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 Parks Foundation

Ashland would have been a very different kind of place if that mill had stayed on the creek in the heart of downtown. 

Instead, the mill came down and the city developed Lithia Park, a green jewel curving up the canyon. 

Longtime journalist John Enders helps the Ashland Parks Foundation celebrate its centennial with a book about the park; Lithia Park: The Heart and Soul of Ashland

Enders' great-grandfather served on the first Parks Commission a century ago.

Paula Poundstone creates prodigious amounts of comic material for her stage act.  And then doesn't use all of it. 

Because she works the crowd and makes up material on the fly. 

Poundstone is a prolific creator and performer and Exchange guest, making her third appearance here in a half-dozen years. 

Amanda Peacher/OPB

Early white visitors to the American West were impressed by its bounty: natural beauty and riches that seemed to stretch to the horizon. 

But the resources could be exhausted, and in some cases were. 

Weber State University professor Sara Dant writes of the progression through the years in her book Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West

The timeline stretches thousands of years, from the migration across the Bering land bridge to the present day. 


The only thing certain about the race for Jackson County Commissioner Position #2 is that it will result in a new commissioner. 

Incumbent Doug Breidenthal went down to defeat in the Republican primary in May. 

Former Medford City Councilor Bob Strosser won the primary and now faces Democrat Jeff Thomas in the November election. 

Thomas is currently a member of the Medford School District board. 

Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic

David Cothran spends so much time in cold water, he may be an honorary penguin by now. 

Cothran is a scientist and photographer and ocean explorer who leads tours of remote and fascinating parts of the world for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

Many of his trips involve diving, with cameras, into Arctic and Antarctic waters.  When trip is done, he returns to his home here in the Siskiyou Mountains. 

João Felipe C.S./Public Domain

Working a farm is a very different business from 100 years ago. 

Farms are bigger and numbers of farmers smaller, due in large part to mechanization.  And in this age of local food and farm-to-fork events, more people seem to be paying attention to what happens on farms. 

The documentary film "Gaining Ground" explores some recent trends, with a focus on farming in inner-city California and rural Oregon.  The film visits Ashland on Tuesday (October 25). 

Corey Coyle/Wikimedia

A recent report from Oregon State University outlines some of the issues facing farming and farmers in Oregon. 

For one thing, many aging farmers are retiring.  And land costs are stopping some would-be farmers from getting into the business. 

Rogue Farm Corps is already at work on these and similar issues; in fact, the Corps co-wrote the report with OSU. 

Wikimedia/Public Domain

"You should see a doctor," people say when you're having health issues. 

That phrase has taken on new dimensions in the age of almost-universal health insurance.  It's the "almost" part that troubles some people; they want to see health care coverage for all. 

Count Health Care For All Oregon in that group.  HCAO endorses a local measure on the ballot in Ashland (Measure 15-154) which calls on voters to pressure the legislature for an improved health care system. 


You can complain about the weather, but you can't do anything about it. 

But in the minds of some people, the weather is changed by planes flying across the sky, spewing chemicals in "chemtrails."  To most of the population, they're just contrails. 

That's the way Paul Ruscher sees them; he's the Dean of Science at Lane Community College.  And he'll be debunking "chemtrails" in a talk at LCC on Wednesday (October 26). 


The world can seem like a troubled place right now. 

And Michael Meade not only acknowledges that feeling, but knows of times in the past when the world seemed troubled. 

Meade is a scholar of mythology, anthropology, and sociology, and he visits Southern Oregon University tonight (October 21st).  He says the adversity in the world can trigger a time of renewal. 

Shasta Community Access Channel

"The winners write the history books," goes the old saying. 

And it's a saying that has particularly grim implications right here in our country.  Because white settlers ultimately won the war with Native Americans. 

The situation is explored in a play called "Undamming History," to be presented at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.  It's a collaboration between the Shasta Historical Society and four tribes in the area, presented as part of Indigenous Peoples' History Day. 

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

Two things any business getting started needs: money and expertise. 

So it helps when the expertise can be obtained for little money.  Or none, as happens at the weekend (October 22nd) Business Resource Forum scheduled for Medford. 

The Small Business Development Center at Southern Oregon University is among the entities putting the forum together. 

JPR News

It's not just for catching up with old high school classmates: many people get news from social media. 

That should not be a huge surprise, as Americans have migrated to the web for their primary news sources. 

But going to Facebook is not the same as going to this and other news sites.  In fact, Nicole Dahmen at the University of Oregon says there are some dangers in getting your news just through social media. 

Public Domain

Gray wolves can't seem to stay out of the news in Oregon, and with good reason: they are growing in number. 

The effects are not always welcome: the Rogue Pack, OR-7's pack, gets the blame for recent livestock attacks in the region. 

Wolf biologist Richard Thiel has studied wolf recovery in other parts of the country; Beckie Elgin advocates for wolf recovery closer to home. 


Maybe you never heard of the 1950s musical duo Tom and Jerry (you mean, like the cat and mouse?). 

They gained much more fame using their own names: Simon and Garfunkel. 

Paul Simon's presence in, and influence on, the music scene is explored in Peter Ames Carlin's new book Homeward Bound

The examination goes beyond music, to the use of Simon's music as a soundtrack for generations of Americans. 

JPR News

Sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment are topics we need to talk about... but are frequently reluctant to discuss openly.  Ashland High School student Bella Head wants her fellow students to talk about them. 

Bella is a sexual assault survivor herself, and the founder of a sexual assault education campaign at AHS, "Got Consent?" 

Her efforts in Ashland mirror those of city police and Southern Oregon University, which are gaining national recognition for their sexual assault response programs. 

Rather than argue about WHY we're discussing sexual assault right now, let us discuss the issue itself.  Because it clearly hits some people hard. 

Many more people will admit privately to sexual assault than ever reported them legally.  And we invite listeners to share their experiences in being affected by sexual assault or its reporting. 

VENTSday seeks YOUR thoughts, through our survey (below); by phone at 800-838-3760 live (or 541-552-6331 in advance); by email at

ANPF Facebook page

It's not as famous as Ashland's BIG theatre festival, but the Ashland New Plays Festival is plenty influential. 

Playwrights from across the country submit plays to be read by experienced actors, and just four plays are chosen for performance. 

Beth Kander is back for a second straight year with a new play called "Hazardous Materials." 


For a guy who's been dead for 400 years plus, we sure talk about Shakespeare a lot.  What can you say: he's still got it. 

Part of Shakespeare scholarship is interpreting his works, and interpreting EARLIER interpretations.  A number of Shakespeare's works were re-written in the 17th and 18th centuries, to "improve" them for the audiences of the day. 

Shakespeare aficionado Geoff Ridden stages examples of the latter-day re-writes at Camelot Theatre in Talent today (October 19th). 

Chris Phan/Wikimedia Commons

Some states beat Oregon to the punch with "early voting," but Oregon still stands as a pioneer, the first state to do all voting by mail. 

But you still have to register to vote, and the registration deadline is TODAY (October 18th; October 24th in California). 

Oregon will get a new secretary of state with this election, as appointee Jeanne Atkins is not running.  But she has been touring the state visiting with all 36 elections offices.