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.

MLK And The Voting Rights Act Remembered

Jan 8, 2015
Ashland MLK organizers

Expect this year's observance of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday to provoke a lively discussion of race and equality in America. 

The months since the last celebration featured police killings of unarmed black men, protest marches in the streets, and more. 

The celebration of MLK day in Ashland (January 19) will include a commemoration of the passage of the Voting Rights Act 50 years ago. 

Egan Warming Centers

Many communities with significant homeless populations also lack significant shelters to house them. 

But the situation changes when the temperature drops. 

Eugene is home to the Egan Warming Centers, named for a homeless man who froze to death several years ago. 

Medical Tourism And "Patients With Passports"

Jan 8, 2015
Oxford University Press

If your doctor won't recommend a medical procedure you want, you can go to another doctor. 

But would you travel to another country for the procedure? 

And how about if your insurance required you to travel abroad for medical work? 

It happens in today's world, a trend called "medical tourism." 

And as you'd expect, it opens several cans of worms, examined in the book Patients With Passports.

SOREDI on Boosting Business

Jan 7, 2015
Deviant Art/Wikimedia

In or out of recession, there's a constant discussion of helping  businesses to start and grow.  But just what does that entail? 

The people at Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc.--SOREDI--can tell us, and will. 

SOREDI plans a business conference later this month.

Does the idea of a "driverless car" freak you out, or sound like a luxury, like having a chaffeur?  Tell us what you think on this week's VENTSday. 

OR take up the issue of campaign spending limits, just raised again by Congress. 

VENTSday is our weekly "opinion swarm"… we throw a pair of topics on the table, and let listeners vent--politely--on those topics. 

They can range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome. 

Texting For Fictional Characters

Jan 7, 2015
MacMillan Publishing

Modern technology has profoundly changed our lives. 

Voice conversation is practically passe' now, replaced by the text message. 

Now imagine if texting had arrived a century or more ago.  Mallory Ortberg does just that on the web, at  

She imagines F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald trading message, as well as fictional characters.  

Expanding E-Cycling In Oregon

Jan 6, 2015

We don't seem to feel the same sense of loss parting with old computers that we do when parting with old cars. 

Maybe that's due in part to the fact that we're often stuck with spare parts when the computers give out. 

And that leads to some decisions about what to do with those. 

Oregon's e-cycle program for recycling electronics expanded at the start of the year. 

Economy Stuck In Rural Oregon

Jan 6, 2015
Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

Oregon's economy took a long time to recover from recession, but total employment numbers are now roughly back to where they were pre-recession. 

But not everywhere. 

Rural Oregon, often timber-and-resource dependent, is still stuck in a number of ways. 

"A Family Sketch" From Mark Twain

Jan 6, 2015
University of California Press

You've probably read at least a little Mark Twain. 

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were required reading for decades of American students. 

But Twain's work was not focused solely on fictional characters. 

He turned his attention to the people around him for "A Family Sketch," just one of the components of A Family Sketch and Other Private Writings, now in print. 

Minimum Wage and Health Insurance

Jan 5, 2015

Hurray for a raise. 

Oregon's minimum wage, tied to inflation, hit $9.25 an hour with the new year, putting it a full two dollars above the federal minimum. 

The change affects workers, but also affects employers and the benefits they offer, including health insurance.

Working For Paid Sick Time

Jan 5, 2015
Public Domain

It's a matter of fact for many full-time workers: feel sick, stay home… and still get paid. 

But paid sick leave is not a given for all workers. 

And that's something the Oregon Legislature will be asked to change in its upcoming session.

Sharon Draper is a teacher and a writer, with several awards for her work in both fields. 

She adds to the pile of books she's written for young readers with Stella By Starlight.

It is set in the depression in the segregated South, and deals with young people coming face-to-face with the Ku Klux Klan and prejudice. 

Wages and benefits change in many parts of the region with the New Year.  A pair of Monday segments will focus on those.

Later in the week, we'll talk about the preparations for marijuana going legal in Oregon.

And we'll get to imagine literary figures in the smartphone age with the author of "Texting Jane Eyre."

It's the first full week of a new year on the Jefferson Exchange, and here's our list:

Whitewater and "Wild"

Dec 31, 2014

Happy New Year from The Exchange!

New Year's Day is a day off for the JX staff.  But we trolled the archives for a couple of memorable shows from the past.  

At 8: river guide Jo Deurbrouck wrote about a daring/reckless attempt to set a whitewater speed record, in her book Anything Worth Doing

Peacemakers And Drinkers

Dec 31, 2014

The holiday weekend continues with another off-day for the JX staff.  So we reach again into the archives for significant interviews from the past.  

At 8: she never liked either bullies or violence, and stood in their way from an early age. 

Her convictions led Jody Williams to a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Her book is My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Singing In A New Year

Dec 31, 2014
Jefferson State Choral Coalition/Facebook

Darn, with Christmas over, there are no more seasonal concerts.  Or are there? 

The Jefferson State Choral Coalition held back while a myriad of other groups held holiday concerts. 

JSCC's big bash is January 3rd; twice, in fact. 

The choir--or is it a chorus?--features American popular music in a variety of styles.

New Year's Even marks the VENTSday to end all VENTSdays... or at least to end the year. 

These topics are easy:

1) what's the biggest news story of the year?

2) What's your New Year resolution, either for yourself or somebody else--even the whole world? 

VENTSday is our weekly "opinion swarm"… we throw a pair of topics on the table, and let listeners vent--politely--on those topics. 

We bring the topics, you bring the opinions. 

The Story of David, THE David

Dec 31, 2014
Yale University Press

"For unto you is born in the city of David…" 

We hear that line every Christmas season (thank you, Linus). 

Which David?  The one who slew Goliath, or the one who ruled as a king, or the poet with the sensitive heart? 

Same guy. 

Whooping Cough And Chicken Pox Flare Up

Dec 30, 2014

California is seeing more cases of whooping cough (pertussis) than at any time in the last 70 years. 

And Jackson County on the Oregon side is seeing more cases as well. 

Pertussis and chicken pox are both up in number, causing concerns for county health officials. 

Sharing The Dental Wealth (and Health)

Dec 30, 2014

There's nothing quite like the pain of a toothache. 

It's remarkable how a problem with one little tooth can affect so much more. 

Actually, it's not remarkable to medical people, who know the many ripple effects of poor dental care. 

Providence Medford Medical Center partners with La Clinica and St. Vincent de Paul to provide dental services to people who can't otherwise afford them.