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.

An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself. French authorities say one of the Paris attackers was a Syrian refugee, and now more than half of America's governors say they will not accept refugees in their states. French authorities say one of the Paris attackers was a Syrian refugee, and now more than half of America's governors say they will not accept refugees in their states. 

Let's hear your approach to the issue in VENTSday. 

While you're at it, give us your opinion of your state's integrity and effectiveness

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.

Warm winter temperatures and Mediterranean beaches... sounds like a tropical paradise. 

But the reality of the Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million Palestinians, is much grimmer. 

Filmmaker Maurice Jacobson documents life there in a multimedia presentation called "We All Live In Gaza." 

Jacobsen, Jewish but no fan of Israeli policies, lived in Gaza for more than a year. 

Tim Duggan Books

Many Americans might have sighed in relief when President Obama announced the death of the terrorist instigator Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2011. 

But as heinous as his words were, and as awful the actions he's accused of plotting, Al-Awlaki was an American citizen, the first to die by drone strike by presidential order. 

The story and the events leading to and from it are told in Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President and the Rise of the Drone, by longtime New York Times terrorism reporter Scott Shane. 

Running Press

There's a lot of attention paid to the liquid refreshments that best pair with certain foods. 

We've gone way beyond the red wine/red meat pairing. 

Not only that, we're pairing drinks with more than food. 

Here's an example: drinks to complement movies.  Tim Federle comes up with a list of 50 in his book Gone With The Gin.

And no, there's no "Terminator" pairing with Jagermeister.  We think. 

Henry Holt

So maybe you had a relationship or three that went awry: she threw your clothes in the yard, or he trashed you on Facebook. 

Those actions pale by comparison with some historically bad separations. 

Author Jennifer Wright documents 13 of the worst breakups in history in her book It Ended Badly.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Medford Police Chief Tim George is retiring at the end of November.

His tenure as chief--less than five years--may seem short, but he's been in an MPD uniform for the better part of four decades. 

That time has been marked by changes in Medford's size and economy, and a rise in gang activity, now a major focus of police work. 

Penguin Books

It's weird enough to think about one of our founding fathers being killed in a duel. 

It's just that much weirder to imagine the sitting Vice-President of the United States pulling the trigger. 

But that's what happened when Aaron Burr faced Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. 

John Sedgwick, whose ancestor was Speaker of the House at the time, writes of the friendship-turned-sour between the men in War of Two.

NASA/Public Domain

In the eyes of people focused on climate change, saving the planet is relatively simple and straightforward: power down, green up, and shout out. 

Those are the main components of the Ashland Climate Challenge, starting November 15th as Climate Week in Ashland concludes. 

Ashland and nearby Talent are developing Clean Energy Action Plans for moving into a world beyond fossil fuels. 


Maybe you're old enough to remember those starchy educational films that played on 16mm projectors in elementary school; subjects included trustworthiness and hygiene, among many others. 

And the film usually fluttered and often broke in the projector. 

The state of Oregon used to have quite a pile of those old films, and not just for youngsters. 

Titles like "Fumigating Strawberry Fields" and "Dungeness Crab Meat Extraction" may not have packed movie houses, but they served their purposes. 

For reasons we'll explore, more than 12,000 such films from Oregon are now housed at Indiana University.  A few of these so-called "orphan films" will be screened in Oregon starting this weekend. 

Public Domain

The personal life of Michael Jackson may have grabbed the headlines in his later years, but his career is what left an indelible stamp on American culture. 

In song, in dance, in video, Jackson changed some popular art forms for good. 

It is this aspect of his life that is the focus of Steve Knopper's book MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson

Knopper is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone; he digs into the forces and influences that produced Jackson's work. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Rogue Valley residents south of Medford have to get used to new sounds: the rumbles and horn blasts of freight trains. 

The Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad closed the Siskiyou line south to California several years ago, forcing any Rogue Valley freight traffic to head north to go anywhere in the country. 

Now with new owners and a federal grant, CORP has reopened the line between Medford and Black Butte (South Weed). 

Art of Survival Facebook page

Maybe you don't generally visit federal courthouses for art displays, but here's your chance. 

The Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene is the temporary home to art showcasing a dark moment in American history: the sentencing of Japanese-Americans to prison camps, including one at Tule Lake. 

A display called "The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake" hangs and stands in the courthouse through November 22nd. 


You still have time to buy a cake, but Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday is approaching (December 12th). 

Old Blue Eyes left a major impression on the music of the 20th century, to put it mildly. 

The 100 years since his birth are observed in David Lehman's book Sinatra's Century, 100 short essays on the singer and his impact. 


Dead and dying marine animals are turning up on Pacific beaches, and the California officials are warning people not to eat crab caught south of the Oregon border. 

The blame falls on domoic acid, a product of blooms of algae in the ocean. 

This year's bloom might have been the biggest ever recorded in the Pacific, according to the Wildlife Algal-toxin Research and Response Network for the U.S. West Coast (WARRN-West).

By now you've heard plenty of opinions on the treatment of veterans in our country.  Now that Veterans Day and VENTSday coincide, it's your turn... tell us how the country treats veterans, and how it could treat them differently.

Our second topic this week: raising property taxes through levies, and what prompts you to vote yes or no (several areas voted on tax measures in last week's election).

Our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear your thoughtful opinions.

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

Public Domain

One of the signature events in American history is receding in the rear-view mirror: World War II ended 70 years ago now. 

Two Southern Oregon writers are preserving the memories through a couple of separate projects. 

Ashland writer Lynne Hasselman set out to memorialize all the Ashlanders who died during the war, a much harder task than you might assume. 

She writes a series of stories in the Ashland Daily Tidings about her findings, under the title "We Regret to Inform You."   

Convergent Books

Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills promised his wife his third tour of duty in Afghanistan would be his last.  And it was, for all the wrong reasons. 

A bomb exploded, turning Travis into a quadruple amputee. 

Now, with the help of artificial limbs, he walks, runs, dances... and generally lives as normal a life as possible. 

He tells his recovery story with writer Marcus Brotherton in the book Tough As They Come

We welcome SSG Travis Mills to the Exchange. 

University of California Press


We've known for a long time that lead can do some horrible things to the human body. 

And so the government took steps to curtail the ways in which lead is used... it is no longer an ingredient in paint or gasoline, for example. 

But critics point out that the government has been slow to take further steps that might have protected people, but also would have caused some business impacts. 

The critics include science historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, the authors of the book Lead Wars

Viking Press

Nazi Germany did not surrender without a fight... a very big fight. 

Hitler's Germany made a last great push in Western Europe starting in late 1944, in what became known as The Battle of the Bulge. 

Ferocious fighting went on for weeks in the winter-bound Ardennes Forest, a tale relayed in great detail  in Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Steeplechase Films

The country was scandalized not long ago by the news that the medical system at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was falling behind in patient care, and falsifying records. 

It was not the first time the country slipped in its commitments to wounded veterans, as pointed out in the documentary film "Debt of Honor."

It premieries Tuesday night (Nov. 10) on PBS, detailing the history of care for disabled veterans in America, and the many times that care has not kept up with needs. 

Director Ric Burns joins us to talk about his project.