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.


Gunfire is now so common at educational institutions that we can't even call the Umpqua Community College shooting "the latest." 

Because incidents in other states, albeit with less loss of life, followed quickly on the heels of Roseburg. 

Which is exactly the situation Ceasefire Oregon and other groups want to change. 


We get pretty freaked out by death in our culture. 

Stephen Jenkinson calls this the "wretched anxiety" about the end of life, an anxiety he works to lessen in his work. 

Jenkinson speaks and teaches ways to live and die better, and wrote a book called Die Wise.


Making marijuana legal in Oregon was the easy part... for voters.  But ever since last November's election, officials at all levels of government have been scrambling to understand, implement, or block the law. 

Jackson County voters passed a subsequent measure authorizing a tax on pot, but county commissioners have not enacted one, in part because of a conflict with state law. 

County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal and Development Services Director Kelly Madding will host a town hall meeting on marijuana on Wednesday (Oct. 21). 

They visit The Exchange to give a preview.

Laurie Avocado/Wikimedia Commons

On the California side, the concerns about marijuana are shared with Oregon, but the laws differ. 

Medical marijuana is legal, but not the recreational variety. 

That could easily change in next year's election, and county leaders on the North Coast want to get ahead of the game. 

They joined forces for the North Coast Marijuana Policy Statement, which addresses legal, economic, and other issues related to marijuana.

It got an award from the California Association of Counties and figured in legislation passed in the recent session.

It's not every day you meet a poet who has won an Emmy Award, but you start today. 

Kwame Dawes is a poet, yes, but also a writer of novels and nonfiction works, including a book analyzing the lyrics of the late reggae musician Bob Marley. 

Dawes is Ghanaian by birth, but raised in Jamaica, and in Ashland at the invitation of Chautauqua Poets & Writers. 

He drops by the studio to talk about his body of work.

It was bound to happen someday: an online news source now offers a crossword puzzle.

We're still trying to figure out how to fill it in without mucking up the screen. 

But Buzzfeed hired 22-year-old Caleb Madison to edit its puzzles, in a typically hip and snarky Buzzfeed style. 

Ashland New Plays Festival

It figures that the town that is home to Oregon's premier professional theater company would also take a hand in the creation of new plays.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival does commission its own new plays. 

But the Ashland New Plays Festival is run by different people. 

In fact, its overseer is brand new this year, in the person of rookie Artistic Director Kyle Haden. 

Five days, one venue, four plays (and their playwrights), and a whole lot of music stands, because the plays are read rather than staged. 

Basic Books

If you wear socks with your Birkenstocks, move along... there's probably nothing for you in this item. 

But if you are interested in the way men dress and interested in getting them to dress better, welcome. 

Fashion expert G. Bruce Boyer is out with a new book, True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear

He insists there is an art to getting dressed in the morning. 

Darryl Ivy

Concerns about aerial spraying of pesticides on Oregon forest land reached a new level recently, when a court ordered Applebee Aviation to stop spraying pesticides without a license. 

The Oregon Department of Agriculture asked for the injunction, which may be the first request of its kind. 

Applebee is the company whistleblower Darryl Ivy briefly worked for last spring, when he documented, in video, helicopters spraying him with chemicals. 

Ivy sought medical attention and left the company; he joins us on the air with his story. 

University of Oregon

Stick with the sports pages, and the University of Oregon is a school with a national reputation--AND a cute, one-of-a-kind duck mascot. 

But behind the duck and the flashy Nike uniforms is a university, one with challenges typical of public higher education in our time. 

Chronicle of Higher Education Senior Reporter Jack Stipling lays out the challenges in a recent article, "An Academic Reputation at Risk." 

His work gives a history lesson, a state-of-the-university assessment, and views to the future from key UO players. 

Southern Oregon University

Wrestling season is highly anticipated at Southern Oregon University, every year. 

The wrestling squad is frequently among the top teams in the country. 

And now we have to say that's the MEN's squad, because there is a WOMEN's wrestling team as well. 

The Raider women's team hits the mats in competition for the first time this fall. 

And we get a preview of the team composition and its schedule, as other colleges also pick up the sports. 

Arcade Publishing

The people who serve in America's all-volunteer military represent a tiny minority, less than one percent of the total population.

And they bear burdens from their service that are often invisible to society at large.

Rogue Valley resident Stacy Bannerman works with and on behalf of Veterans and their families, and gives an unblinking portrait of their challenges in her book Homefront 911: How Families of Veterans Are Wounded by Our Wars

She visits the studio to talk about her work and her book.

This is the first of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called Local Focus: Debt of Honor.

The project includes an optional survey about service connected disabilities and the lives they change.


It's time for the Oregon Honey Festival once again, but not all the discussion is sweetness and light. 

After all, bees face a number of challenges, including from the continued broad use of pesticides. 

Marie Simmons, considered a honey taste expert, will be a speaker at the festival. 

The federal government just put new smog limits in place. 

How do you like them, or other clean-air rules that affect you?  Tell us in our VENTSday segment. 

And/or talk about the plan to release thousands of non-violent drug offenders from federal prisons. 

You've got opinions on events in the news, and our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.

Tim Palmer is the kind of guest we welcome back often to the Exchange. 

Because he provides such a wealth of information in so many realms. 

It comes down to this: if it involves water in our region--flowing or frozen--Tim probably knows about it. 

He's written field guides to rivers in both states, a book about glaciers in California, and more.  He and his wife recently floated the Rogue River, all the way from Lost Creek Dam to the Pacific... journey not possible (because of dams) just a few years ago.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a heroine to many people who want purity and simplicity in agriculture, and a lightning rod for controversy because of it. 

Shiva, who is scientist, activist, environmentalist and more, rejects the idea of genetically engineered crops and corporate-patented seeds. 

She visits Ashland this week (Oct. 14) to talk about food security, organic farming and more. 

Simon & Schuster

Michael Gruenbaum was young when his family was forced to move into a Jewish ghetto in Prague. 

But he grew up fast when the Nazis increased their restrictions on Jews; he and his family ended up in a concentration camp. 

Michael tells his often-grueling story in a book co-written with Todd Hasak-Lowy, Somewhere There Is Still a Sun

Two+two=4/Wikimedia Commons

Some of our trees are looking mighty ragged after several years of drought.  That's to be expected. 

But the kinds of stresses they're showing are new to researchers who know trees well. 

Those include the (southern) coast redwoods and the giant sequoias... many are clearly stressed, and some are dying. 

Redwood expert Anthony Ambrose at the University of California-Berkeley points out that the biggest redwoods need up to 2000 liters of water A DAY to survive, and drought and climate change will challenge that intake. 


The title of the latest report on the state of Oregon's highway bridges does not induce panic. 

But it does include a cautionary phrase: "we've got work to do." 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) delivers the report annually. 

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is quite serious about extending discussions of its plays into the real world, the world beyond the stage. 

The world premiere play "Sweat" now playing at OSF is about the real-world issue of America's de-industrialization and the accompanying job loss. 

Now factor in the recent preliminary agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, billed as a chance to spread the benefits of globalization around.  Will it? 

That is the central question in a panel discussion set for Saturday (Oct. 17) at OSF, titled "Does Economic Recovery Benefit Everyone?"