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.


Firefighters probably wish the Continental Congress had declared independence in November. 

Then, at least, the chances of fireworks starting a grass fire would be limited. 

But the fireworks-heavy holiday is in dry July, and comes with frequent warnings about the safe use of legal fireworks, where they are permitted. 

The Oregon Fire Marshal's office puts out many of those warnings. 


Blueberries taste good, especially between layers of sweet, flaky pastry. 

Pardon the pie reverie; now down to the science. 

Karen Avinelis is a blueberry grower, and has learned a few things about coaxing the fruit to deliver taste and nutrition. 

luminare press

Eugene is now home to about five times as many people as it held in 1950. 

"Leaps and bounds" might be an understatement when it comes to growth. 

Sara Jeanne Duncan Widness remembers the quiet days, and shares her memories in her book The Dusky Afternoon


There's no place like home, but home is looking different over time. 

Oregon and California are both home to unique flora and fauna, and the flora is displaying notable changes. 

Susan Harrison from the University of California-Davis studies plant diversity, and she notices less of that diversity as drought and climate change take root in the region. 


We've been learning of late what happens when there's an even number of Supreme Court justices. 

When there's a tie, a lower court ruling stands.  And stand it did, in the case brought by Texas against President Obama's executive action to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation. 

Which means deportation is now a stronger possibility for people who hoped to be able to stay in the country. 

Immigration lawyer John Almaguer is well-versed in the nuances of the laws now on the books. 

We continue our discussion of immigration into VENTSday, through the lens of the Supreme Court decision and the UK's departure from the EU.

Give us your thoughts on how, if at all, immigration should be handled differently. 

Topic two: Legal marijuana in Oregon reaches its first birthday; we want your impressions of success, failure, or meh?   

VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a pair of topics on the table, post a survey online (see below), and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

The topics can range from presidential politics to how you spend your days off. Got an observation or opinion? Share it with the State of Jefferson on VENTSday.

William Morrow Books

Mel and Annalee Jacoby were journalists who shared a love for Asia and for each other.  They got married in Manila--in November 1941. 

With the attack on Pearl Harbor and their knowledge of China, they quickly realized their lives were in danger as the Japanese military approached. 

The story of their attempt to stay out of enemy hands is told in Bill Lascher's book Eve Of A Hundred Midnights

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Electric car owners can zip up Interstate Five from fast charger to fast charger in Oregon and Washington, thanks to the creation of the West Coast Electric Highway

California is getting ready to join the party, with funding identified for charging stations along I-5 and highway 99.  Work on the California end could be approved in July by the California Energy Commission

This gives us a chance to check in with the people in charge of the chargers (sorry), to hear how much use the system is getting. 

Workman Publishing

Generations of boys brought spice racks, memo bins, and similar objects home from school. 

They were the products of shop class.  Likewise, girls came home with cakes and dresses and other items they baked or cooked or sewed in home economics ("home ec") class. 

Those courses are less common now, but the need for the skills still exists. 

Sharon and David Bowers compiled many of those skills into a book called The Useful Book

Viking Press

In theory, America is the land of opportunity: anyone can do anything, and we are not a country of strong class lines.  That's the theory. 

The recent debates about inequality remind us that people who don't make much money have a hard time getting to a position to make more. 

Historian and author Nancy Isenberg says it's not a new situation.  She is the author of the newly released White Trash

The book tracks the accomplishments and abuses of (and on) poor white people since colonial days.

Talk about your high-pressure jobs: 911 dispatchers have to stay calm while people are often coming unglued on the phone with them.

It might not be the easiest job in the world to fill. 

In fact, Oregon's Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, which trains emergency dispatchers, reports a shortage of them in rural areas. 

Randy Johnson for City of Rogue River

School is out for the summer, but students are still learning things. 

High school students in the city of Rogue River will spend part of their vacation keeping up with the skills they gained in the "Learning to Protect Our Environment" program. 

During the school year, the program pairs the high school students with elementary school kids to teach environmental stewardship skills.  A similar program is offered in the summer, with an emphasis on the effects of climate change on the environment.

Love and icebergs.  Those are among the elements in Midge Raymond's debut novel My Last Continent

We could not resist a chance to talk writing craft with an author based in Ashland, especially when her book takes us to Antarctica and the effects of climate change upon that frosty land. 

We promise not to blow the ending on the love story, but we definitely need to hear more about the icebergs. 

Friesen Press

The Earth's population grows by about 200,000 people every day.  That's roughly the population of Eugene PLUS the population of Ashland PLUS Grants Pass thrown in as well.  How long can we keep this up?

That's the central question of environmental journalist Paul Hanley's book 11, a reference to the 11 Billion people who may occupy the planet by the end of the 21st century. 

He's got some ideas about how to slow and reverse the growth. 

Julie Cortez/OSF

Abraham Lincoln made his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but the Civil War and slavery dragged on for two more years.  It was not until June 19, 1865, that former slaves in Texas finally got word of their freedom. 

The date is now remembered as "Juneteenth."  The Oregon Shakepeare Festival observes Juneteenth every year, and this year the celebration is Monday, June 27th (an off-day for festival performers). 

W.W. Norton Books

Diarrhea as a threat to national security is nothing new, (dysentary's been part of American military history since before Valley Forge), but the approaches have certainly evolved.

Where we are now in easing the ravages of war -- be it intestinal distress, panic, exhaustion, heat, ​flies and/or ​noise --- are all covered in a new book by journalist Mary Roach.

She goes under the armor, below the belt and to a few more unmentionable places in Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War.


Multiple sclerosis, MS, has no cure... and over time, MS patients generally see a decline in neurological and other functions as the disease advances. 

There are treatments, to be sure, but recent research suggests that diet can play a big part in maintaining health through MS. 

Vijayshree Yadav, an assistant professor of neurology at Oregon Health & Science University, studies diet and lifestyle effects on MS, and finds that diets with whole foods and lower saturated fats can slow the advance of MS. 

Penguin Random House

Teenagers are famous for being interested in many things--generally not the things their parents are doing. 

So James Campbell had some misgivings about inviting his teenaged daughter Aidan to join him on a trip into Alaska's wild interior.  She said yes, twice. 

The third trip amounted to a coming-of-age journey for Aidan in some of the most remote places in the country.  It is the story told in Jim's book Braving It.

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

At this point it seems naive to ask if money influences politics.

So, let's begin with HOW much money it takes to make a difference, and thwart efforts to curtail catastrophic climate change.

Our guests have followed the money, and struck oil. Daniel Lewkow is the Political Director of Common Cause Oregon; David Hyde heads up Move To Amend.

The Senate voted on additional gun restrictions this week (June 20).  Four votes, four rejections. 

Now you get to think like a senator: would additional gun laws help stop mass shootings?  What would you restrict? 

Our alternate topic this week is infill: how you feel about more density in housing, like apartments, next to your single-family home. 

VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a pair of topics on the table, post a survey on our Facebook page, and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

The topics can range from presidential politics to how you spend your days off.