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.


Angel Island in San Francisco Bay served as something like a West Coast version of Ellis Island: an entry port for immigrants. 

Its past is also a shade darker, as the Island also played a part in excluding some people from immigration. 

The state of California just allocated money to finish the restoration of the immigration station.  It's a thrill to the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, which worked for the restoration and continues to collect the stories of immigrant families in its "Immigrant Voices" project.

Cheryl Strayed's famous book "Wild" was almost a how-NOT-to-survive-wilderness book.

Ruby McConnell aims to flip the script and give women useful information on striking out on their own. 

McConnell's book is A Woman's Guide to the Wild.  It is an extension of her blog "Girl Gone Wild." 

Wojtek Bijok/Wikimedia

It's not Austin, but our region is home to a number of venues for hearing live music. 

Josh Gross has visited many of them by now. 

Josh is the music editor for the Rogue Valley Messenger, so he pays great attention to the live music scene. 

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The story that began in the dead of winter enters a new phase as summer draws to a close. 

Jury selection begins Wednesday (September 7th) in the trial of several of the defendants in the armed takeover of Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

Ryan and Ammon Bundy are among the people being tried on multiple charges; the trial is expected to take weeks, if not months. 

Conrad Wilson from Oregon Public Broadcasting is one of two pool reporters assured of a seat in the courtroom. 


If you're itching to vote AND concerned about schools, November's ballot is for you.  Both our states vote on three statewide school issues (95, 98, 99 in Oregon/51, 55, 58 in California), plus a smattering of local measures. 

So we devote this week's VENTSday to school election issues generally.  VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange.

Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a topic on the table, post a survey on our Facebook page (and below), and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

Got an observation or opinion? Share it with the State of Jefferson on VENTSday. Join by phone at 800-838-3760, email, or take the survey online. You can ALSO record a phone message in advance, at 541-552-6331.

Richard Wood/Wikimedia

Taking a good long hike can send your mind in a lot of different directions. 

On one long hike, Robert Moor focused on the ground beneath him.  Specifically, the trail he was hiking. 

Every pathway has a story, and he got interested in finding out some of the stories.  He compiles his explorations in a book titled simply On Trails, which covers several continents and trails, ranging from the miniscule to the massive. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

One of the most important considerations when obtaining food is simple: can we obtain it again in the near future?  If the answer is no, then the food source is probably not sustainable. 

Obtaining sustainable seafood is of particular interest at the moment, when some fishing stocks have collapsed from overfishing. 

We bring in guests with experience in providing sustainable seafood, from near and not-so-near.  Aaron Longton presides over the board at Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) and manages Port Orford Sustainable Seafood.  Camilla Lombard and husband Kirk co-founded and manage Sea Forager in San Francisco.

You only have to hear Paul Robeson sing "Ol' Man River" once to have it stamped on your brain forever.

There's simply nothing like it, and nothing like the talent-filled and turbulent life of the late actor and singer. 

Tayo Aluko created a one-man stage play, "Call Mr. Robeson," which he has performed on several continents and brings to Ashland this week (September 8-11). 


The Exchange crew does what many other people do on Labor Day: not work.  So we cued up recordings of some favorites from the past.

At 8: Kevin Smokler takes us back to school to pick up the books we SHOULD have read.  His book is Practical Classics, a look back at 50 major books and their lingering influence on the world.  

At 9: a quiet moment in a laboratory turns into an earth-shaking discovery, leading to a drug for one particular kind of cancer.  Jessica Wapner wrote The Philadelphia Chromosome

Umpqua Valley Arts

Any Friday is something of an event. First Friday is a slightly bigger deal in the arts world, as several communities in our region observe First Friday Art Walks.

The Exchange goes with the flow, with our monthly First Friday Arts segment.  We open the phone lines (800-838-3760) and invite arts organizations from throughout the listening area to call in with details of arts events in the coming weeks... from fine art to open mike nights, all arts events are fair game. 

If you're just not available to be on the phone at show time (8:10-8:30 AM), RECORD your message in advance at our voicemail box: 541-552-6331.  Messages delivered after 4:30 PM on Thursday might not make it to air.

Some days it seems like you can't take a few steps without running into someone with an acoustic guitar.  Folk music peaked in the 1960s, but it's certainly resurgent today. 

Dan Sherrill and Jacqui Aubert are doing their part, touring as the musical duo Hollis Peach (sometimes with additional players). 

They play Contemporary Indie & Psych Folk, Americana, and Gospel.  Psych Folk? 

Hollis Peach continues a regional tour from their Ashland base, including playing the Britt Festivals on September 23. 


A lot of what we know about the world got locked up a long time ago. What if we're just plain wrong?

The NPR podcast "Invisibilia" explores the forces that shape our world and influence our behavior. We give the second hour of the Exchange time slot over to "Invisibilia" for this and the next two Fridays. Enjoy the stories and the science that make the show unique. 

This week: Psychology has a golden rule: If I am friendly, usually you are friendly back. If I am hostile, you are too. But what happens if you flip the script and meet hostility with warmth? 


It's not just the natural beauty that makes our region what it is.  We've also got a wonderful collection of population centers scattered across the landscape. 

Southern Oregon Public Television--SOPTV--embarks on a project to tell the stories of these communities in its "Our Town" project. 

The first episode, September 6th at 8 PM, focuses on Gold Hill, the small city on the Rogue River northwest of Medford. 

The story is told through the pictures and words of the residents, in this and future installments of "Our Town."

Pull up a chair, and maybe a guitar. 

Our guests certainly will, as we enjoy Texas twang, courtesy of Travis Champ and Longriver, aka David Longoria.

Travis has played with the Cedar Shakes, David with The Black.

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Want to start a debate?  Mention the word "vaccine" in a room full of parents. 

Arguments rage these days about when and even whether to vaccinate children against dangerous diseases.  Oregon is high on the list of states with un-vaccinated children. 

Portland pediatrician Paul Thomas lays out a plan for getting vaccines, but more slowly than medical providers usually advocate.  He and co-author (and JPR contributor) Jennifer Margulis detail the approach in The Vaccine-Friendly Plan

Deviant Art/Wikimedia

The November election season figured to be anything but dull, but Oregon offers a few extra bits of excitement. 

The vote on Ballot Measure 97 is already heating up... Oregon voters will decide on a tax on business income, one that could boost state government revenue substantially. 

Which thrills people who want more money spent on schools and other programs (Yes on 97), but leaves many members of the business community cold (No on 97). 

We begin our examination of issues and candidates in the November election with a roundtable on 97. 

Our first VENTSday of the November election season features Oregon Measure 97--a revenue boost to supporters, a tax on sales to opponents. 

Time for your take... VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a topic on the table, post a survey (see below), and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

Got an observation or opinion? Share it with the State of Jefferson on VENTSday. Join by phone at 800-838-3760, email, or take the survey online. 

Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Nadia Lopez wanted to help kids in tough areas learn. 

And she went all-in, starting an entire middle school in one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City. 

She tells the story of her efforts as principal in her book The Bridge to Brilliance

The school has motivated students to work hard and even show up when school is not in session. 

We hear the keys to its success when Nadia Lopez visits The Exchange. 

M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia

Oregon's last big legislative session--a year ago--was supposed to produce a major transportation bill.  It didn't. 

Now it falls on the next session, in early 2017, to pull together a package of transportation improvements and enhancements. 

So legislative leaders sent the Joint Transportation Committee on Preservation and Modernization on a road trip, collecting information from all over the state. 

Medford gets a committee meeting on Wednesday evening at the main library. 

In a world full of conflict, is it even possible to find peace?  Yes. 

Not every corner of the world is involved in conflict; the trick is expanding the zones that are peaceful. 

Scott Brown, psychologist, life coach, mediator, and mentor, shares his approach in his book Active Peace: A Mindful Path to a Nonviolent World