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.

Getting Confrontation Out Of Communication

Mar 27, 2015

Are you talking to me?  Imagine that phrase in Robert De Niro's voice. 

And it's a question often asked, especially in the heat of a moment when we don't LIKE the way someone is talking to us. 

Joanne Lescher deals with that situation and many like it, advocating NVC, or nonviolent communication. 

She works with couples, individuals and business throughout the region and beyond. 

Back On The Job: Unemployment Continues To Drop

Mar 26, 2015

Oregon's unemployment rate is in unfamiliar territory these days... under six percent. 

More people are employed now than at any time since the recession ended. 

The counties of Southern Oregon tend to deal with unemployment above the state average, and that trend continues. 

The Oregon Employment Department pulls in scads of facts and figures to explain the trends. 

Wikimedia/Garry Knight

Change is constant in life, but it can have a greater impact in later years. 

Aging and retirement and mortality are facts of life, but not always welcome ones. 

A program called "Age Wise Age Well," a program of the Community Volunteer Network in Jackson County, is designed to help people cope with the changes. 

AWAW provides peer counseling to people over the age of 55. 

All The Love, With Less Fat: "Soul Food Love"

Mar 26, 2015
Random House

Author and songwriter Alice Randall celebrates her heritage in her country songs, and in books like The Wind Done Gone

But there's one place she wants to make a break with history: she wants soul food to be healthier.  So Randall and her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, dove into the family recipes and re-worked them to reduce the fat (but not the flavor). 

The results are contained in Soul Food Love, part family history and part cookbook. 

In Case Of Disaster, Enhanced Mitigation Plans

Mar 25, 2015
NOAA/Public Domain

Out of the 50 states, only 12 have Enhanced State Mitigation Plans making them potentially eligible for additional federal funding in a disaster. 

Oregon and California are two of the dozen. 

So what kinds of natural hazards and disasters are covered in the plan?

The Obama Administration just announced new rules on "fracking" for oil and gas on public lands.  We want to know what you think of the rules, or at least the idea of them. 

While you're at it, tell us what you think your state's "official book" should be; some states are considering such a move. 

Those are the topics for our weekly VENTSday segment, which 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. 

Pump It Up: Oregon's Clean Fuels Debate

Mar 25, 2015

The Oregon legislature recently voted to continue the "clean fuels" program begun six years ago. 

The program requires companies selling motor fuels in Oregon to reduce carbon by 10% over the next ten years. 

The Oregon Environmental Council and other groups pushed for the passage of this year's bill, despite warnings from opponents that passage could set up fights over transportation funding. 

The Circus Comes to Town, Minus Animals

Mar 24, 2015
Acrobatic Conundrum

Don't expect elephants when the Acrobatic Conundrum takes the stage in Ashland and Klamath Falls this weekend, even though its show title contains the term "circus."

Acrobatics, theater and dance are the elements of "The Language of Chance, An Evening of Circus."

No elephants required.

Approaching Fears With "The Anxiety Toolkit"

Mar 24, 2015
Perigee Books

Go ahead and do what you want to do. No... wait!

Does the voice in your head sound something like that?

You're far from alone... many Americans deal with anxiety, and Alice Boyes has some ideas from her clinical practice.

They're contained in her book The Anxiety Toolkit.

University of Oregon

Much of the vaccination controversy centers around young children. 

Oregon health officials are concerned with an older population, and a specific one: University of Oregon students. 

The Oregon Health Authority urges UO students to get meningitis B shots during spring break (March 23-27); six people have become sick, and one of those has died. 

Welfare Reform: F for Oregon, C for California

Mar 23, 2015

The days of "welfare queens" and other derogatory terms for people receiving public assistance are supposed to be behind us. 

Congress passed welfare reform nearly 20 years ago to put some conditions on people receiving assistance. 

States continue to work to curtail poverty and provided needed services, and the Heartland Institute in Chicago gives them grades. 

Sorry Oregon, you get an F, and California gets a C. 

Loving Rivers Around The World

Mar 23, 2015

Big Muddy. Old Man River.  We give affectionate nicknames to our rivers, and those are just for the Mississippi. 

Dr. Kurt Fausch can relate to the affection; in fact his recent book is called For the Love of Rivers

Fausch is an ecologist at Colorado State University, and his book goes beyond national borders to detail how rivers and their ecosystems are intertwined. 


It surprised absolutely no one when California leaders announced drought emergency measures this week. 

Precipitation has been paltry for several years now, and the winter snowpack that would normally feed streams through the summer is virtually nonexistent. 

Groups focused on the environment, including Earthjustice, raise some issues with the official approach to drought.

The concept of "fire season" has become more fluid over the years, particularly in California. 

Unusually warm weather with little precipitation means parts of the state are prone to wildfire year-round. 

Assembly member Brian Dahle, who represents much of the North end of the state, wants to reduce fire danger and provide fuel for biomass power generation. 

That involves reducing the fuel loads in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, which involves cutting at least some trees. 

A Comprehensive History of Love Songs

Mar 20, 2015
Oxford University Press

Ted Gioia spent many years writing a trilogy of books about music. 

That's probably okay by him… after all, the history of music took eons to make. 

Gioia may have saved the best for last… an examination of love songs through the ages, appropriately called Love Songs: The Hidden History

From the misty origins to "She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah)" and beyond, it's a rich vein. 

Spring Break In The Company Of Whales

Mar 19, 2015
NOAA/Public Domain

Stand by for whale arrival.  Gray whales provide viewing opportunities in the Pacific a couple of times a year, and one of those times is coming up. 

Oregon State Parks is getting ready for Spring Whale Watching Week, March 21-28. 

The whales are on their way north to the Gulf of Alaska once again. 


The Vietnam war was a nightmare for America two generations ago. 

And it was even worse for the people who fought it, largely reviled by the American public. 

That attitude has changed… now there's a Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Day on March 30th. 

The date will be observed in  Roseburg with an event featuring the creators of "Viet Nam: An Inner View," a multimedia project of producer Lea Jones and combat veteran Mark Waszkiewicz. 

Missing Out On E-Connections (And Not Caring)

Mar 19, 2015
New Society Publishers

Christina Cook is an absolute radical, in today's terms. 

Two years ago, she cut herself off from email, data and the Internet… for a whole month! 

She's back online, but with a greater understanding of how to balance today's technology with real-world human connections. 

She shares the understanding with the rest of us in her book The Joy of Missing Out.

"Boots On The Ground" In A Good Sense

Mar 18, 2015

Many communities host "Stand Down" events for homeless veterans, and most are held late in the year, just as the weather is turning colder. 

So it is with the North Coast Stand Down, set for early October in Ferndale. 

But the organizers are getting a head start on this year's event with a "Boots on the Ground" campaign. 

It's a literal thing: the idea is to buy boots for veterans in plenty of time for the autumn event.

Not many people write letters anymore.  But the one Republican members of the Senate wrote to the leaders of Iran sure started a ruckus.  That's one of this week's VENTSday topics. 

The other: are you okay with Daylight Saving Time, or would you like to park permanently in Standard Time, with no twice-a-year clock setting? 

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.  Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.