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.

The sweet voice coming out of the radio implored us to "send your camel to bed." 

That was Maria Muldaur, in her smash hit of 1974, "Midnight at the Oasis." 

Muldaur is still singing that song and many others, and brings her show to Mt. Shasta (Friday April 24th) and Ashland (Saturday) later this week. 

Redding's Firereel Film Festival

Apr 21, 2015
Firereel Film Festival

When you're a younger film festival, you start a little smaller. 

So the Firereel Film Festival in Redding shows short films exclusively, May 1st and 2nd. 

But there are 30 of those films to watch, along with filmmaking workshops and other events to attend. 

Shakespeare Comes Alive (In A Sense)

Apr 21, 2015

For a guy who died nearly 400 years ago, William Shakespeare has some serious staying power. 

Southern Oregon University just expanded its Shakespeare focus with the creation of the ShakespeareAmerica Institute. 

Now that institute and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival are joining forces for a symposium called "Much Ado About Shakespeare In Contemporary America," coming May 2nd. 

Assessing Tsunami Readiness--And Finding Issues

Apr 20, 2015

When--not if--the Cascadia subduction zone in our region produces an earthquake, it will likely also produce a tsunami. 

And a recent report indicates varying degrees of evacuation readiness in coastal communities. 

Dr. Nathan Wood at the U.S. Geological Survey is the lead author of the report. 

Putting Distance Between Kids And Toxics

Apr 20, 2015

The sale of lead-based paint ended nearly four decades ago in America. 

Until that time, there were great concerns--justified--about children eating paint chips and suffering the effects of lead poisoning. 

Concerns remain about other products that could expose children to toxic substances. 

And the Oregon Environmental Council is concerned enough to back a bill in the legislature clamping down on such products. 

Not Just Good: The Best Of The Best In Art

Apr 17, 2015

The art students descending on Medford's Rogue Gallery today (April 17th) aren't just good.  They are the best of the best. 

Which is what gives the title to the 30th annual Best of the Best Student Art Show

Students from 15 high schools across Southern Oregon not only get a chance to see their art works displayed together, they get their works judged by professional artists. 

Beekeeping For Beginners

Apr 17, 2015

So many people are interested in beekeeping right now, the next beginner class at the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association sold out. 

The word is spreading about just how important bees are to the pollination of many plants, including many we depend upon for food. 

So we'll present something of a mini-class for beginners. 


The moon will be new this weekend, AND the skies will be mostly clear, a great chance to view the stars. 

Unless you live in town, with lots of artificial lighting around. 

We've made it much harder to seek the night sky over the years. 

Paul Bogard certainly noticed... he joined us a couple of years ago to talk about his book The End of Night

Twisting The "Short Bus" Into A Positive

Apr 16, 2015

Jonathan Mooney took a derogatory term and turned it on its head.

He rode "the short bus" to school once he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (LD/ADHD).

After his graduation from an Ivy League university, he took a real short bus on the road, meeting people who defied the constraints of "normal."

Mooney is part of a conference on "reframing" LD/ADHD next week in Medford.

The Health Care System As Hoax

Apr 16, 2015
Health Communications, Inc.

Raymond Francis caught a couple of colds. And that's about it, in the last 26 years.

He is generally quite healthy now, a far cry from how he once felt.

Medical science gave up on him years ago, and he gave up on modern medicine in return.

Francis lists the reasons in his book The Great American Health Hoax.

Teachers And Technology At Ed Tech Summit

Apr 15, 2015
Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

In theory, the process of learning is usually the same: teachers teach, and students learn. 

But then throw technology into the mix, and all bets are off, especially in a world where so many people carry powerful computers in their hands. 

The Ed Tech Summit this week (Friday, April 17th) at Southern Oregon University brings educators and gadgets together, so the former can get up to speed on the latter. 

April 15th is here, and with it our annual deadline for filing income tax returns.  How would you like your federal or state income taxes spent?  That's one topic of VENTSday this week. 

The other: "sit-lie" ordinances, that make it illegal for homeless (or any other) people to block sidewalks by sitting or lying down. 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center. We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics.

After The Summer Of Love: "Days Of Rage"

Apr 15, 2015
Penguin Books

It only takes the finding of a "suspicious device" to clear a public building these days, at least until a police bomb squad can take a look at it. 

Bomb squads were far busier in the late 1960s and early 70s, the time that provides the title for Bryan Burrough's book, Days of Rage.  And they responded to more than threats: many actual real bombings, nearly one a week at the peak.

Burrough takes a new look at those days, with fresh interviews with members of the radical groups that wanted to change America--violently. 

Springing Into Gardening With The Masters

Apr 14, 2015

An early spring around much of the region might have caught some gardeners unprepared. 

Flowers bloomed weeks earlier than usual, before the weather snapped back to something like seasonal norms. 

These are the situations in which Master Gardeners get to use the benefits of their training. 

The Jackson County Master Gardeners are just about to graduate this year's class. 

Assessing Housing Needs In Oregon

Apr 14, 2015

It is one of the simplest wishes for any human: a roof over our heads, a place to call home. 

Simple wish, not always simply fulfilled. 

April is Fair Housing Month across the country, and Oregon Housing and Community Services is taking input on housing needs around the state. 

This is part of a five-year look at housing issues. 

NIH/Public Domain

It's been pointed out by many critics of the American health care system that it is largely about "disaster care"... treating illness when it becomes acute. 

The other approach would be to take care of issues earlier, performing preventive maintenance. 

Ashland's Rick Kirschner trained as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND rather than MD), and he's examined the history of American medicine. 

He says what is practiced now is "sick care," not health care. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

"Threatened" status may not be enough for the Northern Spotted Owl. 

The old-growth forest dweller continues to decline in number, and that could lead to its reclassification as "endangered." 

EPIC, the Environmental Protection Information Center based in Arcata, petitioned to reclassify the owl nearly three years ago. 

Now the federal Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a review to see if the move is warranted. 

Still Riding Championship Wave

Apr 13, 2015

The glow of a national championship in college football is lasting a while for the Southern Oregon University Raiders. 

They won the NAIA small-college trophy in December, but their championship rings just arrived. 

And the Oregon legislature is considering a resolution to honor the team. 

The football success appears to be having an effect in other areas of SOU campus life, too. 

Inside The Embattled Forest Service

Apr 13, 2015
OSU Press

Did anybody LIKE the U.S. Forest Service around 1990? 

It was constantly in the middle of battles over proper forest management, the timber industry demanding more logs on one hand and conservationists urging more protection on the other. 

Jim Furnish was more than halfway through a long career with the Forest Service then. 

In Toward a Natural Forest, he details the pressures and pleasures of life within one of the most visible and controversial government agencies. 

Getting Even Fire Wiser In Ashland

Apr 10, 2015

Ashland, built on forested hills, has always been especially vulnerable to wildfire.

11 homes were lost in the Oak Knoll fire of five years ago, and firefighters are determined to minimize the risk of a future such fire.

So several sections of town have been designated "Firewise" communities.

More than in any other city in the country, we're told.