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.

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler On Measure 86

Aug 8, 2014
Deviant Art/Wikimedia

Lots of people love the expression "the buck stops here." 

Oregon's state treasurer is one person who can really say it. 

Whatever the legislature decides to take in and spend, somebody's got to mind the store. 

That's the treasurer's job, and at the moment, it's Ted Wheeler's job. 

Mount Ashland Considers Other Seasons

Aug 8, 2014
Alex Lockhart/Public Domain

If winter is a bust, maybe summer activities will help Mount Ashland. 

The ski area there was unable to open last winter because there was never enough snow. 

And while a ski area needs skiing to survive, the Mount Ashland Association is looking beyond snow sports. 

MAA board members are talking about ways the ski area could be used outside of ski season for events that would bring in additional revenue. 

CASAs For Kids, And How They Work

Aug 8, 2014

A child removed from her or his parents' home has a lot to deal with. 

But children who enter the child welfare system in many communities also gain a protector. 

CASAs or Court Appointed Special Advocates check in with children "in the system" and work to ensure their needs are being met. 

Theatre participants and patrons in Southern Oregon are shocked about the sudden death of Jim Giancarlo, the artistic director of Ashland's "other professional theatre."

Oregon Beaches May Ban Smoking

Aug 7, 2014
Scott Catron/Wikimedia

The fresh salt air.  The sound of the waves crashing on the shore.  The smell of cigarette smoke. 

Two of those will continue at Oregon ocean beaches, and it's probably not the smoke. 

The Oregon State Parks Department proposes ending all smoking on Parks property along the ocean... which is almost all of Oregon's coastline. 

This follows new smoking restrictions in inland state parks. 

Medford Still In Recession's Grip

Aug 7, 2014
Ian Poellet/Wikimedia

Oregon seems to take longer to emerge from recessions than the rest of the country. 

And Medford seems to take longer than other Oregon metro areas. 

While the Medford area showed strong growth until the recession, a recent report shows it still struggling to get back to that success. 

How To "Commit To Win"

Aug 7, 2014
Hudson Street Press

While it's probably true we can't reach all of our goals, we can at least make sure we've done everything in our power. 

And Heidi Reeder is determined to help people on that end. 

Reeder, a communications professor at Boise State, is the author of Commit to Win: How To Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals.

Tracking English Language Learners

Aug 6, 2014
Wikipedia Commons

Plenty of evidence suggests that students who enter school speaking a language other than English can face some long-term educational challenges. 

But in Oregon, the records are incomplete. 

English language learners are reclassified as English-proficient students once they've mastered the language. 

And the federal government only requires tracking for two years after reclassification.

For the first time, listeners chose one of this week's topics for VENTSday, and it's a big one: we'll talk about Zionism, the creation of a Jewish homeland, in the context of the recent battles in Gaza.

We'll also let listeners vent on California proposal to take guns away from someone who shows signs of mental illness.

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. 

Why Some Important Workers Are "Invisibles"

Aug 6, 2014
Penguin Books

Most people like to be recognized for a job well-done. 

A bonus, a free dinner, even a certificate saying we accomplished something. 

But there's a whole class of workers who do NOT get noticed, precisely because they're doing their jobs. 

And when they mess up, that's when we learn of their very existence. 

Health Insurance Without The Profits

Aug 5, 2014
NIH/Public Domain

One of the major gripes about the Affordable Care Act--Obamacare--is that it does not include a public option, a Medicare-style single-payer element. 

Many of the people who like the concept of single-payer health care do not like the concept of for-profit insurance companies. 

There are non-profit insurance co-ops out there, including Health Republic Insurance. 

The Heart Of Fire Season (We Hope)

Aug 5, 2014

It's been a busy couple of weeks for firefighters in the region. 

The Oregon Gulch fire is one of those rare ones that involves both states, and it's a big one. 

It is also far from the only big one burning; crews are working fires in many places in both states. 

Breaking The Cycle Of Opioid Abuse

Aug 4, 2014

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. 

"Hotel Hell" In The Applegate Valley

Aug 4, 2014

"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. 

Doctor/Poet Neal Hall

Aug 4, 2014

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.

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.

"Godspell" And More: First Friday In The Arts

Aug 1, 2014
Randall Theatre

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. 

New Boss, New Look At Ashland "Tidings"

Aug 1, 2014

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. 

Letters Of Note

Aug 1, 2014
Chronicle Books

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

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.