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.

Comment Deadline Looms On Jack-Ash Trail

Jan 26, 2015
BLM/Public Domain

Be careful if you say "Jack-Ash Trail" out loud… your words could be confused with something else. 

But at the moment, there's nothing quite like a trail that would allow hikers to walk the ridges between the Jackson County communities of Jacksonville and Ashland. 

Now you know where the name comes from. 

The Boy Who Flies, Chapter 2

Jan 26, 2015

Taking to the air can make you famous.  Especially if you do so without the benefit of an airplane. 

Godfrey Masauli is the first person to paraglide in the African country of Malawi. 

He has converted his success into motivational speeches, TED talks, and a film: "The Boy Who Flies." 

Second Time Around For Speaker Kotek

Jan 26, 2015
Oregon Health Authority

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek is the first speaker in ten years with experience. 

It's been that long since a House Speaker served back to back terms in that leadership position. 

Democratic victories in November put Kotek back in the Speaker's office, with a larger Democratic majority.

Sylph Maid Books

A lot has changed in Oregon's timber country in the last 20 years.  So it seems only fitting that a collection of stories and essays about timber country should be brought up to date. 

Robert Leo Heilman of Myrtle Creek first published Overstory: Zero in 1995. 

And as he puts it, there's been a lot of water down Myrtle Creek since then. 

So he revised and polished and cut and added to the collection for a 20th anniversary edition.

The snow-free January already closed the ski areas closest to the state line.  Now Mount Ashland operators have taken the extra step of laying off core staff.

The layoff, announced January 22nd, dates back to the previous Saturday.  Mount Ashland ski area opened for 13 days in December and January, after lack of snow kept it from opening at all the previous winter.

And like the previous winter, the snow just stopped around the first of the year.  Ski area operators last opened the slopes for business on January 5th.

Trails, Trees, and The Speaker: Jan 26-30 on JX

Jan 23, 2015

Hike all the way from Jacksonville to Ashland?  You can do it now, but it'll be easier if a major trail plan becomes reality. 

That's one of the topics we'll cover on this week's Jefferson Exchange.

We'll also talk about trees... standing and not... and visit with the Speaker of the House in Oregon.  Even JFK gets a session.

Here's our list, in development...

Oregon Jobs Bouncing Back

Jan 23, 2015
Public Domain

Two recent reports show a building strength in the Oregon economy. 

This week the Employment Department announced a dip in the unemployment rate to 6.7%, its lowest level in more than six years. 

Just before that report emerged, a job vacancy survey also showed growth. 

But there are some qualifiers to each. 

Speaking Out On The Gas Pipeline

Jan 23, 2015
Cascadia Wildlands

If all the approvals fall into place, the Coos Bay area will be home to the Jordan Cove terminal, a natural gas liquification plant that will load liquified natural gas (LNG) onto ships for export. 

The plant would require a long (200+ miles) pipeline to deliver the gas, and that's the rub for a lot of people.

They got their chance to speak out at a series of meetings hosted by the state Department of Environmental Quality. 

Best Performances In Economic Development

Jan 23, 2015
Deviant Art/Wikimedia

Look out, Sheboygan and Gainesville… Medford's on the move. 

The recent report on "Best Performing Cities 2014" showed the Medford area moving up among the ranks of small metropolitan areas in economic performance (#91, just behind the other two cities). 

Minoli Ratnatunga is one of the authors of the report, and she'll visit Medford next week as part of the Southern Oregon Business Conference. 

Okay, Tell Me: Paula Poundstone Visits

Jan 22, 2015

We're glad comedian Paula Poundstone likes public radio. 

She is a regular member of the panel on the popular quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me," and she consented to a second interview with The Exchange. 

We chat with Poundstone prior to a Medford appearance this weekend. 

Keeping Workplace HR Procedures Legal

Jan 22, 2015

Running a business is tricky enough, and the business process is subject to the legislative process. 

Meaning Congress and the state legislature can and do pass laws that change business procedures. 

That's why there are Small Business Development Centers, like the one at Rogue Community College

Helping Non-Muslims Understand Muhammad

Jan 22, 2015
White Cloud Press

Scholar Steven Scholl has co-written a book that appears at first glance like one of those pocket guides to a tourist destination. 

It IS a pocket guide, but to one of the key figures in history. 

Scholl studies and writes about Islam and comparative religions, and his slender book is Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam

The book features words and pictures about the founder of Islam and the places connected to his life. 

Healing The Hard(esty) Way

Jan 21, 2015
Bacho Press

Portland's Alice Hardesty is a strong believer in health and a healthy environment. 

So her world sustained a major shaking when her husband was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  Twice. 

Husband Jack and Alice then embarked on a quest for all the possible remedies the world has to offer. 

It's a story Alice tells in her book An Uncommon Cancer Journey

VENTSday: MLK Legacy + State Of The Union

Jan 21, 2015

Does Martin Luther King's mean much to most people, other than a day off?  That's one topic of this week's VENTSday. 

The other: let's hear your thoughts about the president's State of the Union address--or why you missed it.

Listeners are always welcome to phone or email The Exchange to join our discussions. 

But our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center.  We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics. 

Civil Rights NORTH Of The Mason-Dixon Line

Jan 21, 2015
Basic Books

Ask anybody to list some of the key locations of the struggle for civil rights in America, and they'll generally tick off a list of Southern cities: Birmingham, Selma, Little Rock. 

Federal action and legislation finally lifted the Jim Crow segregation laws in The South, but The North was no paradise for African-Americans. 

Bigotry and deep-seated racism are brought to light in historian Jason Sokol's book All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn

Clearcuts To Court In Lane County

Jan 20, 2015
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Members of Congress from Oregon continue their efforts to increase timber cutting on the BLM lands that share half of timber income with Western Oregon counties. 

But the prospect of returning to old logging methods leaves conservation groups cold. 

Witness the recent filing of a lawsuit against the "Second Show" timber sale proposed for BLM land in Lane County. 

Cascadia Wildlands opposes on the basis of clearcutting. 

Making A Case For More School Money In Oregon

Jan 20, 2015

Oregon's state government income is rising so fast, taxpayers might get refund checks under the state's "kicker" law this year. 

But education advocates want to see some of the increased revenue going to schools, to reduce class sizes and make other improvements. 

The Oregon School Boards Association--OSBA--demonstrates school successes with its "Promise of Oregon" campaign.

Restoring the Klamath River and the lands around it is far more than a conservation project; political decisions will have to be made to make it all  happen. 

Jason Atkinson was a politician himself, a longtime member of the Oregon legislature and a candidate for governor. 

His latest work steps outside the political system: a documentary film on efforts to restore the Klamath Basin. 

Eureka Goes Crab-Crazy

Jan 19, 2015
Jon Sullivan

As pretty as the lands by the Pacific can be, winter can be a miserable time to visit the coast. 

The worst storms of the year tend to come ashore during the winter, so it's not a great time for the tourist business. 

Which probably explains why coastal communities are rolling out mid-winter events, like the first-ever Eureka Crab Crawl Festival, set for February 6-7. 

Coquille Casino Plans Move Ahead

Jan 19, 2015
Coquille Tribe

Dueling billboards along Pacific Highway in South Medford give a clue to a battle shaping up. 

The Coquille Tribe wants to build a casino on the former site of Kim's Restaurant. 

That explains the Coquille billboard.  The other is rented by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians, which opposes the casino plan. 

Local and state officials have also spoken out against a Medford casino, but the Coquilles are moving ahead.  A public meeting is planned for February 3rd.