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.

What The Dying Teach About Living

Dec 3, 2014
Open Waters Publishing

Did you ever ride in a car with a person who held his or her breath when passing a cemetery?  That's just one manifestation of the American difficulty in thinking or talking about death. 

Fred Grewe was afraid of death himself, but he wanted to get over it. 

So he became a hospice chaplain, and helped more than a thousand people come to terms with their deaths. 

Grewe tells stories of several of his clients in his book What the Dying Have Taught Me About Living.

Commenting On Transportation Safety

Dec 2, 2014
Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Next time you drive through a construction zone, think about how long it takes to move a project from conception to completion. 

And while you're at it, think about the safety considerations that go into the mix. 

ODOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation, has a safety action plan to complement its overall transportation plan. 

And ODOT is taking input on the safety plan at a series of meetings around the state. 

Pollinator Recommendations Deliver A Sting

Dec 2, 2014

The thousands of bees that died in Oregon a couple of summers ago did not die in vain. 

The die-off, a result of pesticide use, increased awareness of both the value of bees (and other pollinators) and the perils of ignorance in chemical use. 

The Xerces Society and other groups that want more protections for pollinators hailed the formation of a task force to make recommendations to the legislature. 

The task force recently presented its work, and Xerces is less than pleased. 

Digging Up The Timber Industry's Past

Dec 2, 2014
Fremont-Winema National Forest

The region is still home to a busy timber industry. 

Today's industry owes much to the loggers and millworkers of the past, and that's a rich history.  A history that even includes archaeological digs. 

Like the one in Lake County, at the site of the long-defunct Crooked Creek mill camp. 

The U.S. Forest Service's "Passport in Time" project brings professional and amateur archaeologists together for research, and the process took place at the Crooked Creek site. 

On our weekly Wednesday VENTSday segment, I make a point of telling Jefferson Exchange listeners that they are welcome to call and weigh in on the topics of the day, but to vent “politely.” Once in a while, somebody misses that modifier and lets loose with some cutting remarks, occasionally directed at the opinions or tone expressed by another caller. I’m happy to say that’s a rarity.

Jacksonville's Victorian Christmas

Dec 1, 2014
Jacksonville Chamber

Celebrating Christmas often involves traveling. 

For one Southern Oregon city, it's travel back in time. 

Jacksonville observes a Victorian Christmas Celebration this and every December. 

Spreading Local Food Around

Dec 1, 2014

The idea of eating food grown nearby certainly caught fire in recent years. 

But there are some continued issues with getting people who live here--wherever "here" is--to buy food grown here. 

One of the issues is where to buy the food. 

It often takes a special trip to a farmer's market or similar store to obtain locally-grown food. 

Getting the food into "regular" grocery and even convenience stores could make a big difference. 

Taking Down The Berlin Wall

Dec 1, 2014
Basic Books

"…and the walls came tumbling down."  The song could easily have been written about the Berlin Wall. 

The wall's demise in 1989 marked the end of the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. 

But the end of the wall was not an orderly process; more like a series of decisions and non-decisions made with incomplete information. 

Efforts to get people to buy their food from local sources continue; that'll be just one of many topics in a full week of Jefferson Exchange items. 

We'll also talk about getting used to death with a hospice chaplain.

And "The Daily Show's" Aasif Mandvi checks in to talk about his memoir.  Here below... the full list so far:

Holiday Special: "Five Farms"

Nov 26, 2014
Five Farms/Wesley Horner Productions

We wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Jefferson Exchange and JPR. 

We are especially thankful for a couple of days off, and we'll replace the Exchange for Thursday and Friday with holiday specials. 

The public radio documentary "Five Farms: Stories From American Farm Families" will take our place, both daytime and evening. 

Oregon Employment Takes Off

Nov 26, 2014
Public Domain

The last time Oregon's employment shot up this high, Bill Clinton was president, and "Waterworld" was in movie theatres. 

Figures from the state Employment Department show October of this year adding nearly 10,000 to Oregon payrolls. 

Several sectors of the economy performed better than economists expected.

It's time we had a chat about the NEXT police shooting, and how to prevent it from happening.  That's one of this week's VENTSday topics. 

For the other, break out the list of things you're thankful for. 

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.  We bring the topics, you bring the opinions. 

Extreme Novel-Writing Explained

Nov 26, 2014
Chronicle Books

You can apply the term "extreme" to just about anything. 

Witness "extreme sports" and "extreme couponing." 

But "extreme noveling?"  Yep. 

Chris Baty invented the practice, known through National Novel Writing Month. 

His tips on the practice are contained in his own non-fiction book, No Plot? No Problem! Revised: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. 

Why So Many Homeless Students

Nov 25, 2014

The most recent numbers show more Oregon students are homeless than a year earlier. 

737 more students, to be exact… more than the populations of most elementary schools. 

Medford's Maslow Project is an organization dedicated to fulfilling at least some of the needs of homeless young people. 

Taking People To Court Over Lynxes

Nov 25, 2014
Michael Zahra/Wikimedia

Somebody must keep a running total of court cases against federal agencies. 

We'd guess the Fish & Wildlife service is certainly up there with the most-sued agencies. 

Witness the recent filing of a suit by the Western Environmental Law Center over the Canada Lynx. 

The groups suing want Fish & Wildlife to expand the amount of critical habitat for the big cat.

End Of Life Care: "Bringing Bubbe Home"

Nov 25, 2014
White Cloud Press

When we allow ourselves to think about death, we often choose to think about relatively happy circumstances: dying at a ripe old age, at home, in bed, surrounded by family. 

In real life, it's seldom that way.  80 percent of Americans die in hospitals or nursing homes. 

Debra Zaslow did not want that fate for her grandmother, her bubbe. 

So she brought the 103-year-old woman home, to live out her final days there.  The poignant story is told in Zaslow's book Bringing Bubbe Home. 


There are ways in which you do NOT want your state to be on the bottom of the list nationally. 

But Oregon is last in one category, and state health officials are quite proud of it. 

The rate of unnecessary antibiotic use in Oregon is the lowest in the country. 

The state's Public Health Division keeps track of the numbers and encourages doctors to keep them low.

I Hear That Train A-coming...

Nov 24, 2014
Drew Jacksich/Wikimedia

There's an old connection between trains and the holidays. 

Think of all the pictures you've seen of model trains running around Christmas trees. 

In the Rogue Valley, Thanksgiving is the holiday associated with trains. 

Because Thanksgiving weekend is the time the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club and other train groups present the Rogue Valley Railroad Show at the Medford Armory. 

Bread As Currency

Nov 24, 2014
Chronicle Books

Remember when people called money "bread"? 

Author/baker Malin Elmlid might singlehandedly revive the use of the term. 

Because she's been trading her loaves of homemade bread--actual baked bread--for goods, and services, and even stories. 

She tells about the process in her book The Bread Exchange.

Sing Out With The Rogue Valley Chorale

Nov 21, 2014
Rogue Valley Chorale

It's beginning to look a lot like… and you can finish the phrase. 

You probably heard the tune in your head as you read it. 

Music and Christmas go together like Santa and sleighs, and many musical groups will sing in the season.

Count the Rogue Valley Chorale among them.