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.


Jefferson Exchange | August 4, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Breaking The Cycle Of Opioid Abuse

Credit Wikimedia

Joshua Graner gets into the details of opium and its offshoots.

While much of the focus on illegal drug abuse went to meth and heroin, prescription drugs came along and became a huge problem. 

The opioids--Oxycontin and the like--are responsible for much of the illegal drug trade. 

And medical professionals have teamed up to curb the trade, through groups like the Opioid Prescribers Group in the Rogue Valley. 

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Jefferson Exchange | August 4, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Mon August 4, 2014

"Hotel Hell" In The Applegate Valley

Credit Wikimedia

Joanna Davis describes her experience with Gordon Ramsay.

"Gordon Ramsay Checks Into a Hotel Run By Hippies," reads the promo headline for Fox TV's "Hotel Hell" airing tonight (August 4).  

Who are they calling hippies? 

The owners of the Applegate River Lodge west of Medford, it turns out. 

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Jefferson Exchange | August 4, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Doctor/Poet Neal Hall


Dr. Neal Hall talks of racism and reads his poetry.

The title of Neal Hall's book alone will make some people flinch: "Nigger For Life." 

But the book of poetry lays out Dr. Hall's feelings about his hard work to get into and through medical school, and his feelings about how society rewarded him--or not--for his work. 

His perception: de facto slavery still exists in America.

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Separate Fire Closes US 97
1:10 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

10,000 Acres A Day: Oregon Gulch Fire Marches On

The Oregon Gulch Fire in its early stages. Note the red trees to the left, indicating a retardant slurry drop from a plane.
Credit Lee Winslow/ODF


ODF says crews "made excellent progress on the fire" during the day Sunday.  Fire acreage at 36,500+... first day since Thursday fire did not gain 10,000 acres during the day.


The Oregon Gulch Fire continues to burn through a vast swath of land on the Oregon/California state line, generating large amounts of smoke and obscuring dozens of other fires burning in the region.  The fire zone is south of Oregon highway 66 and generally east of Jenny Creek, with land scorched in Jackson, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties.

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Jefferson Exchange | August 1, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

"Godspell" And More: First Friday In The Arts

The "Godspell" cast in rehearsal.
Credit Randall Theatre

We list some arts highlights for August.

A new production of "Godspell" opening at Medford's Randall Theatre is among the highlights of this month's First Friday Arts segment on The Exchange.

The first Friday of any month has become a day to celebrate the arts around our region. 

Several communities hold First Friday art walks, and some hold similar observances on other weekend days. 

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Jefferson Exchange | August 1, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

New Boss, New Look At Ashland "Tidings"

Say goodbye to the broadsheet; tabloid is coming to the Daily Tidings.

Bert Etling talks his newspaper past and the future of the "Tidings."

Ashland's daily newspaper is getting a new boss and a new look.

Incoming editor Bert Etling revealed on The Jefferson Exchange that the Daily Tidings will switch from a broadsheet to a tabloid format on Tuesday, August 12.

It's one of several changes coming to the small-town daily, including the hiring of Etling.

The paper has not had its own editor for most of the last decade. 

It shared Bob Hunter with its sister paper, the Mail Tribune of Medford. 

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Jefferson Exchange | August 1, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Letters Of Note

Credit Chronicle Books

Shaun Usher shares his love of letters.

Maybe writing letters is becoming a lost art, but it's still an art. 

And we can appreciate the masterpieces, both contemporary and historical. 

Shaun Usher certainly does. 

He compiles letters from near and far, from people famous and not, on his blog site Letters of Note

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Green Springs On Alert
4:33 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

More Lightning, More Fires, More Evacuations

Lightning strikes near Ashland, July 30.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Lightning continues to set fires around the region, keeping firefighters busy and forcing evacuation alerts.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office issued a level one evacuation order for Copco Road east of Ashland Thursday afternoon (July 31).

The Oregon Gulch fire burning in the nearby Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument prompted the order, which means residents should be ready to evacuate if needed.

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | August 4-8, 2014
11:23 am
Thu July 31, 2014

"Hotel Hell," No Butts On Beaches, & A Topic You Pick: This Week on The Exchange

A recap of Gordon Ramsay's visit to Southern Oregon  for his "Hotel Hell" series is among the offerings  of The Jefferson Exchange during the week of August 8th.

You'll also hear about getting cigarettes off Oregon's public beaches, and can help us pick one of the VENTSday topics for Wednesday morning (vote with a post at our Facebook page).

It's another big week... here, minus all the window dressing, is the list so far:

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Jefferson Exchange | July 31, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Fixing Up The Old Alma Mater

Craig Morris lays out the rebuilding plan at SOU.

It's still a struggle for state universities to get the money to run all their programs. 

Getting money for construction is another matter. 

Southern Oregon University just embarked on another round of renovation, thanks to the Oregon Legislature. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 31, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Questioning Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Credit Wikimedia

Jesse O'Brien explains the workings of the health insurance rate review process.

As we move further into the age of health insurance reform, the arguments just keep coming. 

One concerns individual health insurance rates: will they go up? Down? Stay the same? 

Excellent question. 

Oregon insurers propose a variety of new rates for 2015, and they're all over the map. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 31, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Ashland's Drought Summit

Credit Wikimedia

Mike Faught fields many questions about water conservation.

The euphemism "D word" went out of favor early in this calendar year. 

Public officials and water managers just came right out and said "drought" when it became clear the winter would not deliver the usual amount of snow and rain. 

California's governor made his drought declaration before the end of January, and efforts to conserve water have been widespread. 

The City of Ashland is one of several jurisdictions making special moves to encourage conservation. 

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Bad Fire Weather
11:29 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Firefighters Looking For Smokes

Lightning strikes near Ashland Tuesday evening. Note the very few raindrops under a partly sunny sky.
Credit Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Nature continues to provide a one-two punch to the region: hot, dry weather AND thunderstorms.

Oregon Department of Forestry reports seven new fires across the Medford district from Tuesday's storms.  None are big, but more may develop.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning covering the Rogue Valley, South Cascades, Siskiyous, the Klamath Basin and Siskiyou County.  It remains in effect until 11 PM Wednesday (July 30).

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 30, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Wed July 30, 2014

CalTrans Brings Fish Scientists To The Smith

River and road are close neighbors in the Smith River canyon.
Credit Graham Hughes/Wild California

Natalynne DeLapp details the settlement with CalTrans.

Environmental groups complained about plans to widen California highway 197 and U.S. 199 along the Smith River, because the work could hurt fish. 

A judge agreed, and postponed the beginning of the work. 

Now CalTrans will consult with the federal fisheries agency, to assess the possible effects of the highway projects on salmon. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 30, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Wed July 30, 2014

VENTSday: Death Penalty + Dams: More/Higher?


Listeners vent on today's topics and offer suggestions for next week.

Another botched execution raises the stakes in the death penalty debate.

And in the middle of drought, talk of raising Shasta Dam continues.  These are the starting points for this week's VENTSday topics.

We do not schedule guests for Wednesday at 8:30, because that's the time for VENTSday, your chance to vent (politely, please) on a pair of topics in the news. 

We bring the topics, you bring the opinions.  AND this week, nominate a topic for NEXT week.

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Jefferson Exchange | July 30, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Time In A Bottle

Credit Tarcher/Penguin

Howard Falco explains how to dissolve time.

Time is one of those commodities with varying value. 

When we're waiting for our plane to take off, time crawls. 

When we're with people we like, it just seems to fly. 

Life skills coach and teacher Howard Falco insists we can exert a bit more control over time than we may think. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 29, 2014 | 8:00
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Water Rights For Bodies Of Water

Credit PGHolbrook/Wikimedia

James Wheaton explains what might happen to groundwater in California because of his group's lawsuit.

Does a river or a lake have a water right? 

This question gets asked more often lately, as the drought makes lakes and rivers run low or dry, while nearby water users still get their water. 

A California court just ruled that the pumping of water out of the ground must be regulated to protect nearby rivers.   An environmental group filed the suit.

It's the first use of the "public trust doctrine" in this manner in the state. 

Read more
Jefferson Exchange | July 29, 2014 | 8:30
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Stepping Up The Crime Fight In Redding

Credit Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

Ed Rullman describes the work of his anti-crime group.

Regardless of the actual crime numbers, there is a perception of a crime problem in downtown Redding. 

Business owners have banded together as Redding Merchants Crime Watch, and the council and mayor are floating proposals to beef up law enforcement. 

Right smack in the middle is Police Chief Rob Paoletti, who plans a town hall meeting Wednesday at 6 PM (at Sequoia Middle School) to release crime stats and take input. 

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Jefferson Exchange | July 29, 2014 | 9:00
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Education: Asia And America

Credit Wikimedia

David Scott Clegg compares educational systems.

By many measures, Asian countries lead the world in the overall quality of public education. 

The United States is much farther down the list, despite ongoing efforts to improve schooling here. 

David Scott Clegg is familiar with education in both places. 

He's an educator and the Managing Director of The HEAD Foundation, a Singapore-based education think tank. 

Read more
75% Contained Monday Evening
5:16 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Klamath County Fire Approaches Containment

Credit South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership

Firefighters appear to have the upper hand on the Ferguson fire, burning on private land in Klamath County. 

By Monday afternoon, the fire was listed as 75% contained on 200 acres.

The fire was first reported on Friday, and quickly burned down three structures and threatened several more, forcing evacuation orders.

Those orders had been dialed back to less urgent advisories by early Monday.  The fire zone is 30 miles east of Klamath Falls, five miles north of Beatty.

Read more