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.

WiLPrZ, CC BY-SA 2.0,

"Adopt" and "adapt" are such similar words, when you think about it. 

Susanne Antonetta certainly had to, when she and her husband adopted a baby son from Korea. 

The parents adopted and the baby adapted, and the situation gave the new parents some insight into their own raising. 

The story is told in Make Me a Mother, Susanne Antonetta's memoir. 

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Pertussis, or whooping cough, was almost unknown in America 40 years ago. 

Cases in 1976 numbered barely over a thousand.  But in the years since vaccine resistance grew, so did cases of pertussis, up to nearly 50,000 just five years ago. 

A new study of outbreaks and vaccine resistance show them in close proximity physically. 

From a postcard, 1909

Just as social media and texting tie people together today, letters were critical in helping people communicate in the early days of our country. 

And pretty much the only way to get a letter to a faraway place was to send it through the mail. 

So the post office was like the Internet of its time, a point Winifred Gallagher brings home in her book How the Post Office Created America.  Created?  It's not too strong a case, she says. 

Joseph A. Horne/Library of Congress

Pete Seeger did not just sing about causes, he plunged into them with heart and soul. 

But he did sing about them, too.  Seeger was one of the country's most beloved folksingers, revered by generations of Americans. 

Tim Holt, who lives in our region and learned some of his musical techniques from watching Pete Seeger, plays Seeger's songs in an upcoming show at the Ashland Library

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles.  Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger. 

And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 


Ask anybody from the OTHER end of the country about Oregon, and they'll probably tell you about misty mountains and rainy evergreen forests. 

True, that's where most of the people live in Oregon, but the largest landform in the state is high desert; pretty much everything east of the Cascades. 

The Oregon Natural Desert Association works to preserve the high, dry spaces.  And ONDA celebrates its 30th birthday this year.

Will they or won't they?  Oregon legislators have had their faces in the legislative process for five months now, and the end approaches. 

They did recently pass a budget for schools, which is most of the state general fund.  But high hopes for new revenue streams and a plan to spruce up Oregon's transportation system faded as the end of the session approached. 

We've invited legislators and/or reporters to join us with word of the final days. 

Ferencz Thuroczy, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Discussions of higher education tend to focus on one VERY big issue: the high cost of tuition, and how much it puts students deep into debt. 

There's another angle Jacques Berlinerblau wants people to consider: who's actually doing the teaching.  At many schools, the day-to-day classroom duties are handled by underpaid and overworked "adjunct" faculty. 

In his book Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents, and Students, Berlinerblau lays out some details of the arrangement, and how all involved can make the best of it. 

Evgeniy Isaev, CC BY 2.0,

What books have you chosen to read this summer? 

Philosophy?  Classics of fiction?  Comic Books? 

The long, warm days lend themselves to reading, and we'll spend the summer getting advice on WHAT to read from some of our local bookstores. 

Bloomsbury Books in Ashland is up first as "Summer Reads" debuts. 


Oddly enough, this day on which we celebrate the birth of the American state led us to church, in a sense. 

The top of the pile of candidates for a re-airing deal with beliefs and people that defy easy explanation. 

At 8: John Geiger writes about people in tough situations who report feeling the presence of someone or something else.  He sums up many stories and possible explanations in his book The Angel Effect

At 9: It takes a rabbi to know a rabbi.  Or at least it does for this book.  David Zaslow, longtime Ashland rabbi, tells the story of a famous predecessor in the book Jesus: First Century Rabbi.  Zaslow and Joseph Lieberman (not the former senator) co-wrote the book. 

Benjamin Esham/Wikimedia

Independence Day flings open the studio doors and lets the Exchange staff out into the sunshine.  For two days, it turns out. 

We fill this ID4 "eve" with these gems from the past... at 8: Thomas Goetz retraces the steps of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who solved a sort of mystery himself over a possible cure for tuberculosis.  It was NOT a cure, a story Goetz tells in The Remedy

At 9: Lois Maharg figured as long as she was spending many sleepless nights, she'd work to understand insomnia better.  Her blog led to a book, The Savvy Insomniac

Carioca, CC BY-SA 3.0,

You know how people say to go to the edges of the grocery store, because that's where the fresh, whole foods are? 

That was Megan Kimble's domain for an entire year. 

She avoided the middle aisles of the store by skipping processed food almost completely, a story she tells in her book Unprocessed.


"Fat shaming" might not even have been a term yet when we talked to Dr. Robert Lustig early last year. 

But he's well aware of obesity, especially in kids, in his job as a pediatric endocrinologist. 

Lustig does not hold the kids responsible, but he has choice words for the food industry in his book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

Jorge Díaz, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Parents always hope at least ONE little piece of wisdom they share with their children will stick. 

But they always share more than one piece.  Becky Blades wrote a whole bunch of things to her daughter as she departed for college, and that turned into a book: Do Your Laundry Or You'll Die Alone

Way to play the lonely card, mom.  Book and pictures provide laughs and even a few tears. 

Don Hankins, CC BY 2.0,

Break out the tie-dye, the Country Fair is back soon.  The R is not an accident. 

The Oregon Country Fair is different from a county fair: less livestock, more sustainability. 

What began as a renaissance fair decades ago stuck around, something of an outpost of 60s counter-culture in our time. 

Charlie Ruff is the boss of the OCF and our guest once again. 

University of Oregon

We have mixed feelings in our country about refugees who arrive on our shores seeking a safe place far from wars. 

But we forget that human beings in our own region felt the same impulse in the middle of the 19th century.  That's when the series of battles and skirmishes collectively known as the Rogue Indian War disrupted life in the region. 

One site of particular interest to archaeologists is the Harris Cabin, near Merlin in Josephine County.  The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology has studied the site for years now. 

It is the focus of this month's edition of "Underground History." 

Wikimedia/Public Domain

While Congress is still debating the near future of the American health insurance system, how about a refresher course in the healthcare system itself? 

Sociologist Paul Starr won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1983 book The Social Transformation of American Medicine.  It tracks huge changes over the country's life... like the huge rise in money for practitioners, the rise in corporate control, and the constant blocking of a truly national health insurance. 

And it's newly updated, with a fresh preface and epilogue tracking changes since publication. 


Anybody who's ever flown has an airline or airport horror story.

But this much can be said: planes seldom collide in the skies. The federal air traffic control system is robust and effective.

President Trump wants to spin the operations off to a private entity, and there are questions from members of Congress and local airport managers.

The Rogue Valley International-Medford airport is the region's largest commercial airport (south of Eugene, that is).


When we have differing opinions and can't even agree upon the facts, is there any point in trying to have a conversation? 

Yes, say Marla Estes and Rob Schläpfer. 

They offer workshops on “How to Change Minds (Including Your Own)" to provide some guidance for people who really do think a little dialogue might go a long way to reducing the current polarized state of American discussion. 

A session by that title comes to the Medford library on Saturday, July 1, part of The Weekly Talk series.

Loving Wine, For Beginners

Jun 27, 2017

Marissa Ross is fond of wine, you might learn from the picture. 

There are several iterations of that pose, with different outfits and wines and backdrops.  One thing stays the same: Marissa writes about wine and has few qualifications to do so. 

Think of her as writing wine-for-dummies blogs and books.  One book, anyway, called Wine. All The Time: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking