduled an interview with a representative of the company responsible for the pipeline.  

Then the FEIS landed about 90 minutes before the interview.

The project is bitterly opposed by environmental groups and welcomed by public officials in the North Bend area where the plant would be built. 

Williams, the company planning to build the Pacific Connector pipeline from Malin to North Bend, is trying to sweeten the pot by offering grants to local communities. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

September has been lovely and largely free of smoke around the region.  The excessively smoky conditions of August, caused by wildfires, are behind us. 

But more smoke arrives with fall: smoke from prescribed burns regulated by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). 

200,000 acres are burned each year, and ODF might increase that total, to avoid dealing with wildfires later. 

Eyes To Burma

Fred Stockwell made a living taking photographs, casting his eyes and lenses about for stunning images. 

He finally saw one he could not take his eyes off: the fate of refugees from Burma (Myanmar, officially) living in a dump in neighboring Thailand. 

He resolved to help them, and formed the organization "Eyes To Burma."

The organization is still going, years later. 


All those parents who want their kids to get off the couch and stop playing video games might have met their match in Jane McGonigal

She thinks people SHOULD play games, for their health. 

McGonigal is the designer of "SuperBetter" and other games meant to expose players to real-life challenges. 

And she's convinced the right games can add ten years to a player's life. 


Have you heard the one about books disappearing from civilization?  Maybe we're waiting for the flying cars to take them all away. 

Snark aside, the publishing industry has had its share of troubles. 

But it also enjoys widespread support, as demonstrated next weekend (October 3rd) by the annual Ashland Book And Author Festival

The fest includes a new entity this year, the Southern Oregon Literary Alliance

Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

Slowly, almost glacially, our society has begun to pull apart the many components of homelessness.

One of the main constituent groups is veterans.  And homeless vets get special attention at a number of "stand down" events around the country. 

North Coast Stand Down returns to the Humboldt County Fairgrounds this weekend (October 2-4), with a constellation of services for all veterans, not just the homeless ones. 

Kenneth Ingham/National Park Service

Open warfare broke out between the U.S. government and Native Americans many times in our region in the late 19th century. 

The incidents include the Modoc War of the 1870s, which took place in and around what is now the Lava Beds National Monument. 

The Modoc War and its setting have been explored many times in print, including the book Modoc: The Tribe That Wouldn't Die by Cheewa James, and a new book on the Lava Beds themselves by Herald and News (Klamath Falls) reporter Lee Juillerat.