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.

University of Oregon

The University of Oregon's football team gained fame in recent years for the variety of its uniforms and accessories (and for winning a bunch of games). 

Another part of the university is involved in designing products athletes use. 

That is the recently opened Sports Product Design Program at the Portland campus of UO. 

This month's installment of "cUriOus: Research Meets Radio" focuses on the PD program and its specialization in sports equipment for athletes with disabilities. 

Marine Mammal Institute

You only need to stand by the ocean for a few minutes to see evidence of marine mammals in the water. 

There are LOTS of them, and the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University is set up to study them in depth. 

But MMI ranges farther afield than the Northern Pacific.  Associate Professor Ari Friedlaender and other institute fellows have traveled as far as Antarctica to study whales and other mammals.

The election just finished should provide all the evidence you need that people see immigration--legal and not--from a bunch of perspectives. 

Peg Bowden, a former nurse, withholds judgment of the people coming into the United States from Mexico.  She lives hard by the border in Arizona, and works helping people with basic survival needs in the harsh desert. 

Bowden offers a view of her tasks in her book: A Land of Hard Edges: Serving the Front Lines of the Border

Jackson County Search & Rescue

Our region offers many quiet places in woods and mountains to get away from it all.  And sometimes, that's a problem. 

Because people can get lost in the backcountry, and need help finding their way back to civilization.  That's why Search and Rescue exists. 

Each county in our region has an SAR team they can call in an emergency, and they partner through the CORSAR task force, California-Oregon Search and Rescue. 

We visit with Jeanette Sinclair, a volunteer on Coos County's SAR team, and Sgt. Shawn Richards, a coordinator for the Jackson County team

We focus a great deal of attention in our veterans, in political campaigns like the one just ended, and in non-election years. 

But while service members are deployed, they've got people back home waiting and hoping for a safe return. 

Two military families are profiled in the documentary "While Time Stands Still," by filmmaker Elena Miliaresis. 

She and her film visit Southern Oregon for a few screenings, and a discussion show on Southern Oregon Public TV


Mountains and ocean; our region has so many great features.  Especially where those features meet. 

That's where you'll find Nick Neely, or at least his attention. 

He's written a number of essays about the Coast Range in California and Oregon, newly compiled in the book called--ahem--"Coast Range." 


We complain about the cramped seats on commercial planes, but at least we can get up and go to the bathroom. 

Not so in fighter jets like the ones Larry Wood flew in his career.  Wood was a fighter pilot for the Marine Corps in Vietnam, one of many duties in a long military career. 

He'll give us a glimpse into life in the cockpit when he visits the Exchange.

The college football team from Oregon went to the National Championship game, and lost. 

But this is about that OTHER game, and that other team. 

In 2014, both the University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University played for the top prize in college football.  In very different divisions, but a championship is a championship. 

SOU won, and yet the Ducks' efforts--albeit on a much larger stage--overshadowed the Red Raiders' victory. 

That team is the focus of a documentary already produced called "Becoming."  Former SOU player Michael Bryant had a hand in that, and is now working on a profile of a successful small-college team, in the film "MOmentum."

AIS Facebook page

Art is not just for artists, and it has other uses besides hanging on walls. 

These are some of the thoughts behind this weekend's Art Inspires Ashland (November 11-13).  As the name implies, the idea is to use art as a catalyst in community building. 

This is work Milenko Matanovic does all the time, merging art, collaboration, and community building.

The world gasped at the picture of the Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, covered in dirt and blood after his home was bombed in Aleppo.  It's clear why people want to leave Syria. 

But it's harder to make the world understand, and harder still to get countries to welcome the refugees. 

Taylor Olson-Hill worked in a refugee camp in Greece; she tells about her work in a talk today (November 10) at Southern Oregon University. 

The answer to the question "where did that come from?" is easy for some situations.

It's infinitely harder to answer when it is directed to the universe.  The WHOLE universe. 

Lawrence Krauss does not shrink from the task.  He is a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, pondering the major questions of our existence.  But he also compares real-universe physics with the kind we see in Star Trek movies. 

And he is a visitor to Southern Oregon University, part of the campus theme of "Shapes of Curiosity."

Hula, the Hawaiian dance form, is an ancient art. 

But Patrick Makuakāne and his San Francisco company, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, fuse the ancient with the modern in their performances. 

And the story of the company and the art is told in the book The Natives Are Restless by Constance Hale. 


Republican Bob Strosser has claimed a seat on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. 

The former Medford city council member held a large lead in early vote totals, 57 percent to 41 percent.  Democrat Jeff Thomas, a Medford school board member, trailed. Those numbers basically held through Wednesday morning, giving Strosser his win.

Strosser will replace Doug Breidenthal on the board in January.  Strosser defeated Breidenthal in the Republican primary in May.

Elsewhere on the Jackson County ballot:

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

Josephine County's longstanding issues with public safety funding emerge unchanged from yet another election cycle. 

County voters rejected the latest version of a property tax levy that would have provided funding for sheriff's deputies, jail beds, and prosecutors.  Measure 17-74, like every public safety levy before it, went down to defeat.  In the first rounds of returns, the No votes led the Yes votes, 61 to 39 percent.

Josephine County is one of many Western Oregon counties that depended heavily on timber receipts from federal land to fill its general fund.  With little logging, the revenues crashed, and the county's property tax rate is too low to make up the difference.  Sheriff's patrols have been reduced to a few hours a day, with Oregon State Police picking up some of the criminal justice slack.  The levy loss ensures a continuation of that arrangement.

Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia

At last, we have numbers.  Or will, by the time VENTSday begins on the morning AFTER the election. 

So you can guess what we'll be talking about.  From president to town council, from death penalty to mosquito tax, all election results are fair game on the super-sized edition of VENTSday. 

Grab a phone or email device while we dive into the pile of results--800-838-3760 or

Overjoyed?  Underwhelmed?  A little of each?  This is our chance to get a big community discussion going on the election results.

We know more about the brain than ever before, and we are more aware than ever before about what happens to many people with mental illness in our society. 

But can the knowledge help us treat people, reduce jail populations, and get some homeless people off the streets? 

Residents of Compass House in Medford share their stories of living with mental illness, while the facility's staff joins us in the studio to talk about their mission. 

From "Ratf**ked"/W.W. Norton

It can be mighty hard to remember that there is more on the ballot than the race for president, MUCH more.  And what happens at the top of the ticket can have a profound effect on races down the ballot, like races for Congressional seats. 

Even so, do not expect the Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives.  The districts are drawn to accentuate Republican power in many states, as David Daley told us months ago in his book Ratf**ked

He adds an addendum to the book with a recent article at Salon

Southern Oregon University

Bertold Brecht left Germany shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933. 

But Brecht's dislike of Hitler waned little in self-exile, resulting in the play "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui."  Audiences recognize a Hitler-like figure in Arturo Ui, a Chicago mobster trying to monopolize the cauliflower market.  Yes, cauliflower. 

Southern Oregon University's Department of Performing Arts brings Brecht's work to the stage in Ashland starting this week (November 10). 

Up & Down Ashland

There's some disagreement about the actual numbers, but the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is up for expansion. 

By some counts, it would double in size if President Obama approves the expansion.  But there will be more discussion, and not a little vocal opposition, before the decision. 

Commissioners in both Jackson and Klamath Counties are on record opposing the expansion; cattle grazing groups oppose as well. 

Groups in favor are thrilled by the prospect of a bigger monument.

Bad feelings about the U.S. Army's "School of the Americas" die hard. 

The training center at Fort Benning in Georgia trained some of the worst Latin American dictators and their operatives after its creation in the 1960s. 

School of the Americas Watch has campaigned for its closing for years. 

The army officially changed the name 15 years ago, but the function remains.  As does the protest.