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.


Maybe Cat Stevens/Yusuf said it best: "we're only dancing on this Earth for a short while." 

Someday, someone will remember us with kind words (we hope). 

Alan Gelb urges us--ALL of us--to take a stab at our own life story.  Not the whole thing, but a key part of it. 

Gelb even inspired non-writers with his book Having the Last Say


If you pay much attention to the details of wildland firefighting, you see references to "structural protection crews."  These are the firefighters trained to protect buildings in and near the forest, a different skillset to building lines around wildfires. 

The skills are needed because of people living in homes near and among the trees.  As fires grow bigger and more destructive, more people question the practice of living in fire-prone country. 

Jeffrey Kline researches this and other issues at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis. 


Convincing people to get from place to place just on muscle power can be a hard sell in America.  It gets somewhat easier over time, as communities build more lanes and amenities for people to get around on foot and by bicycle. 

The Siskiyou Velo, a bicycle club in Southern Oregon, works to convince more people to use bicycles as transportation, not just recreation. 

And part of the process involves making the case for designing communities to better accomodate bikes.  Some of the attention is focused on the City of Medford

Minnesota Public Radio

We zoom down rural highways at 65 miles an hour (if we obey the limits), not thinking much about the passing countryside or what would happen if we broke down. 

When you stop to think about it, the people who moved west along the Oregon Trail were just barely this side of broken down.  They really knew little about what lay ahead of them. 

Journalist Rinker Buck and his brother Nicholas decided to see what that was like.  So they pushed themselves and a mule team over the old path, a journey told in the book Oregon Trail


In an age of rampant childhood obesity, more children are encouraged to walk or bike to school, rather than riding the bus.  Easier said than done in many rural areas, where bike lanes are narrow at best and sidewalks often non-existent. 

The Safe Routes to Schools program is designed to fix up areas where kids can get themselves to school without buses. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other agencies are partners in SRTS. 

Liam Moriarty/ JPR News

The Karuk Tribe are getting back to traditional Native American fire management in a project with the U.S. Forest Service in Northern California.

The two groups will host a controlled burn near the Lower Klamath River as part of the Somes Bar project.

Anyone who practices a religion can appreciate the long traditions involved in worship.  Few can imagine trying to restore those traditions after a long absence. 

But that is what native communities face, as they work to continue traditions stopped by force, by killing, and by banishment to reservations. 

Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy, who teaches Native American studies at Humboldt State University, details the work of the Hoopa tribe in restoring a women's coming-of-age ceremony that had been stopped.  Her book is We Are Dancing For You.

TSGT Robert Wickley, Public Domain,

The infant mortality rate in the United States has been steadily declining over time.  One problem, though: the rate for African-Americans is roughly twice the rate for white Americans. 

That's many more black babies dying at or soon after birth relative to the population. 

Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson created one of many programs to target racism in the medical profession.  Dr. Jackson's program is called Save 100 Babies, and it's based in Atlanta.

Sometime in July, the U.S. Forest Service air tanker base in Medford pumped its millionth gallon of fire retardant into a plane. 

That was just a week after lightning started many fires around the region, and a figure usually not reached until the end of fire season.  Across the country, the use of the red slurry has doubled as fires and fire seasons have grown more intense. 


The expression "I lost myself" rolls off the lips fairly easily.  But it's a real thing for some people. 

For a variety of reasons, there are people who walk the Earth who feel like they are either missing parts of themselves--the "self" is gone--or actually believe they are dead. 

Anil Ananthaswamy tells some of the startling stories in The Man Who Wasn't There

By Ferran Pestaña from Barcelona, España - Grillo de matorral 01, CC BY-SA 2.0,

North America is one of the few parts of the world where insects are not a regular part of the human diet. 

So there's certainly space in the market for a cricket-as-food provider.  And Craft Crickets in Eugene is only too happy to fill that space. 

The company says it's the first licensed cricket farm in Oregon. 

Inside Mental Illness With Compass Radio

Aug 23, 2018

Conversations about people coping with mental illness can still get into hushed tones. 

Society is pushing the stigma away, but we still don't think of schizophrenia the way we think of lupus, for example.  Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford provides a place for people with mental illness to spend time with other people in similar situations... and get support for living life normally. 

Once a month, our Compass Radio segment brings in the story of another individual from the clubhouse, to give us a better understanding of the trials and treatments of mental illness. 

Wing-Chi Poon, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The United States is moving in two different directions on energy.  While the Trump administration moves to shore up the ailing coal industry, new renewable energy installations are announced all the time. 

Robert Arthur Stayton says the political bickering over energy and carbon overshadows (pun intended) the move toward solar power. 

He points up the ongoing move in his book Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power

Book and interview are from 2015, but still timely and relevant today. 

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Two goats will help keep a Medford golf course manicured thanks to a temproary permit.

The Medford City Council approved a permit that will allow the Bear Creek Golf Course to use the goats as unconventional lawnmowers for a year, despite the city's no-livestock ordinance.

The goats will help trim bushes on the green of the course.

Medford City Council Member Clay Bearnson spoke about the permit on the Jefferson Exchange. He said the course managers made the request.


Two statements about wildfire are both diametrically opposed and simultaneously true.  Here they are: nobody wants to talk about fires anymore/everybody wants to talk about fires. 

It's just this: we're tired of fire season, yet need to have discussions about how to keep future seasons from getting worse than this one. 

Richard Fairbanks knows a thing or two about fire, after a career in the U.S. Forest Service that included a big role in the Biscuit Fire recovery project. 


It's one thing to read a cookbook, quite another to actually make some of the recipes in one.  There are limits to our time and kitchen abilities. 

That's why we jumped at the chance to visit with the author of Now & Again.  It's a book about LEFTOVERS. 

Sure, leftovers dressed up for a new day on the job, but leftovers just the same. 

Haven't we all looked for ways to turn an old meal into something new?  Julia Turshen answers the question with an emphatic yes. 

April Ehrlich/JPR News

Two weeks after the Carr Fire roared into Redding and destroyed hundreds of homes, the Small Business Administration came to town and set up shop. 

SBA offers disaster assistance for both business owners and homeowners.  That bears repeating: you can use an SBA loan to rebuild your home, not just a business. 

Chelsea Irvine is a public information officer with SBA. 


The climate news just gets grimmer all the time.  Nature continues to add insult to injury

Example: the recent study that shows the increase in temperature becomes more pronounced during droughts... which also appear to be more frequent as the planet heats up. 

Felicia Chiang is a doctoral candidate in civil engineering at the University of California-Irvine. 

Jessie Eastland, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Racism is alive and well in America.  Which should not surprise us, given its long history in the country. 

Few places would admit to being "sundown towns" now, but many once bore that moniker; they were places where African-Americans were expected to be out of town by sundown, at the risk of limb or life. 

James Loewen began researching sundown towns, expecting to find maybe 50 across the country.  He found thousands, including Grants Pass and others in our region. 


Businesses can go to college, too. 

Small Business Development Centers like the one at Southern Oregon University provide advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them launch and stay airborne. 

Most of the advice and guidance are provided free of charge.  But a new, intensive, nine-month program called the Small Business Management program starts this fall, and does charge a fee.

Todd Tippin is the trainer/advisor for the program.