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.

We focus a great deal of attention in our veterans, in political campaigns like the one just ended, and in non-election years. 

But while service members are deployed, they've got people back home waiting and hoping for a safe return. 

Two military families are profiled in the documentary "While Time Stands Still," by filmmaker Elena Miliaresis. 

She and her film visit Southern Oregon for a few screenings, and a discussion show on Southern Oregon Public TV


Mountains and ocean; our region has so many great features.  Especially where those features meet. 

That's where you'll find Nick Neely, or at least his attention. 

He's written a number of essays about the Coast Range in California and Oregon, newly compiled in the book called--ahem--"Coast Range." 


We complain about the cramped seats on commercial planes, but at least we can get up and go to the bathroom. 

Not so in fighter jets like the ones Larry Wood flew in his career.  Wood was a fighter pilot for the Marine Corps in Vietnam, one of many duties in a long military career. 

He'll give us a glimpse into life in the cockpit when he visits the Exchange.

The college football team from Oregon went to the National Championship game, and lost. 

But this is about that OTHER game, and that other team. 

In 2014, both the University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University played for the top prize in college football.  In very different divisions, but a championship is a championship. 

SOU won, and yet the Ducks' efforts--albeit on a much larger stage--overshadowed the Red Raiders' victory. 

That team is the focus of a documentary already produced called "Becoming."  Former SOU player Michael Bryant had a hand in that, and is now working on a profile of a successful small-college team, in the film "MOmentum."

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Art is not just for artists, and it has other uses besides hanging on walls. 

These are some of the thoughts behind this weekend's Art Inspires Ashland (November 11-13).  As the name implies, the idea is to use art as a catalyst in community building. 

This is work Milenko Matanovic does all the time, merging art, collaboration, and community building.

The world gasped at the picture of the Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, covered in dirt and blood after his home was bombed in Aleppo.  It's clear why people want to leave Syria. 

But it's harder to make the world understand, and harder still to get countries to welcome the refugees. 

Taylor Olson-Hill worked in a refugee camp in Greece; she tells about her work in a talk today (November 10) at Southern Oregon University. 

The answer to the question "where did that come from?" is easy for some situations.

It's infinitely harder to answer when it is directed to the universe.  The WHOLE universe. 

Lawrence Krauss does not shrink from the task.  He is a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, pondering the major questions of our existence.  But he also compares real-universe physics with the kind we see in Star Trek movies. 

And he is a visitor to Southern Oregon University, part of the campus theme of "Shapes of Curiosity."

Hula, the Hawaiian dance form, is an ancient art. 

But Patrick Makuakāne and his San Francisco company, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, fuse the ancient with the modern in their performances. 

And the story of the company and the art is told in the book The Natives Are Restless by Constance Hale. 


Republican Bob Strosser has claimed a seat on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. 

The former Medford city council member held a large lead in early vote totals, 57 percent to 41 percent.  Democrat Jeff Thomas, a Medford school board member, trailed. Those numbers basically held through Wednesday morning, giving Strosser his win.

Strosser will replace Doug Breidenthal on the board in January.  Strosser defeated Breidenthal in the Republican primary in May.

Elsewhere on the Jackson County ballot:

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

Josephine County's longstanding issues with public safety funding emerge unchanged from yet another election cycle. 

County voters rejected the latest version of a property tax levy that would have provided funding for sheriff's deputies, jail beds, and prosecutors.  Measure 17-74, like every public safety levy before it, went down to defeat.  In the first rounds of returns, the No votes led the Yes votes, 61 to 39 percent.

Josephine County is one of many Western Oregon counties that depended heavily on timber receipts from federal land to fill its general fund.  With little logging, the revenues crashed, and the county's property tax rate is too low to make up the difference.  Sheriff's patrols have been reduced to a few hours a day, with Oregon State Police picking up some of the criminal justice slack.  The levy loss ensures a continuation of that arrangement.

Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia

At last, we have numbers.  Or will, by the time VENTSday begins on the morning AFTER the election. 

So you can guess what we'll be talking about.  From president to town council, from death penalty to mosquito tax, all election results are fair game on the super-sized edition of VENTSday. 

Grab a phone or email device while we dive into the pile of results--800-838-3760 or

Overjoyed?  Underwhelmed?  A little of each?  This is our chance to get a big community discussion going on the election results.

We know more about the brain than ever before, and we are more aware than ever before about what happens to many people with mental illness in our society. 

But can the knowledge help us treat people, reduce jail populations, and get some homeless people off the streets? 

Residents of Compass House in Medford share their stories of living with mental illness, while the facility's staff joins us in the studio to talk about their mission. 

From "Ratf**ked"/W.W. Norton

It can be mighty hard to remember that there is more on the ballot than the race for president, MUCH more.  And what happens at the top of the ticket can have a profound effect on races down the ballot, like races for Congressional seats. 

Even so, do not expect the Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives.  The districts are drawn to accentuate Republican power in many states, as David Daley told us months ago in his book Ratf**ked

He adds an addendum to the book with a recent article at Salon

Southern Oregon University

Bertold Brecht left Germany shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933. 

But Brecht's dislike of Hitler waned little in self-exile, resulting in the play "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui."  Audiences recognize a Hitler-like figure in Arturo Ui, a Chicago mobster trying to monopolize the cauliflower market.  Yes, cauliflower. 

Southern Oregon University's Department of Performing Arts brings Brecht's work to the stage in Ashland starting this week (November 10). 

Up & Down Ashland

There's some disagreement about the actual numbers, but the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is up for expansion. 

By some counts, it would double in size if President Obama approves the expansion.  But there will be more discussion, and not a little vocal opposition, before the decision. 

Commissioners in both Jackson and Klamath Counties are on record opposing the expansion; cattle grazing groups oppose as well. 

Groups in favor are thrilled by the prospect of a bigger monument.

Bad feelings about the U.S. Army's "School of the Americas" die hard. 

The training center at Fort Benning in Georgia trained some of the worst Latin American dictators and their operatives after its creation in the 1960s. 

School of the Americas Watch has campaigned for its closing for years. 

The army officially changed the name 15 years ago, but the function remains.  As does the protest. 

Adrián Cerón/Wikimedia

Law enforcement is greatly aided by sharing information: about suspects, about cases, about places. 

Three decades ago, there was no central database to keep track of missing children.  That changed, partly due to the efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

NCMEC works to end sexting, sextortion, and child abduction and exploitation.   A NCMEC rep visits the Rogue Valley for a session at the Medford Library today (November 7), at the invitation of the Children's Advocacy Center. 


Shaun Usher has built a fascinating career reading other peoples' mail. 

Best of all, he's not about to be arrested for it, since he compiles letters from people no longer alive. 

Usher visited a couple of years ago with the first Letters of Note; he's back with a second volume. 

Highlights include letters written by J.K. Rowling, Che Guevara, and Marge Simpson.  Marge Simpson? 

Camelot Theatre

First Friday is a big deal in our region. 

Several cities celebrate the occasion with First Friday art walks; we mark the day with the return of our First Friday Arts segment. 

It's a virtual party, with arts groups and performers from around the region calling in with news of their arts events, ranging from wall art to modern dance and beyond. 

The advertisements for beer tend to be a bit on the macho side. 

Which is not surprising, given that more men than women enjoy beer. 

But stand aside, guys, here comes Ginger Johnson, the creator of Women Enjoying Beer. 

Her beer/women outreach includes a new book, How to Market Beer to Women.  It carries the lovely subtitle of "Don't Sell Me a Pink Hammer."