Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

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. 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.


Mark Leibovich's normal beat for the New York Times Magazine is Washington, DC and presidential politics. But for the last four years he's also been shadowing the NFL, publishing profiles of the game's more controversial figures, like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Leibovich says we've hit "peak football," and he sees the NFL's decline in the past few years as a metaphor for the country's political and cultural anxiety. His book is Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times


Ah, the balance of September.  A little summer, a little fall, the days roughly equal in length to the nights, the temperatures (usually) not too extreme. 

Sounds like a great month for arts activities, and there will be plenty to enjoy. 

Our First Friday Arts segment showcases them, with the help of many phone calls.  We invite arts groups from around the region to call 800-838-3760 live in the morning to plug arts events for the coming weeks. 

Public Domain, Wikimedia

Tim Holt usually makes stage appearances with a musical instrument, as in his tribute to the songs of Pete Seeger.  But this time around, Tim finds music in the words themselves. 

He celebrates the poetry of Walt Whitman with a work he wrote himself, "Walking With Walt."  The play is about a man inspired by Whitman's poetry to walk the country. 

Tim Holt walks to a phone to tell us about putting the work onstage at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, this weekend and next.

Wellcome Images

You see two vertical spirals side-by-side, and you think "oh, DNA."  That double helix shape is THAT recognizable in our society.  Today. 

But it took a lot of hard work from quite a few scientists to reach the discoveries that led to that knowledge. 

Matthew Cobb lays out the story in his book Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code


Number one and still champion: Southern Oregon University tops the list of Bee Campuses across the country.  Which makes sense, because SOU was the first school so identified, adopting the methods of the Bee City USA program. 

The Sierra Club recently put out its list of pollinator-friendly campuses, and there was SOU, atop the list again.  Several departments and many people contributed to the effort. 

Jacob Frank\National Park Service

You don't have to be an astronomer, professional or amateur, to appreciate the night sky.  It's just pretty to look at, especially when there's less interference from artificial light. 

Dark sky aficionados work to convince people that we don't need to put THAT much light on at night; we can still have security without blotting out the night sky. 

Count the people of Southern Oregon Skywatchers and Lights Out Bend among those who prefer dark skies full of stars. 


Jesus loves you, Christians often say.  But the nature of the love of his followers for each other is very much up for debate. 

Linda Kay Klein grew up in an evangelical Christian family in which young women were taught to hide their sexuality, especially from their male contemporaries.  Klein believed that her "purity" was so important that she took multiple pregnancy tests--before she ever had sex. 

She relates tales of shame and fear, and eventual awareness, in her book Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free


Rogue Sounds are not necessarily sounds that come from rogue bands.  It's just that they are coming to play in or near the Rogue Valley that they come to the attention of Josh Gross

He is himself a musician, a lover of music, and a writer of music (and theater, but that's another story). 

Once a month Josh picks a short list of bands coming to town, chooses representative samples of their music, and joins us on the air to talk about them.  Voila: Rogue Sounds.

Teenagers may be the people feeling the most angst, but they are not the people committing the most suicides in the United States. 

Much older Americans are the ones ending their lives, and Oregon ranks in the top ten states for suicide deaths.  Older white males are most prone to suicide in Oregon. 

Sean Connolly is a behavioral health specialist with Senior & Disability Services at the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG). 


Sea levels are rising with global warming, and it should surprise no one to hear that the situation may increase tsunami risk

A study involving researchers from several countries looked at how much tsunami risk might increase as low-lying areas get even lower relative to sea level. 

The study focused on Macau, a Chinese territory, but it could potentially have implications for many low-lying coastal areas. 

Picture of a drought affected landscape

There is much that is wonderful about living in the West.  Lack of humidity, for example. 

But that's an indicator of a basic fact of life: there's not much precipitation in this part of the country, at least south of Eugene, and so not much water for all the people and nature. 

Marc Reisner covered the topic in  great depth in his monumental work Cadillac Desert, first published in 1986.  He covered the history: dams and diversions, rivers and reclamation, and the underlying issue: too much demand for too little water. 

Drought has only made the book truer over time.  Lawrie Mott, Reisner's widow, is a scientist and the writer of additional material for later editions of the book. 

Much has been said about the big deficit in Oregon's public pension program, PERS. 

Now Stacy Bannerman has something new to say about it: PERS should get any of its investments out of companies that make weapons of war.  Bannerman, the head of Women's EcoPeace, brought her group and others into a coalition, calling upon state leaders to "divest PERS from the war machine." 

Josh Estey/AusAID

24 years ago, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure requiring all prison inmates to work full-time.  The ballot measure, which became part of the state constitution, spelled out that compensation for the work was not required. 

That arrangement and others like it are among the reasons that inmates across the country are on strike, and plan to stay on strike until September 9th. 

The actions inside prisons are being supported by demonstrations on the outside. 

Scott Sanchez/Wikimedia

One of the oft-expressed concerns about illegal immigration is that it leads to more crime. 

But study after study, by groups both left and right, shows that illegal immigrants actually commit crimes at rates lower than the general population. 

Benjamin Gonzalez O'Brien explores the numbers, the issues, and the efforts to address them in his book Handcuffs and Chain Link: Criminalizing the Undocumented in America

Public Domain, Wikimedia

Labor Day is supposed to be about celebrating the working people of America, in part by giving them the day off.  We jumped in with all of our feet, and grabbed some past interviews to run.  
At 8:00: one of our favorite regional authors--good books, good interviews--Amy Stewart, took a new tack in her writing with a novel based on a real person.  That is Girls Waits With Gun, her first book about Constance Kopp, tough guy in a skirt from 1914.  
At 9:00: Frank Sinatra would be 103 if he were around today.  The centenary of his birth was observed in 2015 by the book Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World

Public Domain,

A piece of history went missing in Coos Bay, and some people want it back.  At one time a billboard in Eastside (east of the Coos River) bore the names of local people who served in World War II. 

People remember it, but no one seems to know what happened to it.  Ed Keim leads the search, and he's enlisted Krystal Hopper from local veterans' groups to help find information and even recreate the billboard. 


Climate change has been mentioned many times over this summer's fire season.  It is among the reasons the season was so long, intense, and smoky. 

But outside forest boundaries, climate change will begin costing people more and more money; up to $15,000 a year, says a report from Natural Resource Economics in Eugene. 


You've probably seen at least a few of Swoosie Kurtz's acting roles.  She's been in so many things over the years, including TV roles in series that went beyond 100 episodes.  Twice. 

Her name alone makes her distinctive, a name shared with her pilot father's cobbled-together warplane in World War II: part swan, part goose.  That explains the title of Swoosie's memoir, Part Swan, Part Goose: An Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work, and Family


The rampant use and abuse of opioid painkillers in our country has produced many responses.  Like the people who have worked hard to make sure that overdose antidotes like Naloxone are easily available. 

Humboldt County's leaders are directing their attention at the source: the county is suing opioid manufacturers in federal court.  It joins a growing list of public agencies seeking to sanction the drug companies that make Oxycontin and the other opioids. 

Underground History: Native Battle Sites

Aug 29, 2018
Southern Oregon University

Stories tall and short may be told of past events, but the ground generally does not lie.  And that's the appeal of archaeology: digging up the true story. 

Our partners at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology share stories of the trade every month in Underground History. 

This month, we talk about unearthing artifacts at the sites of battles between Native Americans and whites.  SOULA's Mark Tveskov has done much of this in our region, and he'll present a paper on a conference coming up at the Mashantucket Pequot Research Center in Connecticut.