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.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

December 1st is the rough target date for the opening of Dungeness crab season in the Pacific.  But it didn't open until mid-January this year, and may open even later next time around. 

Frustration with ocean conditions produced a lawsuit by fishing groups: they are taking fossil fuel companies to court.  The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations says the practices of the fossil fuel industry led to the ocean conditions now damaging fisheries. 


A.W. Barnes lost his brother, Mike, to suicide 25 years ago.  They had much in common, being gay brothers in a big conservative family in the Midwest. 

But their relationship was fraught, as were many in the family.  A.W.--Andrew--remembers his brother, his brother's suicide, and the aftermath in a series of essays contained in the book The Dark Eclipse: Reflections on Suicide and Absence

Maxim Kozin, CC BY-SA 4.0,

  The history of science--for that matter the history of knowledge--begins with curiousity.  It's what drives people to ask questions like "how do birds fly," and "what causes diseases?"  Vera Keller at the University of Oregon studies and teaches the history of science, and she refines her approach to the study of the history of curiosity.  Only fitting that we have this discussion with Dr. Keller in our monthly "Curious: Research Meets Radio" segment.

We want to encourage kids to be creative, but yikes, that is a big paint stain on the floor!  Although... that's not an issue if the paint is a certain kind, as in the kind made by Ashland-based Natural Earth Paint

The company's products are for kids, from the environment, and good for the environment.  And they clean up pretty well, too. 

We learn more about the company and its creation from founder Leah Fanning, in this month's edition of our business segment, The Ground Floor. 


Income inequality, environmental destruction, and the constant churn of old and new jobs in the economy produce heated arguments.  Many seek to assign blame, some seek solutions. 

Edgar Villanueva proposes looking to the original inhabitants of North America for solutions.  Villanueva, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, proposes Native America as a guide, in his book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

The book examines issues in the financial and philanthropic sectors, and suggests using a new way of thinking--actually a very OLD way--about addressing those issues. 

Pavla Pelikánová, CC BY-SA 4.0,

We're not done learning after high school, not by a long shot.  And the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute--almost universally known as just OLLI--continues to teach people who have many decades behind them. 

OLLI's programs are based on the differences between how people learn at different ages.  The OLLI program at Southern Oregon University is reaching out for potential new faculty members.

The commercial image of the Christmas season is nearly impossible to live up to.  All that smiling and singing and buying and wrapping and surprising can wear people out. 

And people often need to step back to restore mental health.  Mental health is the regular focus of "Compass Radio," our regular monthly segment with Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford. 

And this holiday season, we acknowledge the deep depression some people feel amidst all the bright lights.  The focus this month is suicide and its prevention. 

USDA/Public Domain

Only after government pressure on the tobacco industry increased did we learn how big a fight Big Tobacco put up.  The release of volumes of documents from the industry revealed how hard it worked to twist the science and influence public opinion, keeping people smoking for years. 

Anybody else use this strategy?  Yes, the food industry, says Cristin Kearns, an assistant professor in dental public health at the University of California-San Francisco.  She points to the large archive of food industry documents now housed at UCSF. 

Every election, Oregon voters must wonder what all the fuss is about in most of the other states.  Reports of having to show ID to vote, or waiting in long lines, do not sound familiar in a state where all elections have been conducted by mail for two decades. 

The Vote At Home campaign aims to make mail-in elections the norm in other states, and Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker is part of the effort.  And there's a potential bonus for Oregon voters: Walker favors pre-paid postage, negating the need for stamps on ballots. 

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright, author, professor and MacArthur genius grant recipient.

Max Ritvo was one of her students. When Max's pediatric cancer resurfaced, the two developed a deep friendship and exchanged an extraordinary series of letters in the four years before Max's death in 2016.

Their relationship comes alive in their collected letters, published in the book Letters from Max: A Book of Friendship

Casey Minter/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Southern Oregon stood to lose some clout in the state legislature when Mike McLane opted not to run again for his position as House Republican leader. 

But the loss of regional clout didn't happen because another southern Oregonian stepped up.  Rep. Carl Wilson of Grants Pass is another legislative veteran, and he will lead his party in the House in the next session. 

US Bureau of Reclamation

Plans to raise Shasta Dam by 18 feet are still on the books.  But there's a long process to go through before any construction might start, including a lawsuit filed over a creature that could be affected by an expanded Shasta Lake. 

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not acting on a 2012 petition to protect the rare Shasta salamander. 


Housing is already tight in both Oregon and California, and the Camp Fire wiped out nearly 14,000 homes in a single day.  Many decisions remain to be made about the future of Paradise, where most of the homes were lost. 

But there's a ripple effect elsewhere, as people driven out by the fire seek new places to live, either for now or for good.  We talk about the impacts with Steve Bade, who runs the Community Development office in Redding, Ryan Buras, a housing specialist at FEMA, Christina Curry at Cal OES, and Ashland realtor Colin Mullane, who is a past president of the Oregon Association of Realtors

The job title "firefighter" is self-explanatory; what it is is what they do. 

But wildland firefighters can have some questions about the tactics used on large fires.  That's the case with the group Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, or FUSEE. 

FUSEE takes exception to the firefighting methods used in some environmentally sensitive areas, including on the Soberanes Fire in Southern California in 2016.  That fire alone cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars to fight, and included multiple retardant drops from planes, to little effect. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archive

Just because trees grew here once doesn't mean they'll grow back just like they were before.  Forests can be tricky things to create, and it takes more than just planting a lot of trees. 

Darwin Moore knows that from years of experience.  He's this month's guest in our regular segment "Stories of Southern Oregon," curated by Maureen Flanagan Battistella. 

Darwin's days with the Forest Service included leading the crew that successfully replanted the notoriously difficult Cat Hill Burn near Butte Falls. 

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cohen, Public Domain,

17 years and counting.  That's how long the United States has maintained a military presence in the frequently hot war in Afghanistan. 

Women serve over there as well as men, but the women's teams have performed some duties men could not, like having conversations with Muslim women in the countryside. 

In the book Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan, we hear the stories of women performing delicate and dangerous duty far from home. 


The U.S. Forest Service rounded up hundreds of wild horses in the Modoc National Forest back in October.  Too many horses and too few resources for them, says the agency.  It plans to sell the horses, with older (10 and up) animals going for as little as a dollar apiece.  It's the lack of apparent restrictions that worries groups like American Wild Horse Campaign.  The group and others believe the horses could be slaughtered.  So they recently went to court to stop the sale. 


Conventional wisdom for years was that baby formula, not mother's milk, was best for kids. But that approach, promoted by the companies who manufactured baby formula, has now been thoroughly discredited. Women are now striving to breastfeed their babies, but it's not always possible. In her book Others' Milk, Kristin Wilson offers anecdotes about the challenges women face to give children the very best nutrition, often in the face of dogmatic opposition.

Youtube/Camelot Theatre

Hallelujah, it's the final month of 2018!  And as in any December, there is a veritable blizzard of arts events to take in, from Christmas concerts to gallery openings. 

We welcome any and all of them to our monthly First Friday Arts segment. 

It's a potluck... we spread the word among arts organizations that they can call 800-838-3760 and publicize their events free of charge and no strings attached. 

The charms of our region mean people who might otherwise live in bigger cities settle in the hills and valleys around us. 

Including a number of published authors with names and works instantly recognizable to the public. 

These are celebrated at the Read Local, Buy Local Author Fair, coming to the Ashland Library on Sunday (December 9).