JPR selects Riley to be new host of 'Exchange'

JPR selects Riley to be new host of 'Exchange'

ASHLAND — Longtime Rogue Valley television journalist and producer Geoffrey Riley has been chosen to host "Jefferson Exchange," a two-hour daily talk show airing weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio.

Riley, who has been filling in on occasion for the past nine years, will begin his new job today. He resigned earlier in December from KDRV Ch. 12 in Medford, where he worked in many capacities, including as reporter, anchor, executive producer and creative services manager.

Riley was chosen by JPR executives and a panel of listeners because "he brings a really nice track record, a knowledge of the region and a style that communicates the essence of complicated issues and allows informed feedback from listeners," said JPR Associate Director Paul Westhelle.

The long-running call-in show has developed a niche as a vehicle for exploring complex issues, from forestry, environment and health care to social services, education and government.

Jefferson Exchange is a production of JPR's News & Information Service and airs from 8 to 10 a.m. weekdays on nine JPR stations, including at 1230 AM in the Medford/Ashland area. It rebroadcasts from 8 to 10 p.m.

Riley replaces JPR veteran Keith Henty, who left the organization to pursue new career options in the area, according to JPR. The show had several hosts after the departure of Jeff Golden, who led the show for 10 years until June 2007.

Riley, a journalism graduate of the University of Missouri, joined the KDRV news staff when it started in 1985 and began occasional "Exchange" hosting in 2000.

Noting that the show "covers issues, not events," Riley said he plans to continue its in-depth, interactive approach but anticipates "some tweaks" to the format.

Riley said the host of such a wide-ranging show "needs curiosity, an interest in people and what affects them, a knowledge of the region, patience — things can go wrong on live radio — and a willingness to listen. I do better at listening on the 'Exchange' than in any part of my life and it drives my wife crazy."

Westhelle said that Riley "balances a really high degree of intellectual curiosity with an approachable style that allows him to explain complicated issues in ways the average person can understand "¦ and explain controversial matters, incorporating opposing viewpoints in respectful ways."

Riley pointed out the importance of in-depth issue shows "in a time of 140-character Twitter messages."

"I like the 'aha' moments," Riley said, "when you reach the point where you and the guest and listeners form the picture at a whole new level of understanding."

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at

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