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.


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." 

Library of Congress

We give our presidents some slack when it comes to war. 

Americans revere the presidents who oversaw major conflicts, especially Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

You'll have to excuse Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith if they do not join in the reverence.  They are the co-authors of The Spoils of War: Greed, Power, and the Conflicts That Made Our Greatest Presidents

The book argues that presidents support waging war for selfish reasons. 


The very word "seed" is used many different ways in our language.  But it's always about beginnings. 

Plants begin with the planting of seeds in the soil.  Basic and simple, but the planet has created tremendous numbers of plant and seed varieties. 

And the diversity of seeds is less important in large-scale agriculture; that's one of the points of the film "Seed: The Untold Story." 


The tiny house movement came on suddenly. 

People who needed homes or wanted smaller homes embraced the idea of living in houses that contain square footage in dozens, not hundreds, of square feet. 

But building codes written for fixed structures often have no place for tiny houses. 

So tiny house builder Andrew Morrison has been working on getting tiny houses included in the International Residential Building Code (IRC). 

Penguin Random House

Living things will go to amazing lengths to find meals, mates, and places to sleep.  And that's not just humans in college. 

Matt Simon, a science writer at WIRED, collects some fascinating and often gruesome tales of how creatures in the natural world go about getting the things they need. 

Simon's book is The Wasp That Brainwashed The Caterpillar.  Yeah, that one's pretty gross. 

Stephen Albanese/

Great indie bands pass through our region all the time... And occasionally they actually stop to play some shows.

But it's all too easy to miss up-and-coming acts, while the smaller venues that host them tend to fly under the radar, too.

That's where Josh Gross steps in. He's the music editor for the Rogue Valley Messenger, so he pays great attention to the live music scene.

From the slave trade to legal segregation, many public policies throughout American history have harmed Black communities.

These days African-Americans make up more than a third of the prisoner population in the U.S., despite their being just 12 percent of the general population.

Filmmaker and activist Raheim Shabazz says this skew begins in public schools, which have become one end of the school-to-prison pipeline. His films, "Elementary Genocide," parts one and two, screen at Southern Oregon University this week. 

Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ;

High school graduation rate is too low, drug abuse rate is too high, and the economy could be better. 

These are among the issues facing communities across Southern Oregon.  And Southern Oregon Success is determine to do something about those and more. 

The project brings together governments, school districts, non-profit groups and more to focus on making communities healthy and productive.

Soon-to-be former State Representative Peter Buckley of Ashland is one of two "Success" project co-managers.

Running a marathon a month would be a challenge. 

And probably like a walk in the park for David Gething.  He ran a marathon a DAY for a week. 

Wait, there's more... he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, in the inaugural World Marathon Challenge, winning first place. 

He tells the story of the agony and the jet lag in his book Relentless

Northern California Prescribed Fire Council

This has been the year of the TREX on The Exchange. 

We just learned a few months ago about wildland firefighters gathering for training exchanges, which they abbreviate TREX.  Unfortunately, it's pronounced "treks" and not "t-rex". 

Anyway, we get to add a W, to make WTREX, because there are training exchanges for women.  The very first WTREX just wrapped up in Northern California, after giving women firefighters and managers a chance to sharpen skills and compare notes. 

The University of California and The Nature Conservancy were among many partners in this TREX. 


Maybe we don't use them as much in the age of online maps, but atlases are handy books to have. 

They show you the world.  A different kind of atlas, Atlas Obscura, shows you the unique and unusual places and features of the world. 

Atlas Obscura is a collaborative online project, and it has just published a book version containing some of the highlights. 

From the upside-down house of Poland to the body of St. Francis Xavier in India, there's plenty to see in the book. 


Death isn't usually cause for celebration in the United States.

But a tradition born in Mexico changes that from Oct 31-Nov. 2, when Latino communities celebrate Día de los Muertos. These festivities swap mourning black for bright colors, emphasizing quality time with family members both living and passed.

Rogue Valley resident Erica Ledesma is a frequent contributor to the bilingual magazine, Revista Caminos. She studied Cultural Anthropology and Ethnic Studies at the UO.


Halloween seems like an opportune time to explore things that go bump in the night, besides the toes we stubbed groping our way from bed to bathroom.

Luckily for the Exchange, there's a Rogue Valley firm dedicated to helping people who suspect their house is haunted, free of charge.

Public Domain/Wikimedia

We certainly have an imagination for monsters, especially on Halloween. 

But imagination does not equal reality.  Or does it? 

Linda Godfrey, author of a dozen books on hauntings and the paranormal, returns with a new volume called Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena

She joins us to unveil the evidence of things that go bump in the night... and sometimes in the daytime. 

Rick Bowmer/AP

Twelve people shocked the world on Thursday when they found all seven defendants in Malheur Refuge takeover trial not guilty. 

The whole world watched as Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their co-defendants asserted possession of the refuge for six weeks in early 2016. 

Oregon Public Broadcasting--OPB--covered the case from refuge to courtroom.

A century ago, about 30% of the U.S. population lived on farms.  It should not surprise you to learn that the percentage is lower now: TWO. 

But while farm population is low, interest is increasing, as people care more about their food and where it comes from. 

The documentary film "The Last Crop" details the difficulties of handing farms off to new generations, a frequent obstacle to vibrant family farms. 

Farmer Jeff Main in California is profiled in the film; Chuck Schultz is the filmmaker. 

OEM/Dark Horse Comics

The person in charge of keeping Oregon informed of earthquake hazards has a side job writing comic books. 

Check that; writing comic books is PART of her job. 

Althea Rizzo is the author of a comic story on how Oregonians can prepare for, and survive, a tsunami. 

This is the second comic book collaboration between Oregon's emergency management agency and Dark Horse Comics, based in Milwaukie. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

We don't think of solar eclipses as punishment from angry deities anymore. 

Good thing, too: the United States will see its first total eclipse in decades next year, in August.  Parts of Oregon will see the moon completely block the sun.

Tyler Nordgren is more than ready, with a new book called Sun Moon Earth.  Nordgren, an astronomer, artist, and "night sky ambassador," is enthusiastic about this and all solar eclipses.