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.

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


It gives your muscles and joints a good stretching, but yoga is about more than just body health.  It is a way for practitioners to center themselves and find calm. 

So it's only natural that people think of yoga as an aid to mental health.  In fact, there's a whole book about it, Yoga for Mental Health.

Kelly Birch of Ashland is one of the editors and the author of a chapter. 

The fires swept through and the government agencies swept in soon after to provide support for fire victims.  But rebuilding after a major fire takes quite a while. 

So groups including the Salvation Army and the Shasta Regional Community Foundation have joined forces in NorCal CRT (community recovery team), designed to provide long-term support to people who lost homes and more in the Carr and Delta fires last summer. 

Evan Nesterak, CC BY 2.0,

We've come a long way in a short time on the issue of race in America, and it's been an ugly journey.  It was a surprisingly short journey from thinking of ourselves as a "post-racial" country to the calls of "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville in 2017. 

None of this surprised the writer Vegas Tenold, because he spent years buddying up to white supremacists and their fellow travelers. 

It resulted in a book, Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America

FEMA/Public Domain

In an area as prone to wildfires as ours, we have many discussions about defensible space.  It's the practice of clearing flammable material away from a home, to keep fire from burning the house. 

And it's not just for rural dwellers; people in town can do it too.  Deschutes County's success with Project Wildfire--no houses lost to fire for 15 years--drew the attention of the New York Times. 

Similar efforts are going on in Ashland, with the FireWise program set up to defend residential areas from fire. 

Webster Young calls the Rogue Valley his home, but his work is heard all over the world.  Young is a composer of symphonic music, ballets, and operas. 

His Fifth Symphony was performed last summer in Ukraine, and the event is a subject of a documentary film coming soon to the Ashland library. 

Australian Paralympic Committee, CC BY-SA 3.0,

They dress like they're going to a KISS concert, but they're really Oakland Raider fans. 

They take their shirts off in frostbite weather.  They name their pets for their favorite athletes. 

Is this you, or someone you know?  We'll revisit our discussion about sports fans going over the top, as described in Superfans: Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom

Christmas Specials

Dec 24, 2018

The Exchange crew is off Christmas Day, offering you these replacements instead of our usual fare:
At 8: Earth Is Our Home: Living on Earth's annual holiday show is back! The program features and stories from three performers about living on Earth, sharing the planet and universal themes of the season.

The roster includes storyteller Jay O'Callahan, singer Denny Breau, and green hip-hop artist Tem Blessed. They sing, rap, and talk the need for love, good food, kindness toward all creatures and the value of imagination.

Christmas Eve on a Monday?  We happily take the day off.  But we left some goodies from previous shows for you.  
At 8: Kara Platoni explores the exciting world of technology, and how it meshes with recent discoveries in human perception (and its faults).  Her book: We Have The Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time.


The idea of buying a home with no down payment sounds too good to be true.  But such a thing does exist, particularly for veterans under the housing assistance program backed by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA. 

Statistics show the use of the loan program to buy homes has increased sharply in Oregon over the last five years. 

Veterans United Home Loans tracks the numbers. 

William Smith

Thanksgiving started things off... this time of the year, LOTS of people cook lots of things to celebrate the holidays.  Including cabbage.  That's right, cabbage, the versatile vegetable that takes on many flavors and provides some of its own. 

This month's edition of our food segment, Savor, brings back segment partner and food stylist Will Smith, and a guest, Courtland Jennings.  He is the founder and CEO of Pickled Planet, an Ashland-based maker of sauerkraut and other cabbage-based fermented foods. 


Food seems to be everywhere during the holiday season. 

Which foods do you gravitate to?  And more importantly, why?  That's the question British food writer Bee Wilson took up in a book examining how our food habits develop, from mom's breast forward. 

The book is First Bite: How We Learn to Eat

ep_jhu / Flickr

Oregon is working to reduce the misuse of opioid pain medication, like a lot of other states.  But in the eyes of one state agency, another state agency that could be helping is getting in its own way. 

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in the Oregon Health Authority was recently the focus of an audit by the Secretary of State's office.  The audit found people getting prescriptions from multiple medical providers, and getting combinations of prescriptions that can be deadly. 


It's clear that millions of people find the identification of our country as the "land of opportunity" a bit off the mark.  Because there's a huge gap in the United States between the very rich and the very poor. 

People get elected promising to close that gap, but it's still there.  Robert Friedman, an activist devoted to closing the gap, makes some suggestions in the book A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone


People may talk in ominous terms of "the government," but the government does the business of the people.  So there's a general sense that the workings of government should be open to the people. 

The reality can be a lot trickier to navigate, especially when it comes to public records.  Ginger McCall is Oregon's Public Records Advocate, just on the job since earlier this year, and her first report shows some problems with public records.  Those include a lot of confusion about the system and how it is supposed to work. 


Alan DeBoer never really planned on becoming an Oregon state senator.  But Sen. Alan Bates died suddenly in the summer of 2016, leaving a big hole and a seat to fill in a special election. 

DeBoer, the former mayor of Ashland and a wealthy car dealer, won a two-year term in the senate.  He opted not to run for a full term this year, expressing some frustrations with people and processes in the Oregon legislature. 

Gary Stevens, CC BY 2.0,

Maybe you were in an art gallery or museum and saw something that caught your eye.  And ultimately, you couldn't quite figure out what you were looking at. 

You're not alone; fine art installations range far beyond pictures on the walls and sculptures on pedestals.  They include a hole dug in the floor of a gallery and a pile of candies in silver wrappers, with art viewers invited to take a candy. 

Art critic Lance Esplund hears the frustration of people who otherwise consider themselves lovers of art.  He provides a guide in his book The Art of Looking: How to Read Modern and Contemporary Art


No one wants to reach a place in life where a guardian is appointed to make decisions on her or his behalf.  Guardianship situations arise when the law determines that people are unable to care or make decisions for themselves. 

Under guardianship, they can no longer make decisions about their care or their finances.  Disability Rights Oregon has worked with the legislature to add some safeguards to Oregon's guardianship law, but DRO still feels some further refinements are needed, and will ask for them when the legislature convenes next month.