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.

Syncronea Publications

Refugees from Syria garnered the headlines in recent months, but they are far from the first people to flee war and oppression. 

The end of World War II also created large numbers of refugees, including citizens of the Baltic republics escaping the new control from Stalin's USSR. 

Hillevi Ruumet was among them, as a little girl fleeing Estonia with her family. 

She tells the story of a long and involved flight to freedom in her memoir Under Fate's Wing.


The armed takeover of the vacant offices at Oregon's Malheur National Refuge draws attention from much of the country. 

And a few head scratches, too... over why it even happened, when the people at the center of the protest submitted to federal authority without protest. 

Media people on the scene outnumber the militants; Zoë Carpenter, the assistant Washington editor at The Nation, is among the people reporting on the takeover.

Government and guns are the central themes to our topics on the next VENTSday.

VENTSday is our weekly forum for listeners--and listeners only--to sound off on topics in the news. 

We provide a pair of topics, a mix of local and not, and you provide the opinions. 

This week, we want to hear your opinions on the armed takeover of Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife  Refuge's offices.  Our other topic is no less hot-button: your thoughts on President Obama's executive action on gun background checks.

Viking Press

Mike Lofgren is by no means the first person to say that our federal government is largely unresponsive to the will of the people. 

But he's one of the few to have spent a good deal of his career working inside the government, most recently as a Congressional budget committee staffer. 

Lofgren's book The Deep State examines the interconnections between people and organizations that lead to decisions far beyond the grasp of the American people. 

No Starch Press

If you want to make music but are not much of a player, maybe you could focus on building your own instruments. 

Some truly clever devices for creating music--or at least noise--can be made out of stuff you find around the house. 

The book Junkyard Jam Band shows how, including tips on how to turn toys from Slinkys to talking dolls into sound creators. 


New year, no agreement.  The long-awaited and long-debated Klamath Basin Agreements governing the use of Klamath River water died at the end of 2015, because Congress failed to implement the agreements.

Tribal governments originally supported the agreements, but that changed over time. 

Now the tribes and other entities have to figure out where to go next to remove the Klamath dams or otherwise address the myriad of issues facing the river, its sources, and water users. 

Archway Publishing

It's frequently true that women who return to work after having children feel some concerns about the effect on the kids. 

Pamela Lenehan's book My Mother, My Mentor addresses those concerns squarely. 

Lenehan interviewed and surveyed many people--working mothers and their grown children--to hear their success stories, and a few cautionary tales of practices best avoided. 

Lenehan's bottom line: women, their children, and their careers can all thrive. 

National Park Service

Some parts of the world can afford to think that climate change is a "will happen this century" kind of thing.

But low-lying areas are already getting a taste of higher sea levels, and have to prepare for more.

Michael Furniss, retired from Humboldt State University, travels to such areas to help in education and planning. 

Courtesy of Cal Fire

You can be prepared, but few people can claim to be READY for a disaster. 

Disaster struck the city of Weed more than a year ago, in the form of a fire that burned 150 homes. 

Now the city is embarking on the Resilience Weed project, designed to get the town and its residents better prepared for similar or other disasters in the future.

Do you have a passion in your life?  Is it for your work, or a person, or a pastime? 

Because you CAN have a passion for life in general, says Gregg Levoy. 

Levoy is a speaker and writer, and the author of the recent book Vital Signs

It gets away from the idea of having a specific passion in life, and broadens the focus to a passion FOR life. 

Crater Lake webcam

December gave Southern Oregon a big jump start on winter snowpack.  The National Weather Service office reports that December snowfall at Crater Lake broke a record, with 196.7 inches of snow.  That edged out the old record of 196.0, set in 1948.


Happy New Year!  January 1st is an off-day for the Exchange staff; we offer notable interviews from the past for air today.  

At 8: we spent several decades trying very hard NOT to get into a war with the Soviet Union.  Then the USSR collapsed into Russia and several other countries, and the Cold War was over.  And historian Jon Wiener explains what happened next, in his book How We Forgot The Cold War.

At 9: Get 'em while they're cold: California Glaciers.  River-lover Tim Palmer, who lives in our region, goes in search of the sources of some of our major rivers, in a state where glaciers may be on the way out. 


On New Year's Eve, the Exchange crew gets ready to party.  Or to avoid parties.  We fill the time slot with re-issues of favorite interviews from the past.

At 8 today: Michael Hastings wrote a Rolling Stone article that got Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired from his job running the U.S. war in Afghanistan.  The article led to the book The Operators, and we replay our interview with Mr. Hastings.  

At 9: Psychologist Dr. Jonice Webb finds neglect in childhood nearly as damaging on abuse. 

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

It is Winter Whale Watching Week on the Oregon Coast once again... a chance to head for the shore to see signs of migrating whales passing by. 

Since we specialize in audio, we'll go beyond the whale WATCHING and move on to whale LISTENING. 

That's the work of a company called Biowaves, that records the sounds of whales and other ocean creatures for a variety of research purposes.

The last VENTSday of 2015 will be a momentous one. 

We'll ask listeners to provide their views on the top news stories of the year--near or far--and offer New Year Resolutions, for themselves or anyone else.

Want to lose weight, or want to provide resolutions for a presidential candidate or four?  Here's your chance.

VENTSday is our weekly forum for listeners--and listeners only--to sound off on topics in the news. 

Three Rivers Press

It's back to school in another key Exchange interview from the past. 

Our teacher is journalist Constance Hale, who whacks metaphorical hands with metaphorical rulers in her blog Sin and Syntax

The blog morphed into a book called Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose. 

USDA Forest Service

It's a regular rhythm of the seasons: fish return to rivers at certain times of the year.

And laws change on January 1st of nearly every year. 

2016 is no different, and laws and regulations affecting fishing take effect in Oregon when the calendar changes. 

The Native Fish Society provided a good deal of input to the new rules, favoring some and opposing others. 


Our species is pretty good at making more people.  So far, we have not found ways to create new water. 

And that mismatch is becoming a problem around the planet, a problem the organization Dig Deep refers to as "water poverty". 

Dig Deep works to ensure clean water supplies to people experiencing water poverty, some of them right here in the United States. 

Select Books

A surprising number of Americans are willing to give up a little privacy for a little security.

Do NOT count John Whitehead among them.  Whitehead is a civil libertarian and an attorney who fights--sometimes in court--for civil liberties like privacy. 

He offers his take on what he sees as a growing police state in his book Government of Wolves

Maybe the Christmas carols are gone after Christmas Day, but there's a world of music still happening. 

Including a chamber music concert in Ashland tonight (Dec. 28) featuring the violinist Ariel Horowitz

She's not even out of college yet, and already electrifying audiences with her skill and virtuosity, in front of major orchestras.