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.


By now, somebody in Oregon Congressional District Four must be thinking "you again?"  And it could be one of the two major-party candidates. 

Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio is facing Republican challenger Art Robinson for the fourth straight election. 

It's hard to run against an incumbent for Congress; maybe harder in a district with Eugene and Corvallis on one end and Cave Junction and Brookings on the other. 


Building healthy communities is about more than people getting exercise.

It also involves mental health and economic health, just for starters.  These items and more are on the table for the "Next, Now" conference coming to Grants Pass next week (October 10-11). 

Community leaders in a number of fields will talk about building stronger, more resilient communities, by recognizing the prevalance of ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences. 

Southern Oregon Success is among the partners, and contributors include ACE Interface, which works at improving public health.

It's not Austin, but our region is home to a number of venues for hearing live music.

Josh Gross has visited many of them by now. 

Josh is the music editor for the Rogue Valley Messenger, so he pays great attention to the live music scene. 

Ken Piorkowski/Wikimedia,

California went down this road before, and turned back.  The last presidential election, in 2012, featured a vote to repeal the death penalty in the state. 

Proposition 34 went down to defeat, though narrowly.  Now another death penalty repeal appears on the ballot, as Proposition 62. 

Whatever its number, it will get no support from San Bernardino County D.A. Mike Ramos.  He advocates keeping capital punishment in place, and supports a different measure, Prop 66, which would keep the death penalty and tweak the law. 

Meanwhile the Yes on 62 campaign is working to get its measure across the finish line. 

Scott Shafer/KQED

VENTSday returns to the air this week, with an issue that always generates strong feelings: the death penalty. 

Capital punishment is still on the books in both states, though California's vote on Props 62 and 66 will determine if executions will continue there. 

What is appropriate, in your mind?  Should the state have the power to kill people, as punishment for murder?  Should crimes other than murder be eligible for death sentences? 

VENTSday seeks YOUR thoughts, through our survey (below); by phone at 800-838-3760 live (or 541-552-6331 in advance); by email at


It all started with a rugby shirt.  Yvon Chouinard ordered them from overseas, because he found a brand that would keep his rock-climbing equipment from cutting his neck. 

He soon began to make and sell his own under a new name: Patagonia.  Now it's about much more than shirts, and about much more than the gear itself. 

Patagonia works to deliver Earth-friendly and sustainable goods and donates a chunk of its income to environmental groups. 

A book Chouinard wrote for his employees, Let My People Go Surfing, has been re-released with new material. 


It sounds like a dream come true: a chance to preserve more than 350 acres of land along the Rogue River, in ways that will benefit people and other creatures. 

This dream does not come cheap... but it does come at a reduced price. 

The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is working to raise $3.5 Million by the end of the year to make the "Heart of the Rogue" project a reality. 

Wikipedia Commons

The concern over the quality of education in Oregon has been rising in recent years, especially with measurements like the state's low high school graduation rate. 

What will it take to make Oregon schools better? 

That's the general thrust of the questions asked of people in the Oregon Rising education project. 

More than ten-thousand people took part in the project, giving a clear picture of desires and expectations for Oregon schools.  COSA, the Confederation of School Administrators, took part in Oregon Rising.

All the experts on aging say we should be engaged in interesting activities when our working days are done, to help prolong life. 

Which sounds swell, unless income is an obstacle to getting into activities. 

The non-profit EngAGE, "The Art of Active Aging,"  offers activities to low- and moderate-income seniors in Southern California, and just recently in Portland. 


"Attica" is one of those names that seems familiar to many Americans, even people who know nothing of the story attached to the name. 

Heather Ann Thompson, a historian who researches mass incarceration, fills in the story of the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, in her book Blood in the Water

Prisoners took over Attica to protest the conditions, and prison bosses were negotiating with them.  But then the state mounted an assault on its prison, and 39 people died.  A major crackdown followed. 

Charles A. Hartman Fine Art

Imagine the honor of getting your picture on the wall of the governor's office. 

Daniel Paul Robinson has a story to tell there.  It's not a picture of HIM; Robinson is a painter, and several of his works grace the governor's office in Salem from now to the middle of November. 

The works are large oil paintings of Oregon landscapes, and the display is part of the Art in the Governor's Office program. 


The medical process of giving birth has really changed. 

Some people alive today were born in sterile (in every sense) hospital rooms while their mothers were asleep. 

The natural childbirth movement rejected that approach, and now even the hospitals provide the alternatives. 

Case in point: the midwifery services available through Asante Health System at Ashland Community Hospital. 

Kevin Steinberg, USN/Public Domain

For a country that's supposed to have separation of church and state, they sure get up in each other's business.

And that's not the only issue with religion in America.  Even different sects that pray to the same god can get into turf battles. 

Kenneth Woodward watched a lot of this happen in nearly 40 years as religion editor at Newsweek magazine.  He gives us an overview of the intermixture of religion, politics, and culture in that time and beyond, in his book Getting Religion.


Some of the best moments of our lives can happen over a beer.  Why NOT preserve some memories? 

Documenting the past of beer and brewing is the role of the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives, dedicated to preserving artifacts and stories from the history of making beer, cider, and mead in Oregon. 

Mugs, mats, and more are included in the growing collection, under the watchful eye of Director Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

Consortium of Asian American Theater & Artists

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival worked for years to promote diversity, on and off the stage. 

The efforts take another step with OSF's hosting of the National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival (ConFest), October 1-9. 

There's much to see and talk about, especially in a year with notably diverse works on stage from community theatre to Broadway. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR News

Most of us can't imagine what it would be like to be in a place where a mass shooting happens. 

We don't WANT to imagine the horror.  Students and staff at Umpqua Community College do not have that luxury; UCC was the scene of ten gun deaths almost exactly a year ago (October 1st). 

The Umpqua Story Project encourages people in Douglas County to share their memories of that day and its aftermath. 

Mark Yaconelli runs the Story Project; Susan Rochester is a professor of fine arts at UCC.  They join us to talk about the anniversary, the project, and the feature. 

Women's Foundation of Oregon

"All things being equal" may be a way to start a sentence, but it's usually not a reality in public policy. 

Decisions made by political leaders--who are mostly men--can have uneven effects on different segments of society, including on females. 

The "Count Her In" report by the Women's Foundation of Oregon claims to be the first comprehensive data collection on the status of women and girls in Oregon in 20 years. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

The driving of a final spike in Ashland in 1887 completed the railroad line running up the West Coast. 

But the project took a few shortcuts along the way, and the evidence of options not taken are still out there.  Like Buck Rock Tunnel near Ashland.  Crews drilled 300 feet into the rock and stopped, in favor of a different tunnel across the valley. 

Buck Rock is the focus of this month's Underground History segment with our resident archaeologists, Chelsea Rose and Mark Tveskov. 


Just in time for the heart of election season, A Field Guide to Lies

Daniel Levitin joined us less than a year ago to talk about his previous book, The Organized Mind.  He's back with advice on how to look at the way people use facts and figures, and pierce through the inconsistencies and outright untruths. 

Just think about it: the Internet gives us access to so much information... so much of it wrong. 


Congressional races in Oregon tend to yield similar results, year after year. 

Members of the house tend to get reelected, and Rep. Greg Walden wants another term in Oregon's 2nd district, representing vast portions of rural Oregon. 

But this election year is a bit unusual, to say the least.  We continue our election interviews with a focus on the race in CD #2.  Greg Walden gets the floor first, Democratic challenger Jim Crary follows him.