Geoffrey Riley

Jefferson Exchange Host | Producer

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson more than 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.

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.

University of Oregon

There are still people who spend their summers on mountaintop perches, scanning the horizon for wildfires.  But lookouts staffed by live humans have largely been replaced with remote cameras. 

And networks of cameras are being combined into a system called ALERTWildfire, a joint project of the University of Oregon and several other schools and agencies.  It bears some resemblance to the ShakeAlert system for earthquake early warnings. 

And the two programs share some people, including Leland O'Driscoll at UO. 

Nigel Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Henry David Thoreau was not the only writer to head for solitude in the woods.  Karen Auvinen, an award-winning poet, took a leave from people to immerse herself in her writing. 

The situation changed completely when a fire consumed nearly everything she owned, including much of her writing.  She tells the story in her memoir Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living


If you want to learn how to take a race car around a track at screaming fast speeds, Ben Collins would be a great choice for a teacher.  But he wants people to be safe in regular cars on regular roads. 

Collins, a race driver and for seven years the mystery man "The Stig" on BBC's "Top Gear," shared his thoughts on everyday driving in the book How To Drive

What Collins learned--sometimes the hard way--about the physics of cars in motion is useful information even on trips to the local store. 

Marina Burity/Wikimedia

Avista Utilities workers are slowly restoring gas service to thousands of customers who lost gas service in Ashland on Tuesday (March 19th)., CC BY 4.0,

Freak out your loved ones: tell them you want to change your career to comedy. 

Laughing is fun, but it takes work to produce laughs, and often little money for the work.  But Joe Randazzo made it, and then offered advice to people who want to be, in the words of his book title, Funny on Purpose

Randazzo worked as the editor of The Onion, among other gigs.  He joined us in June 2015 with advice on making people laugh all the way to your bank. 

SSgt Alesia Goosic/U.S. Navy/Public Domain,

We go to the doctor because we want to know what's wrong with us, and get it fixed.  The doctor can usually figure it out... unless she can't. 

MDs and other medical pros are humans, not gods.  And the difficulty of figuring out what's what is exemplified by the title of Dr. Steven Hatch's book: Snowball in a Blizzard

He teaches at a medical school and urges doctors to admit that they are stumped, if and when they are. 

OSU Press

"For heaven's sake, don't come here to live" may be the enduring quote of the governorship of Oregon's Tom McCall.  But the 60s, 70s, and early 80s were about setting an Oregon-style environmental ethic that other states moved to emulate. 

McCall was the governor for much of that time, but there were also notable accomplishments when McCall rival Bob Straub took over the office. 

Floyd McKay covered the state capitol during that period, and he shared his perspective in the book Reporting the Oregon Story: How Activists and Visionaries Transformed a State

Klamath Lake Land Trust

It's not fair to say the Klamath Lake Land Trust is twice as committed to its mission as it used to be.  But it is now protecting and restoring twice as much land, after the purchase of 785 acres in the Sycan Valley. 

The plan is to preserve the land as wilderness and a wildife corridor, though there may be public uses. 

Library of Congress

Even in an age of heated rhetoric, there are terms most people simply don't use anymore. 

But even the U.S. Supreme Court once subscribed to a scale of intellectual impairment that included terms like "moron," "idiot," and "imbecile."  In fact, the court once backed the state of Virginia's decision to sterilize a young woman. 

Lawyer and writer Adam Cohen wrote about the case in his book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck


Roughly 35,000 people get organ transplants every year in the United States.  Which sounds like a big number, until you look at the one next to it: 115,000 people waiting for transplants. 

Experts say the first number could be bigger and the second number smaller, if a few changes were made to the acceptance of organ donations.  The group called Organize is taking big steps in this area. 

John Staggart,, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Frustration with recycling remains elevated in the region.  China's decision to stop taking most American recyclables changed what some recyclers will accept at the curb. 

But the recycling spirit remains strong and committed.  Witness Klamath Works, which got a materials management grant from Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality to aid in its work recycling mattresses. 

Claudio Giovenzana/ via Wikimedia

Our fascination with turtles almost makes them something like honorary mammals.  They may not be cute and fuzzy like mammals, but they certainly have their appeal. 

That appeal extends to the dinner table, though, and that's one of the reasons turtles are having an increasingly hard time surviving in the world today. 

Peter Laufer, longtime journalist and teacher (at U of Oregon), looks at the fascination and the peril we bring to turtles large and small, in a book called Dreaming in Turtle

Josh Gross's love of music is infectious.  So infectious, we ask him to share it with us once a month on a segment we call Rogue Sounds. 

Josh scans the lists of musical acts coming to the region, and gives us a list of five to consider.  This month: Roseanne Cash, The Shifts, Wild Moccasins, Katchafire, and Church Girls. 

Jes Burns / EarthFix

The plans for a liquified natural gas (LNG) export at Jordan Cove on Coos Bay come before the public again soon. 

Jordan Cove has to secure a number of permits before any building takes place.  The latest permit process includes public hearings planned in the region starting January 7th in Klamath Falls, January 8th in Central Point. 

Rogue Climate and other groups in opposition are working to get people to the hearings. 

Jes Burns/OPB EarthFix

The would-be builders of the LNG plant in Coos County have mounted an advertising blitz in recent months.  Advertisements and mailings have been common since before the election. 

Jordan Cove still has to win over some people before it can build its plant or the long pipeline to it. 


The title The Invisible Reich and the swastika on the cover might give you the wrong idea about Kenneth Pazder's book.  It is fiction, and it is not about Nazis now or in the past. 

The focus of the novel is actually the treatment of animals by humans... the author says 30,000,000 animals are killed every day, in North America alone. 


We take advantage of the New Year's Day holiday, offering up items from Exchanges past.  
At 8: Agnes Baker Pilgrim, Takelma tribal elder, has stories to tell of her life and the direction the world should be moving.  She tells them in her book Grandma Says: Wake Up, World! 
At 9: breastfeeding and society.  We go back and forth on this one, and at the moment, a big majority favors breastfeeding.  But Courtney Jung finds a dark side to the pro-breastfeeding movement, in her book Lactivism

Benjamin Esham/Wikimedia

New Year's Eve finds the Exchange crew prepping for a whole new set of days.  We cue up interviews from days past to round out the year.  
At 8: Physician and author Gavin Francis writes of the land he knows best: the body.  He gives us a tour, from stem to stern, in Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum
At 9: stepping back for a better look.  That's what economist and social scientist John Miller recommends, in A Crude Look at the Whole

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The days are short, dark, and cold right now.  Why NOT head south for a while, especially if you can get there under your own power?  That question is for whales, not people. 

But people can enjoy the sight of whales heading for warmer waters, right now on the coast of our region.  Oregon State Parks celebrates Winter Whale Watch right now. 


Nearly 60 years after her death, we still can't seem to get enough of Billie Holiday.  She was a one-of-a-kind singer and performer, influenced by many factors, religion among them. 

It is that context that Tracy Fessenden explored in the book Religion Around Billie Holiday