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The East County Magazine Show airs in prime time Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. and reruns Tuesdays, Thursdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM, broadcasting in Descanso from the mountains to the sea. You can send story ideas, news tips and underwriting inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
East County Magazine has won 80 major journalism awards from San Diego Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists San Diego chapter and more, including top honors for investigative reporting and other categories. Founded in 2008, ECM is a division of the nonprofit 501c3 Heartland Coalition.Our show, like our online magazine, has a mission is to reflect all voices in our region, particularly those under-represented in other media. Dedicated to keeping people safe and informed, ECM also established the East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts for our region and aims to soon bring live alerts to the airways, too.
Our radio show hosts reflect the rich diversity of our region and bring a multitude of qualifications, experiences and passions to their work. Scroll down to read more about these talented radio personalities and our behind-the-scenes team!
Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, is a national award-winning journalist with over three decades as a seasoned news hound.
Past columnist and homes writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, she is also a former senior national investigative reporter for RawStory.com, where she covered major topics ranging from Hurricane Katrina to Blackwater. She has published thousands of articles in publications including Woman’s Day, Writer’s Digest, Women’s E-News, Environmental Business Journal, Arizona Highways. California Real Estate Journal, East County Californian, Alpine Sun, Décor & Style, and more. She has also held editing positions with Nutrition Business Journal and San Diego Writer’s Monthly.
Miriam has won over 250 journalism awards, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ national Arlene Award for community reporting, San Diego Press Club’s Best of Show award, the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego chapter's James Julian memorial award for community journalism, plus first place awards from SPJ and SDPC for investigative reporting, breaking news, multicultural reporting, environmental coverage, political writing, and more. Many of her stories had major impacts, including national-level coverage of election integrity issues, Blackwater, Hurricane Katrina, California firestorms, energy and environmental issues. She is known for her in-depth coverage of issues impacting Native Americans, refugees, asylees, the Chaldean community, and rural residents among others. Miriam is a believer in providing the strongest arguments on all sides of issues, allowing listeners and readers to make informed decisions. A native of East County, she has a passion for exploring our backcountry, leaving no stone unturned in her quest to discover untold stories and fascinating people in our region.
John Mattes hosts the San Diego Scams and Schemers segment on East County Magazine’s show. Mattes is a litigator and investigative journalist recognized for his work protecting consumers and exposing fraud and corruption. He has won five Emmy Awards, a Golden Mike Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and ten Press Club Awards.
Mattes served as County Supervisor and City Council member in Madison, Wisconsin. He holds a Master's Degree in Communication Research obtained in Wisconsin and a law degree from the University of Miami. He worked as a Public Defender and in private practice as a public policy litigator. As an attorney, he helped expose cloak-and-dagger events of the Iran-Contra scandal, obtaining previously classified documents that he turned over to a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations subcommittee chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) These materials helped provide the basis for The Kerry Report, the most extensive inquiry into the Contra-CIA-drug connection. Mattes became an Investigative Counsel to the U.S. Senate POW Committee. His suit on behalf of the Lost Army Commandos, CIA assets left behind in Communist prisons for 25 years, led to the Commandos being acknowledged for their service and compensated.
In Miami, Mattes served as an investigative consultant for ABC World News I-Team and an investigative reporter for WAMI TV. Later, he served as investigative reporter at the nationally syndicated Uncovered TV in Los Angeles. He moved to San Diego and worked at Fox-6 News as an investigative reporter from 2002 until 2009. Mattes also founded InvestigativeGuy.com, an online site dedicated to defending consumers and exposing frauds and scams. John Mattes/Investigative Guy investigations have uncovered health insurance scams, banking swindles, and mortgage modification schemes, leading to law enforcement action against a number of the con men.
Helen Ofield hosts “Sounds of History.” Her dual pursuits are film production and distribution, and historic preservation. She is the general manager of New Pacific Productions (http://www.newpacificproductions.com) and a 40-year veteran of writing and producing specials and stand-alone programs for network television. She is the current president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society and a member of the San Diego County Historic Site Board.
A former Lemon Grove Planning Commissioner, she has served on many committees related to urban planning. She led the saving of Lemon Grove's first church (built 1897) and its adaptive reuse as the Parsonage Museum, and the H. Lee House (built 1928) and its adaptive reuse as the city's cultural center. As co-chair of Proposition W in 2008, she was instrumental in raising the funds to build Lemon Grove's new library, opening June 1, 2013. With photographer Pete Smith, she wrote "Images of America: Lemon Grove" (Arcadia 2010). Her wheelhouse is "great stories well told."
Greg Maness, host of “Vines and Wines” on the East County Magazine Live! Show, is the owner of Maness Vineyards in Jamul, California For nearly a decade, his vineyard management team has been designing and installing vineyards across SD County.
Maness Vineyards is a member of the members of East County Chamber of Commerce and East County Vintners Association. Maness also holds a State of California Vineyard Nursery License, growing and selling thousands of high end wine maker grapevines per year as well as serving as a master vineyard design and installation consultant.
Dean Bruce, hosts our “Making Music” segment. Birth from the womb of creative genius and business savvy, Bruce started in this world from humble origins. In the beginning a student himself, he worked his creative chops at first as a guitarist in coffee houses, later becoming a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band and a music entrepreneur. He has been in music for his entire life but learned that his unique talents would be better served running a music business instead of playing music.
He helped found San Diego Performance Academy and has been acting as the company’s CEO since. His mix of business artistry coupled with his music prowess has allowed him to help grow the company into what it is today. Approached by East County Magazine about a radio show, he was eager to get on the air and show the city the music that it has been missing. Making Music, just like Dean, blends together the mastery ofmusic with the grit and hard work of producing music. The show will air to bring to the county all types of music that have been waiting to be heard from unsigned bands that are just trying to make it in the world.
Connie Beck, host of “Ready, Set, Grow” has been an organic gardening instructor and landscape designer for the past 24 years, including 10 years teaching vocational horticulture at the San Diego County women's jail. In the past she has also enjoyed being a Canyoneer and nature interpreter for the Audubon Society. As a volunteer with National Wildlife Federation, she helped people create bird and butterfly habitats in schools, churches, businesses, and backyards. She has held several positions with California Native Plant Society including horticulture chair and head of the propagation workgroup.
“I like to promote the use of our own beautiful native plants which are so well-adapted for this area,” she says. “My belief is that one person at a time can make a difference by giving up toxic chemicals and providing the basic necessities for wildlife: food,water, cover and a place to raise their young.” She likes to hike, teach, read, garden, and travel, visiting gardens wherever she goes. You can reach Connie at email@example.com.
Dennis Moore is the principal book reviewer for East County Magazine. He also serves as book review editor for SDWriteway and has been a freelance contributor to the San Diego Union-Tribune and EURweb, writing book reviews. In addition, he has been a freelance contributor for LifeAfter50 Magazine and the Baja Times Newspaper in Mexico. He has written over 150 book reviews for authors such as Cheri Seymour, Caitlin Rother, TJ Johnson, Jane Mitchell, Anat Tour, Joshua Graham, Vincent Bugliosi and more. His reviews contributed to some authors winning acclaim by being voted #1 on Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s bestseller’s lists. He arranged literary events at Barnes & Noble, Borders and the San Diego County Public Library. Dennis also served as honorary guest speaker at the “Diamond Literary Dinner Cruise” at the Bahia Resort Hotel in 2011. In October 2012, he also covered Tijuana Innovadora, chronicling business opportunities in Tijuana, Mexico.
Originally from Chicago, he authored his own book about Chicago politics: The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago. This book chronicled his experience working as a Specification Engineer for the City of Chicago Department of Aviation at O’Hare International Airport, as well as his relationship with the recently ousted Governor Blagojevich. The book also chronicles President Obama’s rise to power in Chicago, as well as his wife, Michelle Obama, working for the Richard Daley Administration. Dennis Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reina Menasche is co-host of “Bookshelf.” She calls her first love “writing fiction,” though she is also a professional social worker, university instructor, and actress. Her first novel, Twice Begun, is a finalist in the 2013 San Diego Book Awards, and her other fiction has been recognized in contests by organizations such as the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild and Southern California Writers Conference.
She has performed in theatres and festivals throughout San Diego for the last 15 years. These roles include historical characters with “Our Stories” and at the Mark Twain Fest in Old Town, as well as many venues with the Chronos Theatre Group, where she also serves as Educational Director. One of Reina’s original educational plays, The Brain Game, was the recipient of an Innovative Grant by the First 5 Commission of San Diego in 2005.
Professionally, she has spent 20 years as a masters-level social worker working with children, teens, and adults. As Treatment Coordinator for Volunteers of America Southwest, she facilitates groups, provides professional training, supervises students, and writes curricula. As Lead Faculty and Faculty Advisor at the University of Phoenix, she teaches courses such as Life Span and Development, Multicultural Counseling, and Drugs and Addiction. This is her first radio show.
Janis Mork, host of “People Power,” was born and raised in San Diego. She graduated from San Diego State University in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She has been working for East County Magazine since May 2012, covering news and events.
In her free time, Janis likes to read, play piano, and spend time with friends and family, including her twin sister. Her faith is very important to her. She was raised up in Faith Chapel and Linda Vista United Methodist Church. Janis looks forward to hosting the “People Power” segment on East County Magazine’s radio show, profiling inspirational people and organizations making a positive difference in our community.
Ariele Johannson, host of “Destination East County, “currently writes feature articles for East County Magazine. An award-winning poet and writer, Ariele has been the recipient of an Orange County Day (New York) poetry award and a San Diego Press Club journalism award. She is the author of two volumes of poetry and the producer of Vietnam: A Sublime Homecoming, a two CD set of recordings from the Vietnam War.
She has been a travel writer for World Weddings.com, an online destination weddings company. She is a former Activity Coordinator with teens and a career high school English teacher. Ariele hosts our Destination: East County segment. Her show highlights exciting and interesting upcoming events, activities, festivals, and getaways throughout East County.
Nadin Abbott, reporter: Nadin is a former first responder and incident commander for the Red Cross in Mexico. She has been at the scene of many major wildfires as well as earthquakes and other natural disasters. Nadin covers wildfires and other emergencies for East County Magazine, as well as other breaking news stories and politics. Also a historian, she has written a book on the Occupy movement. Nadin works as a team with her husband, Tom, a talented photographer.
Leon Thompson, a Native American and registered member of the Chippewa tribe, hosts our Tribal Beat segment on our radio show. He has a passion for providing a voice to those whose voices are too often under-represented in traditional media. Leon also has a passion for sharing tips about great dining experiences as our "East County Eater." He has experience working in nonprofits, political organizing, and founding several successful businesses. Leon is also past president of Activist San Diego, founders of KNSJ, and a former board member of the Heartland Coalition, ECM’s parent nonprofit organization.
David Dickens has worked as a freelance sports write and broadcaster in San Diego’s East County for over three years. Son of well-known East County Sports writer Bill Dickens, David has written for the East County Californian, East County Sports.com, and now joins our team at East County Magazine. David brings broadcast experience as guest sports analyst on 107.9 radio with the East County Sports Report heard Saturday at 10 a.m. and now joins East County Magazine’s radio show on KNSJ, where he will provide sports reports. A talented writer descended from Charles Dickens, David is authoring both sports and feature articles for our news website.
Jake Christie, reporter at large: An East County resident for most of his life, Jake Christie wrote for the East County Community Newspaper chain in the 1990s, which was later amalgamated into The East County Californian. While working for both publications he covered land management issues handled by planning groups and the actions of various city councils, along with covering the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Governing Board. During a period when he was not working for the Californian, he was a radio personality with RadioActive Radio, a now-defunct Internet Radio broadcaster, and was a fan of Free Radio San Diego (96.9FM), San Diego’s most active unlicensed radio station. Jake Christie hope that he can bring the same knowledge he gained in covering the East County in print to the airwaves.
Rebecca Jefferis Williamson, host of “Wildest Jobs,” is a freelance writer and photographer whose works have been published in East County Magazine, East County California, Military Press, San Diego Family Magazine and other publications in our region.
Rebecca’s passion is finding the offbeat and the upbeat, tales to amuse and entertain you.
Mike Hancock, host of “On the Road in East County,” will take you on a travel adventure to towns across our region. A seasoned broadcast veteran, his voice has been heard as a news anchor, reporter and traffic reporter on local stations including KPBS and KOGO. In addition to his work with East County Magazine, Mike has also served as the News Director for KNSJ Radio.
"I fell in love with radio as a young boy and followed a friend's suggestion I try out for a radio DJ position." He worked off and on as a music DJ from 1994 on, then got into news and traffic reporting starting with an internship with Radio/TV at San Diego City College in 2007. As a reporter at Clear Channel, he covered major stories including the 2007 firestorms. He later became involved with Activist San Diego and became involved in community actions in City Heights and helping to put KNSJ on the air. "My main reason for involvement in KNSJ is to help the voices of the community, not usually heard in mainstream media, to be heard," Mike concludes.