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.

As the nation mourns the death of a president, we observe the highlights of his life.  George H.W. Bush was a very busy man with a great number of talents, we've been reminded lately. 

Jon Meacham, a historian, a writer and a friend to the late president, told Bush's story in the book Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

Meacham's closeness to Bush produced some surprising revelations from "41" about the presidency of his son, among other subjects. 


If you're concerned about upward mobility for your kids in today's society, you might want to move.  Evidence suggests upward mobility is greater for children who grow up farther away from metro areas. 

This goes against the generally accepted belief that people who live near cities have the greater mobility.  But Bruce Weber, professor emeritus of applied economics at Oregon State, has figures to back up the rural-mobility case. 


The wildfires in our region produce smoke and concerns about the smoke, mostly about breathing it.  But we've explored the issue of "smoke taint" on wine grapes as well. 

And there are additional concerns about what the wildfire smoke might deposit on other fruits and vegetables growing on farms and in gardens.  Will the lettuce or the tomatoes make you sick? 

Probably not, says a preliminary review produced by citizen science out of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County. 

Signals & Noise And The Year In Media

Dec 5, 2018

What a year in media.  We went back and checked, to prepare for an extra-length edition of our Signals & Noise segment. 

Just in the first couple of months, we had a tell-all book about the White House, "s**thole countries" coming out of the mouths of newscasters, and lots of other notable moments. 

And that's just in Washington; there's a whole wide world of media happenings to take in.  And we'll do just that in our monthly gathering with Precious Yamaguchi and Andrew Gay of the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University

Eugene Iglesias/

Josh Gross loves music.  He writes it, plays it, and listens to it, a lot. 

Once a month Josh collects the names and tunes of bands playing upcoming gigs in the region. 

He delivers the goods in a segment we call "Rogue Sounds." 

Scot Loring

Love it or hate it, you have to admit there's a lot of biological diversity in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.  And it's still being discovered. 

A recent journey into the monument's Soda Mountain Wilderness to look for rare plants turned up a rare mushroom instead.  It was a kind no one had ever reported seeing before. 

Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument announced the finding. 


The latest survey results on homeless students in Oregon produced some relief, but not much.  While there are fewer students reporting being homeless than in previous years, it's still a high number: nearly 22,000. 

And worse for Southern Oregon, Medford is right up near the top, with more homeless students than the city of Portland.  Homelessness is just one of the issues targeted by the Rogue Action Center, and the prime concern of the Maslow Project


Laika the dog began her life as a stray on the streets of Moscow, but attained a level of immortality as she became the first living being to orbit the Earth, aboard Sputnik 2.

The Soviet scientists who sent Laika into space knew one thing for sure: Laika was certain to die.

Kurt Caswell's book, Laika's Window, captures this mysterious, sad and haunting tale from the early days of the Space Age. 


The old JPR studios were located next to a classroom that hosted many a math class.  Some of our former co-workers avoided the area when class was in session; math made them nervous. 

It's really a thing, says Jennifer Ruef at the University of Oregon.  She teaches Education Studies, and says "math trauma" from past learning experiences really happens. 


Would you take a full-time job with a place that did not offer some kind of retirement plan?  It won't be necessary in Oregon soon. 

Because the state continues to roll out the OregonSaves program, a plan to put some money away for retirement at a job that offers neither pension nor 401k-style plan. 

Businesses and individuals can take part, and the Oregon Retirement Savings Board oversees the program. 


It started with junk.  Items that were finished became a beginning for Brian Scudamore. 

He began a business collecting junk that just grew and grew.  It led to several more, and now he shares what he learned in the book WTF?! (Willing to Fail)

Cal Fire

It is both unfortunate and a relief to see the speed with which government agencies move in to help the victims of major fires.  We saw it after the Carr Fire hit Redding, we're seeing it again with the Camp Fire, which devastated Paradise. 

Both FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Small Business Administration set up shop soon after the disaster declarations, offering help to both business operators and homeowners. 

Chelsea Irvine of SBA pays a return visit, along with FEMA rep Jovanna Garcia. 


What's the weirdest sound you ever heard coming from a car or truck?  Those are seldom welcome sounds, because they usually indicate something wrong, or about to go wrong, with the vehicle. 

Zach Edwards has heard plenty of them over the years in his work repairing cars; he now own Ashland Automotive.  And he visits once a month to talk about cars and their... um, issues.

Humorist, journalist and chronicler of the weird Matt Geiger is part David Sedaris, part Dave Berry and part John Waters.

His latest book of essays and stories, Astonishing Tales, will have you scratching your head, in between belly laughs.

That's what you might expect from a writer who has won both literary awards and a one-hand axe throwing competition. 


More people need higher education in today's workforce, and higher education is expensive.  Those two issues get little to no argument, but what now? 

Getting the different kinds of higher education working more closely together might help.  That's the thinking behind a new alliance of educational institutions in Oregon. 

Southern Oregon University, Rogue Community College, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Klamath Community College are exploring new ways to combine their talents, and potentially their students, to be of more service. 


Surprise!  People actually stay at jobs a little longer now than they did 30 years ago.  But 4.6 years is still not a career; people used to switch careers a lot less than they do today. 

The switches are often necessary because of the changing nature of work, and the jobs left for people to do. 

That results in what Farai Chideya calls The Episodic Career, which is the title of her book. 

Public Domain

Don't get confused by the use of the term "talent assessment" in relation to Oregon higher education; it's not about singing and dancing or anything like that.  Instead, it's a chance to assess the skills of Oregon's workforce, figure out what's lacking, and address the shortfall. 

The private firm ECONorthwest helped put the assessment together, and the state Workforce and Talent Development Board approved it in September. 

What's in the report and how might the state universities and community colleges respond to it? 

City of Salem

Dig in the ground in places where people live and hang out, and you're going to find evidence of people from the past.  That's why any excavation on public land usually requires an archaeologist to check out the area and see what's buried in the dirt. 

Our monthly Underground History segment on archaeology returns with news of a dig in Oregon's capital city.  The construction of a new police station in Salem brought out the archaeologists and students and volunteers as well. 

Kimberli Fitzgerald is the staff archaeologist for the city. 

Photo of teenage girl

Alice Tallmadge lost a beloved niece to suicide nearly three decades ago.  It was at the height of the controversy over "recovered memories," which often involved sexual abuse and often turned out to be false memories. 

Alice Tallmadge lives in Springfield and thinks a great deal about the events that led up to her niece's death.  Tallmadge offers her view of that time and the aftermath in the memoir Now I Can See the Moon

After the Grove of Titans of redwood trees was identified near Jedediah Smith State Park in 1998, car traffic on nearby roads increased dramatically, as did impromptu trails through the grove, many of which have received widespread publicity via social media.

The increased traffic has brought predictable negative impacts to the area. Now a partnership between environmental groups, California State Parks and the National Park Service has formed to protect the grove from being loved to death by humans.