105. Brandon Piasecki - October 16, 2016

On this episode of Podcast Stockton, we feature a great interview with Brandon Piasecki. Brandon is a high school chemistry teacher at Stockton Collegiate in downtown Stockton, but that barely scratches the surface of who Brandon is and what he does in Stockton.

Brandon Piasecki Photo by Shannon Lea Rock

Brandon Piasecki
Photo by Shannon Lea Rock

As a talented musician, and using the name Mista P, Brandon created some impressive YouTube videos to help teach chemistry principles to his students. He also recently released an EP, Touch The World, recorded at Press Recording Studio in downtown Stockton. The proceeds from which will go toward his Grace Notes Music Project to give local students the chance to record music in a professional recording studio. As the hype man for Channel Brewing, Brandon helped get the Kickstarter campaign off the ground and helps put on events for the brewery. 

Brandon is also a member of Little Free Library Stockton and is the host of the Third City Podcast

Follow Brandon on Instagram @mrp_chemistry and Twitter @mrp_chemistry.

This week, we welcome back an old friend of the show, Gabriel Reyes, as co-host. A talented local artist and former podcaster himself, Gabriel has co-hosted a number of Podcast Stockton shows in the past. It's great to have him back on the show! Gabriel recently took part in the Upside Down art show at Empresso, featuring local art based on the Netflix series "Stranger Things".

The music for episode 105 is "Collide Someday" from Brandon's new EP, Touch The World. Check out the whole EP at brandonjames209.bandcamp.com. We also played a sample of "What's the Table For?", the video is a must-see!

101. Deacon Stephen Bentley - August 21, 2016

Stephen Bentley, a deacon at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Downtown Stockton recently opened HUB, Helping Urban Bicyclists. A lifelong cyclist and twenty-year resident of Stockton, Stephen has spent years helping the homeless and near homeless members of our community. 

Episode 101 of Podcast Stockton is hosted by Susan Spracher and Rod Villagomez. 

HUB's Deacon Stephen Bentley at a recent Full Moon Riders ride around Downtown Stockton

HUB's Deacon Stephen Bentley at a recent Full Moon Riders ride around Downtown Stockton

Before opening HUB, he would occasionally help people in need by fixing a bike chain or flat tire but he had bigger goals. He set out to open a bike shop downtown that would serve the often forgotten members of our community. 

HUB opened in April and, with the help of volunteers and generous donations from the community, he has been able to provide people in need with bike repairs and, in some cases, their own bikes. 

Stephen talks with Podcast Stockton's Matt Beckwith about why he started HUB and what it means to be able to provide this service to the people of Stockton. 

HUB is always accepting donations of bikes, bike parts and cash. They are located at 131 E. Miner Street, just east of El Dorado Street. It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 4 PM and on Wednesdays from 1 PM to 4 PM. Get more information on HUB and read some of the stories about the people they've helped on their Facebook page facebook.com/STOCKTONHUB.

Stephen is also a very talented comic artist and write the daily comic strip, Herb and Jamaal. Matt and Stephen talk about the work involved with hand-drawing and lettering a daily comic strip and if Stephen identifies more with Herb or Jamaal. You can read the daily comic strip at gocomics.com/herbandjamaal.

The music for episode 101 is "Lakeshore Drive (Guitar Jazz Version)" by Stockton based band, Pushers & Thieves. Find them on Facebook and ReverbNation.

100. Wes Rhea - August 8, 2016

Welcome to season three of Podcast Stockton! Our entire team is back and we all are excited to bring you more of the people and the stories that make Stockton great!

Visit Stockton CEO, Wes Rhea

Visit Stockton CEO, Wes Rhea

For our 100th regular episode, we are very happy to be joined again by Wes Rhea, CEO of Visit Stockton. We are all thankful for Wes  and his incredible supporter of Podcast Stockton since the early days!

Episode 100 is hosted by Susan Spracher and Rod Villagomez.

Matt and Wes discussed what has changed in Stockton, and with Visit Stockton, in the past two-and-a-half years since the last time he was on the show. 

They also discussed the bold, new Visit Stockton logo, why it's important to also market Stockton to people in Stockton - "The number reason people visit a community is to visit friends and family", the progress in Downtown Stockton, some upcoming events and more.

There are always so many fun things to do in Stockton and Wes and his team work hard to organize the area's best events calendar. Don't forget to sign up for the weekly Visit Stockton newsletter, you won't be disappointed. 

Some upcoming key events:

Stockton Beer Week Brew Fest, September 11, tickets on sale now

Stockton Beer Week, September 16-25 

Stockton Arts Week, October 14-23

NCAA Women's Division 1 basketball, March 24-27, 2017

Follow Visit Stockton on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and their website, VisitStockton.org.

Thank you, again, to Wes Rhea for all of your support through the years, for your tireless dedication to presenting Stockton in a positive light, and for being our guest for episode 100.

Music for this episode, "I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out" courtesy of Wendi Maxwell. Visit her website wendimaxwell.com and follow Wendi Maxwell and Tres Hot Jazz on Facebook

66. Cafe Coop - July 29, 2013

What is Podcast Stockton?

Podcast Stockton is a blog and podcast all about the great life in Stockton, California. Our focus is on the positive side of Stockton by bringing to our listeners local business reviews, positive commentary on local issues and interviews with local business owners, city officials and residents. 

We introduce Greg the Producer and Manny the Webmaster, the "behind the scenes" members of the Podcast Stockton team.


Café Coop Brings Innovation and Collaboration Downtown

Esperanza Vielma

Esperanza Vielma

We talk with Esperanza Vielma, founder and Executive Director of Café Coop.

With memberships starting at $25, Café Coop offers a collaborative workspace that is high on energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.  

They are located at 235 N. San Joaquin Street and can be reached at info@cafecoop.org. Visit cafecoop.org or facebook.com/cafecoop for more information and to find out about upcoming events.


Let's Talk Stockton Event

On July 17, Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey led a discussion at Valley Brewing Company about starting and growing business in Stockton. Short presentation followed by Q&A.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter @jack

Jack Dorsey, Twitter @jack

We also had a chance to hear from... 

Marianne McCarroll, (Marianne's Pantry, www.mariannespantry.com

Mimi Nguyen, (Miracle Mile Improvement District)

Emily Ritter, (Square.com) 

Click here to watch Square's post event video.

Learn more about Square at squareup.com


Music for this week's show is "The Pieman" by Mykal Parsons Project. You can like them on Facebook and listen to their music at facebook.com/MykalParsonsProject. You can also find Mykal Parsons Project on GoLocal Radio at golocalradio.net

59. Joey Chestnut - April 18, 2011

Joey Chestnut, Asparagus Festival

Joey Chestnut, Asparagus Festival

A wrap-up of the 26th Annual Asparagus Festival. Matt talks to the champion, Joey Chestnut, and Matt Stonie who took third-place in the deep fried asparagus eating contest. With great weather this past weekend, the crowds were out in force this year. Check out the rest of the pictures here and a short video featuring The California Repercussions.

What's the best Pizza in Stockton? We ask our Facebook fans about their favorites and the winner, so far, is Michael's Pizza. Add your vote!

Stockton is Magnificent! The Miracle Mile is hosting this event to show just what we think of their list. Matt sat down with Danielle, a student from Pacific that is helping with the event. Learn the flash mob dance here.

We talk sports with Lowell Tuckerman. SJ Delta Girl's Softball goes undefeated! And the Stockton Ports.

Until next time, make it great Stockton!


Chestnut Does It Again

Joey Chestnut did not disappoint his many fans in Stockton today. He easily beat out the rest of the field this afternoon and earned a new world record. At the end of 10 minutes, he had consumed 9 pounds, 5.2 ounces of deep fried asparagus. Chestnut, the 27 year old competitor from San Jose who took the stage amidst cheers from the crowd, has held the world records for eating pork ribs, steak, chicken wings and Krystal burgers. He already broke the asparagus eating world record in 2008 when he ate 8.6 pounds of our favorite fried veggie.

For those of you that never seen competitive eating up close and personal, here's a short video I shot.

Stonie, Chestnut, and Bertoletti

Stonie, Chestnut, and Bertoletti


Matt Stonie, the 18-year-old new-comer from San Jose, debuted today on the competitive eating scene and took third place just behind second place finisher, Patrick Bertoletti. Come back on Monday for our next episode of Podcast Stockton to hear from Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie.

And check out the pictures from today's event.

58. Kate Post, Emily Ballus, Mark Wills - April 11, 2011

Welcome to Podcast Stockton. This week, we are joined by three special guests. In this episode:

The Asparagus Festival is this weekend! Rod sits down with Kate Post, Asparagus Festival Executive Director, to talk about what's new for this year's event. The 26th annual Asparagus Festival runs Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17 in downtown Stockton. Nothing says springtime in Stockton like deep fried asparagus, and our new favorite, asparagus ice cream! For more information, visit asparagusfest.com.

The Great Stockton Asparagus Festival Dine out was a hit with Matt! There was not enough hours in the day to sample all of the great asparagus dishes at the 25 participating restaurants. There was time, however, to visit Angelina's, Whirlow's and Midtown Creperie & Cafe for some excellent dishes. What a perfect way to lead in to the Asparagus Festival.

Emily Ballus joins Matt to talk about the launch of Q Productions and a couple of concerts coming to the Stockton Empire Theatre. After spending some time with the California Cougars and the Miracle Mile, Emily is now focused on bringing entertainment events to Stockton. This Friday, Q Productions, Food 4 Less and Rancho San Miguel present country music recording artist, Mark Wills.

Mark Wills

Mark Wills

Country Music recording artist, Mark Wills calls into the show to discuss his start in country music and his concert this Friday at the Empire Theatre. His hits include "Jacob's Ladder", "Don't Laugh At Me", "I Do (Cherish You)", and "19 Somethin'". His newest song is "Looking For America". Of course, you can find his music on iTunes. For tickets and information on his show on April 15 at the Stockton Empire Theatre, visit qproductionsco.com or call 209-594-1669.

Until next time, make it great Stockton!


Carrie Underwood at the Arena

At the last minute, and thanks to the Downtown Stockton Alliance Facebook post about available tickets, my wife and I decided to take our daughters to the Carrie Underwood concert. We got to our seats in section 212 just before 7:30 and just before Sons of Sylvia took the stage. The Clark brothers from Virginia opened up with Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.

They entertained as the audience filed in and even played a short "bluegrass picking" tune that didn't seem to be a big hit with the crowd but, as a bluegrass and newgrass fan I enjoyed it.

Billy Currington took the stage later in the night and the opened with "How County Boys Roll". The ladies seemed to go nuts every time his face (and his curls) showed up on the video screen at either side of the stage.

The crowd noise level went up when he performed "People are Crazy", especially during the "... beer is good" part. He closed his set with my personal favorite "Good Directions".

Underwood took the stage a little after 9 with "Cowboy Casanova".

After a couple of songs she told the crowd that she likes to learn about the cities where she performs by looking at Wikipedia. She asked, "you guys have an Asparagus Festival?" and the fans cheered! She said they celebrate Okrafest back in her home town of Checotah, Oklahoma.

She performed favorites like "Wasted", "Some Hearts", "Temporary Home", "All American Girl", and " So Small". After walking off the stage, she returned in the bed of a blue pickup truck (complete with "Carrie" on the tailgate) and was hoisted above the audience while she sang John Denver's hit, "Country Roads". Judging by the crowd, "Undo It", with it's chunky and distorted resonator guitar rhythms, was certainly a favorite.

Carrie Underwood, Stockton Arena

Carrie Underwood, Stockton Arena

Underwood took a few breaks to talk to the audience and told of how she grew up singing everywhere. The Arena got louder with every mention of American Idol. She said that if her life hadn't turned out the way it did she would've likely still been singing, maybe even at the Asparagus Festival. I always enjoy it when artists talk to the crowd and she seemed to do so often and comfortably.

My favorite performance of the night was "Jesus Take The Wheel" with a few lines from "How Great Thou Art" at the end. She sang it masterfully and was full of emotion. I also think that, besides the very end of the show, the crowd was at its loudest at that point.

She brought Sons of Sylvia back on stage and performed the duet "What Can I Say" from her 2010 release Play On. She payed homage to The Grand Ol' Opry when she performed "I Told You So" with Randy Travis on video.

She closed her set with a very loud "Last Name" before coming back for an encore with "Before He Cheats" and "Songs Like This".

We were all glad we went. It was an awesome show. Great music and theatrics! I'm no fashion expert but Underwood looked exquisite, especially in the dress that lit up. Our daughters had a great time and there seemed to be a pretty diverse cross section of music fans there. I even spotted Thunder President Dan Chapman and United Way of San Joaquin CEO Andy Prokop. I've not yet seen how many tickets were sold but it looked to be just short of being sold out.

This show, and last week's Snoop Dogg / Ice Cube show, are exactly what make Stockton great!

51. Chris Freeman, City Librarian - August 27, 2010

Welcome to Podcast Stockton, featuring an interview with Chris Freeman, City Librarian.

This week's show is co-hosted by Chris Kotsoglou. Read his blog and follow him on Twitter.

In this episode:

Catch up time with Chris the Greek. Chris is more than half-way through Stockton's Biggest Loser. Read about all of the other contestants here.

Sports update with Lowell Tuckerman

Lincoln Center Live and Miracle Mile Night. On back-to-back nights, Stockton had two awesome events. Car shows, live music, great food - these two events did not disappoint. In its second year, Miracle Mile Night, organized by friend of the show, Greg Bahr, grew by a few blocks, two stages, and a handful of cars. Port City Marketing Solutions brought back the very popular Pin Up Girl competition and even brought out a surprise special guest to kick off the event.

What's new on ClosetGoodies.com

An interview with Chris Freeman, Stockton and San Joaquin County Public Library City Librarian. I met with Chris in his office at the Chavez Library in Downtown Stockton to find out a little more about our libraries, how we became a librarian and how Stockton has surprised him. Visit Chris's blog, civillibrarian.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Also visit the library's website at stockton.lib.ca.us and follow the SSJCPL on Twitter and Facebook.

Until next time, make it great Stockton!


Podcast Stockton Live!

Last Saturday, we took the show on the road with our first Podcast Stockton Live at the Taste of San Joaquin / Way Out West BBQ Championship. It was another awesome year for this event with tons of great food and music. Stockton's own Smokin' Yankees took home 3rd place in pork and ribs, 8th in brisket, 1st place (by one point) in the People's Choice category and 3rd place overall! Congratulations Smokin' Yankees!

Rod was not able to join us so Gabriel stepped in as fill-in co-host. With Manny running sound, we were joined by our usual guests, Wes Rhea, Lowell Tuckerman and Jon Remington. We also did a trivia segment and gave away some great prizes to one lucky audience member. We also did an interview with Ric Gilbert from Way Out West BBQ Championship.

We were not able to record the audio from the live show but we did capture a little video and Manny did the editing and production... thanks guys!

Also check out pics from our show here.

Big thanks to Emily from the Downtown Stockton Alliance for giving us the opportunity to do our show live.

Gabriel, Manuel, Jon, Lowell, Matt

Gabriel, Manuel, Jon, Lowell, Matt

On July 3, 2010, we did a live version of our show at the Taste of San Joaquin and Way Out West BBQ Championship. In the video I kept calling it the "2nd annual...". It was actually the 3rd annual Taste of San Joaquin and the 2nd annual Way Out West BBQ Championship.
part 2 of 2 On July 3, 2010, we did a live version of our show at the Taste of San Joaquin and Way Out West BBQ Championship. In the video I kept calling it the "2nd annual...". It was actually the 3rd annual Taste of San Joaquin and the 2nd annual Way Out West BBQ Championship.