Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than 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.

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Seasons may change, but the music never stops. 

Certainly not for Josh Gross, the music editor at the Rogue Valley Messenger

Once a month, the day BEFORE First Friday, Josh visits with news of bands coming to play at venues in the region, with a particular emphasis on the Rogue Valley.  We call it "Rogue Sounds."


Cap and trade.  Simple phrase, but a loaded one in political circles. 

The idea is a cap on carbon emissions, payments by emitters going above a certain amount, and a market to trade the permits. 

California already has a cap and trade law; the Oregon Legislature will take up a similar concept in the legislative session starting next week, over the objections of several legislators. 

State Senator Michael Dembrow is one of the cap-and-trade sponsors, and he chairs a committee that will consider the bill. 


Baby boomers can well remember learning how to sew in home economics classes in high school. 

As society and education changed, skills like sewing got less emphasis and attention.  But sewing know-how is still in demand, as we learn from the co-directors of the Redding Fashion Alliance

Jan Kearns and Robin Fator are looking for some people who know how to sew, and interested in getting those skills taught again. 

Lindsey G, CC BY 2.0,

Fracking for oil and gas in the United States has proven highly profitable and productive.  But it's not like everyone involved is getting rich and happy. 

Witness the epicenter of the oil boom in the Dakotas: Williston, North Dakota.  Its population exploded with oil workers, stressing the housing market and schools and many more community elements. 

This is the story Blaire Briody tells in The New Wild West: Black Gold, Fracking, and Life in a North Dakota Boomtown.  The book tracks the people who lived in the area before the boom, and the people who came to make the boom. 


High school graduation rates are discouraging in Oregon.  Roughly one out of every four students will not get out of high school in four years with diploma in hand. 

The numbers show slight improvement from year to year (77% in numbers out last week), but not enough to get the state out of the bottom five. 

The legislature will likely discuss programs to improve the graduation rate in its upcoming session. 

The issue is very much on the radar of Colt Gill, newly named as the permanent Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

Families with children and little money for housing can end up sleeping at the homes of friends and relatives, or in their cars, or outdoors. 

Douglas County has an answer for homeless young people, with and without parents: Casa de Belen.  It provides transitional housing for homeless young people and their families to get back on their feet. 

We learn more about it as our series Out in the Cold focuses on Douglas County. 

Santa Rosa Junior College

The debate over immigration, legal and not, is of great interest to the artist Maria De Los Angeles.  There was nothing legal about her arrival in California from Mexico at age 11. 

She worked hard, was the first person in her family to graduate from high school, and worked even harder to get to and through college, finishing up at Yale. 

Her art tells her story, including the installation of "Transcending Myths" at the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University (through March 17). 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/public domain

Land, not water, is the focus of a Rogue River Regional Master Plan now in the works at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The corps' Rogue River Project is primarily about dams: Lost Creek, Applegate, and the now-notched Elk Creek Dam.  And the corps owns large chunks of land around each site, land suitable for recreation and other uses. 

The corps is taking public comments until February 2nd on how people would like to see the land used... or not used, as the case may be. 

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It was back in May of last year that Josephine County voters said yes, re-open the long-closed juvenile shelter. 

And it took until this month to get there. 

The shelter opened again recently, one sign of services expanded by the property tax levy passed in May. 

Joi Riley/JPR News

The sign can freeze the heart: "Chains Required." 

But it is a fact of life in winter that mountain passes will occasionally get enough snow to make the roads slippery, requiring a little more than the usual tires to get through. 

The transportation departments in both Oregon and California work hard to keep the mountain passes open, but they present challenges. 

Gary Leaming from ODOT explains how the two states coordinate efforts, and how they deploy crews and equipment in winter storms. 

Public Domain

Not all the people we choose to join in relationships are good at it.  Being in relationships, that is. 

Ashland author Sierra Faith notices in particular that narcissists make poor relationship partners. 

She writes of the initial attraction and the predictable problems in Absolutely Adored: Stop Choosing Narcissistic Men and Finally Be a Well-Loved Woman

It contains plenty of advice for recognizing risky relationship partners, and steering clear. 


Can we talk about poop for a moment?  Specifically, raccoon poop in the wild. 

It can provide... well, nutrition for other animals.  But it can also provide parasites. 

So some scientists set out to find out if animals would avoid raccoon bathrooms the way they avoid places where their predators hang out.  An "ecology of fear" is the theory.

Oregon legislators caught a break this week with the passage of Measure 101 (January 23). 

It ratified an earlier legislative decision on new taxes to fund the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon's form of Medicaid for people living on lower incomes.

If the vote had been No, legislators would have had to come up with roughly $300 Million in funding, or accept program cuts somewhere. 


The birth of a boy is celebrated in Afghanistan.  The birth of a girl produces very different reactions, almost mourning. 

Through their lives, males and females are treated very differently. 

Even so, it surprised journalist Jenny Nordberg to find girls living disguised as boys in Afghanistan, a situation she covered in the book The Underground Girls of Kabul

Jenny Nordberg spoke to us about the book in October 2014. 

If there was any doubt, our series of interviews "Out in the Cold" has confirmed that every part of our region includes homeless people among its inhabitants. 

We turn our attention to Klamath County, taking in issues for homeless people both young and old. 

Older people face challenges with age-related health issues, in fact sometimes end up homeless because of those issues. 

Meanwhile, families with children struggle to keep up with school when permanent shelter is an issue.  Klamath and Lake Community Action Services, KLCAS, works to address the issues. 

Underground History: The Modoc War In Photos

Jan 24, 2018
Eadward Muybridge/California Historical Society

The Modoc War of the 1870s gets lots of attention from historians, archaeologists, and just folks.  It was a major episode in the defeat of Native Americans at the hands of the federal government, resulting in their movement to reservations. 

And it is the focus of this month's edition of Underground History, our regular visit with Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA)

Chelsea Rose and Mark Tveskov bring in Eric Gleason, who's been doing research on the Modoc War. 

Anastasiaka, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Even people who would describe themselves as consistently happy can run into issues with a marriage partner. 

We are different people, and some friction and disagreements are inevitable between people who spent a lot of years together. 

It may be even truer now that we're living longer, and many of us are determined not to add to the divorce statistics compiled by our parents' generation. 

Psychologist Daphne de Marneffe used the obvious phrase for her book title: The Rough Patch.  The author tracks the stages of most marriages, and the challenges each presents. 

Introvert, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Maybe you're the kind of person who appreciates winter weather far from the beaten path.  If so, would you mind measuring some snow while you're out there? 

No joke here; Community Snow Observations is a citizen science project enlisting the help of backcountry skiers, snowshoers, and other winter recreationists to measure snowpack. 

Scientists and telemetry sites can't cover all the places where snow fall, so this is where the amateurs come in. 

Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

Bit by bit, emergency service providers and families in the region prepare for what could be a very big earthquake: a movement along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. 

Other parts of the country do not have the localized risk we face.  But they do have something we don't: a major increase in seismic activity in recent years. 

The more frequent quakes appear to be "induced" quakes, caused by human activities like wastewater injection at petroleum sites.  U.S. Geological Survey spends money and staff time investigating the increase. 

Mstyslav Chernov,, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Put the United States 2016 election aside for a moment and consider the rest of the world. 

Countries that we once thought of as reliable democracies are taking turns for the autocratic and nationalistic.  Even Germany has far-right groups in parliament for the first time since the demise of the Nazis. 

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt track the longstanding erosion of political norms in their book How Democracies Die