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.

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. 

Lynn Redmile

Lots of bands are built around families. 

Identical twins with woodwinds, though?  That's a different story. 

But it is the story of Peter and Will Anderson, twin brothers who play saxophone and other wind instruments. 

Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia

The Keenest Observers are often the people who stand outside a group or situation. 

So that's the name we've given to our occasional explorations of conditions and experiences of people who might be considered outside the mainstream within our region. 

Robert Goodwin returns to host The Keenest Observers, focusing on voter participation in America, and how the effects can break differently in the population, depending upon skin color and other differences.

The topic weaves the legalization of marijuana into the nuances of a simple question: "Does my vote count?"


It's hard enough to consider life in a nursing home; the prospect of other people having to take care of us is not comforting. 

And the prospect of leaving home is that much worse when it potentially includes leaving the community entirely. 

But that may loom for Humboldt County seniors, as three nursing homes make plans to close in the near future. 

Linda Stansberry has been covering the issue in the North Coast Journal

Oregon Tiger Sanctuary

Even people who don't much like cats have to be impressed with tigers. 

And that's actually a problem for the animals: they are so charismatic, they end up in stage shows or used in other ways that do not help the animals themselves. 

That's where the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary comes in.  OTS rescues big cats and other animals and brings them to the Eagle Point area. 

And not for public display, either... there are no tours at the sanctuary. 

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hurricane Matthew gave the latest reminder that nature has far more power than people do. 

But risk expert Robert Muir-Wood says disasters are only partly the fault of nature; people make decisions that make disasters worse. 

Do we HAVE to build so close to the ocean, for example?  This question and more are explored in Muir-Wood's book The Cure for Catastrophe


Southern Oregon's representation in the state legislature was already headed for a big change even before the sudden death of Sen. Alan Bates. 

Because Rep. Peter Buckley of Ashland had already announced his retirement from the House. 

Buckley had a huge impact beyond the district, as the chief budget-writer in the House. 

Pam Marsh of Ashland is the Democrat running to succeed Buckley.  Steve Richie is the Republican running (after Alan DeBoer opted to run for Senate instead). 

We had a practice a bit just to be able to say the name "Cthulhu." 

It's a character from a horror story by H.P. Lovecraft... and now the central figure in a musical!  With puppets! 

"Cthulhu: The Musical" is being presented at an Ashland tavern (Oberon's) by the wonderfully named troupe "Puppeteers For Fears." 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

The recent flaring of concern over racism in our country reminds us that bad days are not that far behind us. 

Lynchings of black men took place well into the middle of the 20th century. 

Karlos K. Hill is an expert on the history of lynching and the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory.  

Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by the state line could expand. 

The monument, created by presidential order in 2000, protects public lands in a zone where the ecosystems of the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains meet.  A proposal to expand the monument by thousands of acres is under consideration in Washington. 

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and a top official in the Interior Department will take testimony Friday afternoon in Ashland (October 14th). 

For a place with a lousy reputation, lots of people want to become members of the U.S. Senate. 

And four of them want to oust a long-entrenched Oregon incumbent to get there.  Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden is running for another six years in the November election. 

He faces challenges from Republican Mark Callahan, Libertarian Jim Lindsay, Shanti Lewallen of the Working Families Party, and former Ashland city councilor Eric Navickas, running as the Pacific Green Party candidate. 

They've all got ideas about what they'd like to do if elected. 

Washed Ashore

One person's trash is another person's treasure. 

That is proven frequently by Washed Ashore on the Oregon Coast.  The organization takes its name from the plastic and other trash that washes up on the beaches... which artist and Executive Director Angela Haseltine Pozzi turns into art representing sea creatures and scenes. 

It's a fascinating look at the beings that are threatened by human trash in the oceans. 


Most of our trash goes out of sight, out of mind in landfills. 

But plenty of the world's refuse ends up in waterways, to end up in the ocean.  And plastics in the ocean can present hazards to sea creatures and the health of creatures up the food chain. 

The organization called Algalita is dedicated to studying plastic trash and its effects at sea.