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.


Jane Aronson lives her work.  She's a pediatrician who advocates for the adoption of children, has adopted children herself, and works on behalf of the health of orphaned children overseas. 

She tells the stories of parents who have adopted children from foreign countries in the book Carried in Our Hearts

In both Oregon and California, teenagers can now pre-register to vote

They sign up when they are 16 and 17, and the registration becomes official on their 18th birthday. 

Assembly Member Evan Low (D-Campbell) wants to go a step further and lower the actual VOTING age to 17. 

He's introduced a bill in the legislature to make the change. 

You think of archaeology, you think of shovels... digging in the ground is what recovers artifacts. 

But technology helps in covering broader areas, like the ancient burial mounds of the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota.  Most of the mounds have been disturbed, but LIDAR technology has allowed the mapping of the remaining mounds. 

And further investigation shows a propensity for lightning strikes at the mounds.  That's the focus of this month's "Underground History" with Mark Tveskov of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

Public Domain

Wolves came a long way in a human lifetime.  In Oregon, the last bounty for killing a wild wolf was paid out in 1947. 

60+ years later, OR-7 captured the attention of the state and nation, as the first wolf known to be living free west of the Cascades since the time of extermination. 

OR-7 is one of the key characters in Brenda Peterson's book Wolf Nation: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves

Riccardo Rossi,

There is no commercial salmon fishing season in the Pacific along much of the coast this year, because of the need to protect sensitive species from overfishing. 

This is not the first time fishery managers shut down the take, and will not be the last.  And a recent report from California Trout and researchers at UC-Davis indicate fish are in serious trouble despite the efforts. 

"SOS II: Fish in Hot Water" predicts extinction for 74% of California's native salmon, steelhead, and trout in 100 years. 

© Raimond Spekking, CC BY-SA 4.0,

"Do not go past this point."  How do YOU respond to a sign with that message? 

A lot of us think "maybe it's not SO dangerous..."  And we're often wrong. 

Psychologist Steve Casner shows us HOW often in his book Careful: A User's Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds

We learn much about why we're wired to ignore danger, and what that gets us. 

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Journalist Paul Fattig distinguished himself as a solid reporter in a career that included stints at both The Daily Courier in Grants Pass and the Mail Tribune in Medford.

He is less proud of his early days as a landowner, fixing up a cabin in the Applegate Valley with his wife Maureen. 

They learned a lot about themselves and a few things about each other, a story he tells in Up Sterling Creek Without a Paddle

Oregon Department of Forestry

Lone Rock Timber and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians were ready to take over part of the state-owned Elliott State Forest, but Oregon leaders had other ideas. 

The forest is supposed to generate money for schools through timber sales, but has lost money in recent years. 

That's what prompted the move to sell part of it, a move canceled by the governor and state treasurer, two of the three members of the State Land Board. 

A profession as dangerous as smokejumping--parachuting into remote areas to fight fires--is bound to suffer a few casualties. 

Malvin Brown was the first man on record to die as a smokejumper; he died in training near Roseburg in 1945. 

Brown was a member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Unit in World War II, composed of all African-Americans.  He and other jumpers will be memorialized in a plaque at the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum near Cave Junction in early June. 


It was a web site where you could buy ANYTHING.  eBay?  Not hardly. 

"Silk Road" was the name of the purposely obscure website that moved goods and services between parties who wanted to stay in the shadows. 

Ultimately, a lot of drugs moved through the site, which was created by an elusive computer mastermind who went by the online handle "Dread Pirate Roberts." 

The story of pirate and ship is told in Nick Bilton's book American Kingpin

Ji-Elle, Public Domain,

It's well established that urban areas have an effect on even remote environments. 

For example, it's hard to find places to see the stars in the night sky when there's a city nearby. 

And it's not just visuals, it's sounds, too... Recent research shows that the sounds of human society intrude well into rural areas, with an effect on sensitive animal species and habitats in which they should be generally free of humans. 

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0,

"Facts are facts."  "You can argue about the meaning, but not about the facts."  Insert your favorite phrase on facts and reality here. 

Telling the truth seems to be taking a beating in today's world. 

Brooke Gladstone gets to watch the process in her role as co-host of "On The Media," heard on JPR. 

She gives us some off-air thoughts in her small book The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time

Karen McClintock is an psychologist, author, teacher, and pastor. 

Much of her writing and her workshops focus on eradicating sexual shame.  It's a subject she knows from her own family: McClintock's father was gay, at a time and place in America when many men could not afford to be publicly gay. 

It's a story she tells in her new book My Father's Closet

Allan Ajifo, CC BY 2.0,

Have you ever wanted to say "by the power vested in me..."? 

You can be the officiant at a wedding, but there are a few hoops to jump through. 

Religious organizations have the inside track, but a new law in Oregon will allow secular organizations to train people to perform weddings. 

The Center for Inquiry in Portland supports the change. 

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University is not a very big campus, but its price tag figures to get bigger in the next academic year. 

A budget shortfall for Oregon state government will likely impact the seven state universities, which largely have to fund themselves through tuition. 

So SOU President Linda Schott proposed, and the board of trustees approved, a tuition hike of 12%. 

The state's revenue picture got clearer with the release of new income figures this week; there is more money, but taxpayers are likely to get "kicker" refunds. 


It's pretty typical to complain about potholes, but even the people who fix Oregon's roads will tell you repairs are needed.

And the state legislature recognizes this; that's why it's been talking for a couple of years about a major transportation bill. 

Now one is on the table, with a mix of tax and fee ideas and plans for shoring up the ways of getting around Oregon. 

WiLPrZ, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The kids we get are not necessarily the kids we expected. 

Nature has a way of making changes in the family tree.  Andrew Solomon talked to hundreds of people in families where the children were born in a variety of circumstances... with disabilities or other differences from the parents. 

How parents and society cope is the focus of Solomon's book Far From The Tree

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity

It's almost like an old-fashioned barn-raising, the way Habitat for Humanity works. 

People with home-building skills come together with a soon-to-be homeowner and work together to build the house. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity marks 30 years on the job this year, with activity in Medford and several other communities. 

Kaye Runner, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Craig Chaquico has played the guitar in a lot of circumstances; he was just 20 when he joined Jefferson Starship. 

But Chaquico has never played with a choir, he says.  Until now... a concert on May 20th has him strapping on his guitar to accompany the Jefferson State Choral Coalition

What do you know... another band named Jefferson? 

University of California Press

"We're going to build a wall" were practically the first words of Donald Trump's campaign for president.

The plan for a continuous wall on the Mexican border has many friends, and enemies, and practical obstacles. 

Ronald Rael is an opponent of the wall, but considers it as both architectural and metaphorical construct. 

His book Borderwall as Architecture is a mix of anger, whimsy, and design.