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.

ITU-R.Farrell, AI for GOOD Global Summit/Wikimedia Commons

"Another cup of coffee, ma'am?"  Stop and ask yourself if it would make a difference to you who asked that: person or machine. 

Because those days may be coming; we're already saying "OK Google" to our phones, and some of us are making requests of Siri and Alexa. 

Artificial Intelligence will play a prominent role in the future, and Amir Husain suggests we get ready.  NOT by either popping champagne corks or hiding under the bed, but by understanding the possibilities of AI and humans side-by-side. 

Husain, an AI expert, is the author of The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence


Language and pronunciation are constant issues in the radio business.  If we call Yreka "Eureka," we're not just wrong, we're off by 200 miles (by road). 

But even we can't say for sure that there's a dialect unique to Southern Oregon. 

Aside from place names, are there differences in how we say things from, say, Southern California? 

That's what Anna Kristina Moroz is researching in her work at the University of Washington


First came the grapes, then came the pot.  Southern Oregon agriculture switched many properties from pears to wine grapes in recent years. 

Now the hot cash crop is cannabis.  And there's already evidence of disgruntlement about marijuana's possible effect on nearby vineyards, concerns about flavors and odors of cannabis creeping into the wine grapes. 

Maureen Battistella built the "Wine of Southern Oregon" collection at Southern Oregon University; Mark Wisnovsky runs Valley View Winery and grows hemp for CBD; Katherine Bryan runs Deer Creek Vineyards and grows cannabis as Bryan Family Farm.

Public Domain

"I am not a physicist and this is not a physics book." 

That's the statement from David Schwartz, the son of a physicist and the author of a new biography of Enrico Fermi, The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Schwartz figured it was time for a new biography, because Fermi's work (he died in 1954) continues to influence physics and its practitioners today. 

Tim McCabe, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Public Domain,

Two things are generally true about conventional agriculture: 1) it takes people, 2) it takes pesticides. 

So there are situations where people are exposed to pesticides when they work on farms and orchards. 

Oregon OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) adopts new rules to protect farmworkers and people who handle pesticides, effective sometime next year.   We explore the rules and the reactions to them: Michael Wood from Oregon OSHA visits. 

We still have a love affair with our cars and trucks in America.  Until they start acting up... then the love begins to feel conditional. 

Zach Edwards is in the business of fixing that relationship through car repair; he's the boss at Ashland Automotive

And he joins us once a month for a segment we call The Squeaky Wheel, a chance to talk about car car issues and swap stories. 


Drug addiction is one of the stories of our time.  Still. 

The drugs change, but the addictions keep on coming, despite The War on Drugs and many other efforts to stop people from taking drugs they do not need. 

The country is focused on opioid prescription drugs at the moment, and the heroin addictions they can lead to. 

But Addictions Recovery Center in the Rogue Valley stays focused on getting people into recovery, no longer feeding their addictions.  ARC's story goes back 40 years and more, and its configuration has changed, but the mission remains the same.

Eugene Ballet

The days are short, the nights are long, and the weather is often too lousy to go outside. 

In other words, December is a GREAT month for events in the arts!  Indoor events, we stress. 

Plays, concerts, gallery shows, and ballets about kitchen appliances abound. 

We welcome them all in our First Friday Arts segment, built entirely on listener phone calls. 

Got an event in your town?  Tell the Exchange audience about it by calling 800-838-3760.

Harland Quarrington/Wikimedia Commons

It can be truly difficult to keep up with the ever-changing media landscape.  Even for us, and we're PART of the media. 

Just consider the recent news items about media (and political) figures accused of sexual misconduct. 

Or the effort to end net neutrality through federal regulatory action. 

There's always something new to digest and discuss in Signals & Noise, our monthly conclave with members of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University. 

Steven Larsen, CC BY 3.0,

Amy Alkon wants people to behave better, but she serves up the information with plenty of humor. 

Alkon provides advice through columns ("The Advice Goddess") and a weekly radio show. 

She is also the author of a couple of books, including Good Manners for Nice People (Who Sometimes Say F*ck)

Wikimedia Commons

Where once methamphetamine labs concerned police, now it's BHO operations: butane honey oil labs. 

Pretty name, but volatile process; it extracts the main "high" chemical from marijuana through the use of butane or propane.  You could flunk chemistry and know those substances are prone to explosion. 

Josephine County's sheriff and other police agencies report 10 lab seizures and two explosions this year.  The seizures are tops in Oregon, and a cause for concern for both police and fire agencies like Illinois Valley Fire District

Underground History: Yreka's Old Chinatown

Nov 29, 2017
Southern Oregon University

There's a good chance that if you set a shovel to the ground in a place where people have lived for a long time, you'll find SOME kind of artifact.  This is what keeps archaeologists busy and provides content for our monthly Underground History segment. 

This month: the excavation of Yreka's old Chinatown, dug up when Interstate Five was built.  There's a good collection of artifacts, but the documentation and interpretation were never completed. 

Sarah Heffner is working to update the information about the collection. 

She is our guest, along with regulars Chelsea Rose and Mark Tveskov of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

We wonder sometimes when Robert Arellano sleeps. 

He's got talents as an author, teacher, and musician (among other skills), and has just cranked out his sixth novel.  Havana Libre is the sequel to Havana Lunar, his critically acclaimed book from 2010. 

Bombs, terrorists, and spies populate the new book, which is set in the Cuba of 20 years ago.

Our monthly hit of contemporary music, Rogue Sounds, steps up a notch for December (yes, we're a day early). 

Because Josh Gross of the Rogue Messenger, our music curator, is also the organizer of a CD of local bands and a party to release it, coming up next week. 

So Josh will treat us to a souped-up collection of songs, just in time for the holidays. 

Wikipedia Commons

The State of Oregon recently reported on the numbers of homeless students in the state. 

And the figures were not encouraging: of the five districts with the highest rates of student homelessness, four are in our listening area.  Butte Falls tops the list. 

The Maslow Project works to assist homeless students in both Jackson and Josephine Counties, and seldom has to look far to find people to serve. 

BLM/Public Domain

It's called the "prairie chicken," but nobody really intends to eat a sage grouse. 

The bird is a focus of controversy in Oregon's high desert, with conservation groups seeking greater protection for it and resource-use groups trying to reduce regulations. 

The latter category includes the Oregon Farm Bureau.  Mary Ann Cooper from the Bureau visits.

Tom Sharp is a rancher and the chair of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association's Endangered Species Committee. 

They join us with the farmer/rancher perspective on the sage grouse, prior to a federal deadline for comment on December 1.

Army/Public Domain

Jere Van Dyk knows Afghanistan well from decades of covering the news there.  But his vast knowledge did not protect him from kidnapping; he was taken in 2008. 

45 days later, he was free... and not sure why.  He decided to investigate the odd circumstances of his release, a story he tells in The Trade: My Journey into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping

The title is not applied casually... kidnapping is indeed a business in Afghanistan.

It turns out small birds can lead to large and heated debates.  Think spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and sage grouse. 

The grouse, the so-called "prairie chicken," is a candidate for federal protection, but the feds declined to put it on the Endangered Species list. 

And now the Trump administration wants to make sure grouse protection does not get in the way of economic activity in the West.  A deadline for comment on federal plans comes on December 1. 

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is making sure the Interior Department hears plenty of comment.  ONDA's conservation director, Dan Morse, visits. 

NOAA/Public Domain

Dungeness crab season is a big deal on the West Coast.  It's become a big deal for whales, too, but not in a good way. 

The numbers of whales and other marine mammals tangled in devices meant to catch crabs has been climbing to record levels in recent years. 

The Center for Biological Diversity already sued the federal Fish and Wildlife service over the entanglements earlier this fall; now CBD wants the feds to declare that crabbing is dangerous to whales. 

The Keenest Observers: POC In The RV

Nov 27, 2017
Sparrowhawk Media Arts

The Rogue Valley's Nisha Burton has many artistic interests and outlets. 

Her latest short film is part of a project called "The Separation Myth," and is an an exploration of what it is like to be non-white and live in the Rogue Valley. 

She is our guest in this month's installment of The Keenest Observers, hosted by Robert Goodwin.