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.

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

The two major political parties tend to hog the spotlight in political campaign season. 

And the contentious race for Oregon Governor has only further focused attention on Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Dennis Richardson.

But there are four minor-party candidates for governor as well, and they will get a chance to explain their policy positions in a debate on JPR on Friday, October 17th at Noon.

Excitement should be building in the region about now. 

Ballots are arriving in Oregon mailboxes, and candidates are running left and right (literally, not politically) to make their cases for election. 

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley visits The Exchange to make his pitch for reelection this week (we're awaiting a return message from Monica Wehby's staff). 

The NO side on Oregon's marijuana measure also speaks up, and we hear about plastic at the checkout counter (disappearing) and in the ocean (still there). 

Here's our list, still in development:

SOU Puts Time Pressure On Scholarship Campaign

Oct 16, 2014
Southern Oregon University

People seem to respond well to deadline pressure, so why not provide some for a fundraising campaign? 

That's the thinking at the Southern Oregon University Foundation.

SOUF is mounting a 100-hour campaign for the SOU scholarship... in this case, SOU stands for "Supporting Opportunities for Undergraduates." 

Talbert campaign

Not a single Democrat signed up to run for the two open seats for Jackson County Commissioner in this year's primaries. 

But the Republicans will not run unopposed after all. 

A Democrat got on the ballot by write-in in Commissioner Position 1, and Kevin Talbert is on the ballot for Position 3 as an Independent (with a capital I, the party; Kevin points out that he's still a registered Democrat). 

Oregonians Share More Than They Think

Oct 16, 2014

Our country is deeply divided politically, and Oregon is just like any other state.  Or is it? 

When you ask people around the state about the values they hold dear, the answers are often similar, despite factors like political party. 

The Oregon Values Project discovered this in its most recent once-a-decade assessment of values among the state's citizens. 

"Two Talking Wolves" Sit And Stay A Bit

Oct 15, 2014
Oregon State University

Take a journalist who covers conservation issues and pair him up with a wildlife biologist who specializes in species recovery, and what do you call the duo? 

They chose (or somebody chose for them) "Two Talking Wolves."

Todd Wilkinson is the journalist wolf, Bob Ferris is the biologist. 

They visit the Rogue Valley to talk about their work and their concerns for the planet. 

VENTSday: Ebola Handling + Election Influences

Oct 15, 2014

Your turn to talk: tell us what you think of how our government and others are handling the Ebola virus... and/or what influences you when deciding how to vote in this or any election.

Those are this week's two VENTSday topics.

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. 

Hearts Of Gold: "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy"

Oct 15, 2014

Remember that scene in "Gone With the Wind" where Scarlett O'Hara shoots the soldier? 

There's a real-life parallel, in which a woman named Belle Boyd (her real name) shot a soldier in her parlor. 

Her story is just one of several tales of real-life women involved in the fighting of the Civil War; always behind the scenes, frequently in great danger. 

Karen Abbott tells the tales in her book Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War.


Ashland, Oregon is not one of the major cities of the United States. 

But it is a leader in at least one field: the investigation of sexual assault crimes. 

The city's "You Have Options" program is drawing attention and requests for information from law enforcement all over the country. 

Now the country comes to Ashland for the 2014 Southern Oregon Sexual Assault Symposium

Oregon's World-Class Skeptic

Oct 14, 2014

Maybe we don't talk about "flying saucers" anymore, but there are plenty of subjects that produce a spirited debate over physics versus psychology. 

That second field is the home of Dr. Ray Hyman, emeritus professor at the University of Oregon. 

Hyman is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and he dedicated much of his career to studying why people believe strange things. 

So it comes as no surprise that Ashland's secular-humanist Jefferson Center invited him to speak. 

Catching Up With A Hiking Master

Oct 13, 2014
Blue Ridge Hiking Co. via YouTube

You might enjoy hiking with Jennifer Pharr Davis, but don't plan on keeping up with her. 

She's ambitious on the trail… even holds the record for the fastest traversing of the Appalachian Trail. 

And she named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012. 

And she'll visit the Rogue Valley later this week for a series of library talks. 

Remembering The Ongoing Needs Of Haiti

Oct 13, 2014
Defense Department/Public Domain

The world learns about major tragedies like the Haiti earthquake of 2010… then the news media move on. 

Attention focuses on the latest disaster. 

Former Medford resident Kurt Hildebrand could not move on. 

His wife, Wilda Mondestin, is from Haiti, and they worked together on a large earthquake response through the Mennonite Central Committee

Meeting The "Blue Collar Nomad"

Oct 13, 2014
Nomadic Devotion Books

Jake Kaida is a man on the move. 

He travels the lower 48 states and parts of Canada in search of work and spiritual fulfillment. 

And he sets some of the tales of his travels down in the book Blue Collar Nomad

The book comes with a CD of music by Matthew Tavis Johnson, a pianist and composer. 

Channeling Janis And Jimi

Oct 10, 2014
Vivia Font via Vimeo

Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Vivia Font not only admires Janis Joplin and other singers of the 60s and 70s. 

She gets to BE Janis and the others in her show "Jane Doe." 

And there's some "John Doe" in here too… Font's stage show includes Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix, too.


Giving birth is as natural as… well, having a baby. 

Making connections to all the people who can help a mother give birth… that can be trickier. 

Is your family doctor the right person?  Should you find an obstetrician, a midwife, a doula? 

Southern Oregon Birth Connections is all about delivering answers to those questions (and delivering healthy babies, too). 

A Book For Parents Of Gay Kids

Oct 10, 2014
Chronicle Books

We have traveled a long way--light years, almost--in our views of gay, lesbian, and transgender people in America. 

But the parents of LGBTQ people can still handle their childrens' coming-out with pain and confusion. 

This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids is as straightforward as its title. 

The book is in question-and-answer format, to help parents move ahead in their relationships with their kids. 

A psychologist who studies why we believe in things like space invaders is among the guests scheduled for the week on The Exchange (Ray Hyman, October 14).

And we'll talk about the state of the art in investigating and prosecuting sexual assault.

Plus, with Election 2014 getting close, we launch another round of candidate and measure interviews.

Here, minus pictures and colorful links, is our outline:

Andy Kerr In The Wilderness

Oct 9, 2014
Oregon Wild

At one time, Andy Kerr might have been the most hated man in Oregon.  And he's fine with that. 

Kerr was instrumental in the fight to protect Northwest forests through the endangered species-listing of the northern spotted owl. 

And he's still plenty active in conservation issues, including paying tribute to the Wilderness Act in this, its 50th anniversary year. 

DeFazio Congressional Office

Maybe the third time is the charm for Art Robinson. 

Peter DeFazio certainly hopes not. 

The two men face each other for the third straight election for U.S. Representative in Oregon Congressional District 4, the position DeFazio holds now. 

Going Back To Class And "Getting Schooled"

Oct 9, 2014
MacMillan Publishers

Like the rest of us, Garret Keizer heard plenty about the problems of American public schools. 

His interest may have been a bit more acute, given his background as a teacher. 

In his book Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher, Keizer tells the story of going back to the Vermont high school where he once taught, to see for himself the changes in that school and education in general.