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.

Ashland Automotive

You know your car needs some work, but you're not sure the work the garage proposes to do is what it needs. 

It's not the first time someone has had doubts about the quality or veracity of automotive work.  What's your car-repair tale of woe? 

We'll share them with Zach Edwards of Ashland Automotive in our monthly "Squeaky Wheel" segment. 

Public Domain,

Medicine is a science... a body is a body, and approaches to treatment are supposed to be roughly the same from patient to patient.  But bias creeps into medicine, as in many other fields. 

Dayna Bowen Matthew, a lawyer who works in a medical school, tracks the thousands of people of color who get sub-standard medical care in America in her book Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care

And she visits Ashland for a speech on the subject tonight (November 6). 

Gregory Varnum, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Do we have to put the costumes and candy away already?  Maybe not. 

Halloween is over, but the rest of the Holiday Season looms, with many events geared to holiday crowds. 

Those certainly include arts events, from on-stage singing and dancing to shows in galleries. 

We welcome them all in our First Friday Arts segment, built entirely on listener phone calls. 

Got an event in your town?  Tell the Exchange audience about it by calling 800-838-3760. 


Stephen Most is both a published author and a documentary filmmaker. 

So it figures that at some point he'd write a book about documentaries. 

That book is Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary.

It's more than setting up a camera, he explains... it's an artistic process to portray life. 

Peter Swain, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Complete this phrase: "all work and no play..."  No matter your answer, it's clear we hold work and play as two completely separate entities. 

Creativity expert Marney Makridakis says there's some natural overlap, and there COULD be a whole lot more. 

She explains in her book HOP, SKIP, JUMP: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life

Siskiyou Mountain Club

William Sullivan is already one of the most accomplished hikers in Oregon. 

And he clearly goes back and checks on the places he hiked in the past. 

The result: a Fourth Edition of his book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Southern Oregon & Northern California.  With 18 hikes mapped out in the Eastern Siskiyou Mountains alone, this potentially represents years worth of hiking for the ambitious traveler. 


Just the TERM "climate change" produces a range of reactions.  And a range of actions, too. 

Consider the Oregon Stewardship Tour, set up by Citizens' Climate Lobby. 

The tour visits cities around Oregon's vast Second Congressional District to talk about ways to address carbon through economic means... carbon pricing and market-based solutions. 

Brian Ettling is co-founder of the Southern Oregon chapter of CCL; Jim Walls is the executive director of the Lake County Resources Initiative

Steven Larsen, CC BY 3.0,

"I did NOT mean to say that!"  Ever uttered that phrase? 

You have lots of company, and it's just possible that you're all wrong.  Psychologists can demonstrate that many things we do emerge from our unconscious minds, instead of from the turned-on conscious brain. 

Dr. John Bargh knows the unconscious mind well, and he gives us a tour in his book Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do

Can we turn our knowledge of the unconscious into more deliberate behavior?  Yes!

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. 

Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger

And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 

Oregon State University Archives

The debate over immigration into the United States occasionally gets to the issue of workers INVITED into the country from Mexico. 

Lina Cordia, a Medford librarian and local historian, lays out the facts and figures in a lecture on the program. 

It is part of the Windows in Time series of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and it's called “The Fruits of their Labors: the Bracero Program in Southern Oregon 1942-1964.”

Lina Cordia presents the program today (November 1) at noon at the library in Medford, and November 8 at noon at the Ashland library. 

Choe Kwangmo/Wikimedia

Take a look at your property tax bill and note how much money goes to local government.  And still schools and cities and counties struggle to provide services with the money that comes in--especially in counties that traditionally depended on federal timber receipts, now mostly gone. 

So counties and cities look to the private sector to take on what were public services, from libraries to mental health. 

Matt Rowe is a former mayor of Coquille, with a perspective on what leads smaller cities to consider outsourcing. 

Bruce Sorte from the Rural Studies Program at Oregon State University studies policy options that face smaller governments. 

Shahbaz Nahian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Catching some Zs.  Getting 40 Winks.  Slipping into the Arms of Morphius. 

We have many expressions for getting some sleep, but our knowledge about what we get from sleep was fairly limited, until recently. 

Now we have a better idea what benefits sleep gives to us; physically, mentally, and even creatively.  The knowledge comes from places like the sleep lab at the University of California-Berkeley, run by Matthew Walker. 

He is the author of a new book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Seven BILLION dollars.  That's not chump change, and it is what Americans spend on Halloween every year... decorations, costumes, candy, all of it. 

Sure, it's a party, but it's a party in part about scaring people. 

Why DO we like to scream, at least if it's followed by a good laugh?  That's the domain of sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr, the rare academic who is considered a "scare specialist." 

She shares the findings of some of her research with us... and psychologist David Zald from Vanderbilt University visits to talk about the biological roots of fear.


Maybe between answering the doorbell for trick or treaters and helping yourself to the candy, you wonder about the history of Halloween. 

Not the long-ago stuff, the Celtic festival of Samhain and all that... but the way in which we Americans observe October 31st. 

Historian Ben Truwe of Medford has looked at the stuff we bought and used in Halloween celebrations past, and even wrote a book about it. 

By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA - Counter-protest against Donald Trump rally, CC BY 2.0,

Remember the talk of American becoming a "post-racial society?"  It seems like a while ago now. 

Social justice activist Paul Kivel has watched with great interest as the country has twisted and turned in dealing with people of different colors and nationalities. 
He has completely updated his 1995 book, for a fourth edition of  Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice

Robert Goodwin, who hosts our segment The Keenest Observers, handles the interview. 

Dicklyon, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The images of devastation from the California Wine Country fires moved many of us.  And they moved a few of our friends and neighbors into action. 

With fire crews stretched to the breaking point, firefighters from Oregon traveled south to help with the firefighting effort. 

Kelly Burns of Ashland Fire-Rescue was among the people who made the temporary move.  He visits with details of what he did and saw, joined by firefighters Tim Hegdahl and Dave Roselip.

And we visit again with Ashley Tressel, who covered the fires for the Ukiah Daily Journal


Massive die-offs of bees in recent years convinced many people that it was time to pull back on the use of the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. 

And while there is evidence that they are being used less, studies show neonics are still showing up where bees live... at levels above what is safe for them. 

Safe for people, perhaps, but bad for bees. 

Bee expert Dr. Dewey Caron gives us the basic science, Dr. Susan Kegley at the Pesticide Research Institute talks about the poisons; John Jacob, president of the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association, gives a local view. 

Narender Sharma, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Marijuana is now officially out in the sunshine in Oregon and California, legal to grow and legal to use.  But that doesn't mean the practices that developed to make and market cannabis during the prohibition years have changed. 

Journalist Nick Johnson demonstrates how the industry continues to use old, environmentally damaging practices even though the purported reasons for them no longer exist. 

Johnson's book is Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West, from Oregon State University Press.      

Demi, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It's not quite the same thing as the "tiny house" movement, but Ashland is one city stepping into the cottage housing realm. 

As the name implies, the cottages are smaller houses clustered together, designed for more walkable urban environments. 

The high cost of land and housing in the city led to the program, at least in part.

Maybe the band name "Chumbawamba" rings a bell. 

Try the lyrics to the group's best-known song: "I get knocked down, but I get up again..."  You can take it from there. 

Danbert Nobacon (not his birth name) was a key figure in Chumbawamba, but an outspoken believer in anarchy and ecology before and since. 

He's also an author, with works including 3 Dead Princes: An Anarchist Fairy Tale.  Nobacon visits Ashland for words at the Ashland Literary Arts Festival and songs at a pair of Rogue Valley venues.