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.

Feminism, Activism, And "Take Me To Mercy"

Sep 17, 2014
Kathie Olson

We learned about the life, feminism and activism of the late Tillie Olsen last year from her daughter, Kathie Olsen. 

Kathie is an author in her own right, with a new book based on some of the social justice themes her mother embraced. 

Take Me To Mercy: How The Carrie Nation Changed My Life is set amidst the women's movement of the 70s. 

Language Immersion Arrives in Central Point

Sep 16, 2014
Eric E. Johnson/Flickr

"Immersion" programs in schools do not involve throwing students in actual water. 

But they do end up in a pool of students who speak either English or another language, and the class is taught in both languages. 

Language immersion programs are fairly common, but brand new in the Central Point school district. 

Jewett Elementary is home to a first-grade class taught primarily in Spanish, with a mix of English- and Spanish-speaking children. 

(More) Fresh Food With Food Stamps

Sep 16, 2014

A frequent complaint about "food stamp" programs (Oregon Trail in Oregon, CalFresh in California) is that users can buy processed or otherwise less-than-wholesome foods. 

Which is why the Fresh Rewards program exists. 

It encourages Oregon Trail card holders to buy fresh produce, by matching part of the value of the purchase, stretching the value of the card. 

Penguin Books

Before "Star Wars," we had "Star Trek." 

Before "Star Trek," we had flying saucers to think about… and worry about appearing in real life. 

Chalk that worry up as a success for one Ray Palmer. 

As a writer and editor on some of the country's premier fantasy and science fiction publications, he cranked out a lot of influential material in the mid-20th century. 

Celebrating Books And Authors (And Readers)

Sep 15, 2014

Maybe books on paper are becoming passé, but people still love to read. 

Witness the voter creation of a special district to keep libraries open in Jackson County earlier this year. 

Another library, the Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University, celebrates books and their makers with its third Ashland Book and Author Festival

Pushing For More Deliberate Fires

Sep 15, 2014

The question is often asked during fire season, when thousands of acres are going up in smoke: weren't we talking about restoring regular fires to the ecosystem? 

The answer is yes. 

Or yes, BUT... the scientific answer is one thing, the political is another. 

The Bureau of Land Management and other agencies do perform prescribed burns. 

Sending The Poachers Packing

Sep 15, 2014

The rate of poaching of African elephants is simply shocking. 

By one estimate, the entire continent could be devoid of elephants within a decade, killed by poachers taking the elephant tusks for ivory. 

Pratik Patel founded the African Wildlife Trust to work for the protection of the elephants, primarily with the government of Tanzania. 

Working Through Life's Challenges Through Art

Sep 12, 2014

Can a paintbrush be a good substitute for a fist? 

In some cases, yes. 

Think about it… young people dealing with some of life's thornier problems can act out in a number of ways, including through violence. 

But when they are given a chance to express themselves through art... the story changes. 

That's the approach of the Life Track program, a project that combines Medford's LifeArt program with the counseling services of OnTrack. 

SOU & SOB Team Up For Beer Brand

Sep 12, 2014
Southern Oregon University

It's not like Southern Oregon University has a huge budget for marketing. 

But a few strategic partnerships might help to raise awareness of the school and its work. 

Like, say, a brand of beer. 

It's true… SOU signed a licensing agreement with Southern Oregon Brewing (SOU + SOB) to create a new beer called "Raider Red," after the school's mascot. 

Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears

Sep 12, 2014
Oregon Public Broadcasting

The money is not great--the governor makes a little more--but oh, the prestige of being Oregon's Poet Laureate. 

Peter Sears is getting used to the feeling. 

Earlier this year he was chosen to spend the next two years as the state's chief poetry booster. 

Sears replaces Paulann Petersen, who visited the Exchange a couple of times. 

The role of prescribed fire, the killing of elephants for ivory, and Medford's new music/art festival all get an airing on the Jefferson Exchange the week of September 15th.

We'll also talk about mixing drinks, language immersion programs, and flying saucers.

Something for everyone?  We hope so.  Below is the list for the week, minus the pictures and links.

Teaching The Students Who Don't Show Up

Sep 11, 2014

The endless discussions of how to make better schools, and therefore better students, focus largely on what happens within the school walls. 

And that could present a particular problem for Oregon, since many of its students are frequently not there. 

Nationwide studies of school attendance show Oregon among the worst in absenteeism... kids miss a lot of school. 

The pro-attendance group Attendance Works keeps an eye on the situation, which comes down to a clear formula: less school=less achievement in reading and math. 

Concern About A Deer Disease

Sep 11, 2014
Charlotte Duren / JPR

The dreaded Ebola virus is a hemorrhagic disease… it can cause copious bleeding in the body. 

Deer can contract their own hemorrhagic disease, and it appears to be showing up in Southern Oregon. 

Deer have been dropping in the woods of late, indicating that adenovirus is spreading from urban deer to deer that hang out in the country. 

Good Manners With Bad Words

Sep 11, 2014
St. Martin's Press

Had enough of the people who make loud cell phone calls in nice restaurants? 

You and Amy Alkon might have a few things in common. 

She writes the column "The Advice Goddess" for newspapers and also hosts a radio show offering advice. 

And she has plenty to offer on the appropriate manners for modern situations. 

Alkon's new book on the subject is Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck

SOU Called "LGBT Friendly"

Sep 10, 2014
Southern Oregon University

It's hard for a small regional public college to crack the ranks of the top schools in the country.  At least in academics and athletics. 

But Southern Oregon University recently showed up on a top-50 list. 

SOU is ranked among the most tolerant schools in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

VENTSday: Airline Seats + Football Concussions

Sep 10, 2014

How comfortable (or not) was your last ride in an airplane seat?  And what should the organizers of youth football be doing to prevent player concussions? 

Those are the big questions on this week's VENTSday segment.

VENTSday is our weekly "opinion swarm"… we throw a pair of topics on the table, and let listeners vent--politely--on those topics. 

They can range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.

From Fan To "Against Football"

Sep 10, 2014
Random House

Where once we referred to baseball as "the American pastime," football is the game that draws the bigger crowds and TV audiences. 

But the game is a very big business now… a multi-billion dollar business at both the college and professional levels. 

And it hurts people; note the discussions of concussions in recent years. 

Pear Harvest Lags In The Rogue Valley

Sep 9, 2014

It's pear harvest season in the Rogue Valley, and the harvest does not look so good so far. 

After a hard early winter freeze followed by little precipitation, there were bound to be some crop impacts. 

And early reports show a smaller pear yield than in past years. 

Barry Tibbetts with Crop Production and Protection at Naumes Inc. joins us.

OR-7 And Future Management Plans

Sep 9, 2014
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

It's been a very big year for Oregon's rock-star wolf, OR-7. 

The wolf that roamed as far afield as California and Nevada returned to Oregon, found a mate, and fathered the first wild wolves born west of the Cascades in generations. 

New test results indicate OR-7's mate is also from Oregon, putting a "girl next door" spin on the new family. 

The State Of The Birds 2014

Sep 9, 2014

The release of the State of the Birds report is an annual event; 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of the first report. 

And this one arrives today (September 9) with some additional poignancy: it comes 100 years, nearly to the day, since the last Passenger Pigeon died. 

The bird was so abundant in the 19th century, people with boards could whack a few out of the sky for a meal.