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Bi-weekly podcast

Exploring the Inland Empire

Listen in as a TV host, pop musician, and candy man-turned-TikTok sensation discuss why this unheralded California region is worth a visit

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson learns about the Inland Empire through the insights of three unique guests who proudly call the area home.

First up, Johnson talks with Joel Greene, the charismatic host of Inland Empire Explorer. Greene shares must-visit spots in his hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, where to grab top-tier Mexican food in Riverside, and outdoor adventure in Big Bear Lake. Greene also showcases a few of his favorite doughnut shops, with detailed advice on what to order.

Next, Johnson speaks with Alexa Cappelli, a musician and former contestant on NBC’s The Voice. The Upland native performs three songs on the episode—“Say Something,” “Temporary,” and “Could’ve Just Left Me Alone.” She also shares behind-the-scenes details about her recent music video and reveals a few of her Inland Empire favorites.

Last, Johnson speaks with Jerry Rowley, longtime owner of Logan’s Candies in Ontario. Rowley chats with Johnson about the beloved candy shop’s 90-year history, including its newfound success on TikTok. The episode wraps with Rowley taking the California Questionnaire.


Joel Greene, host of Inland Empire Explorer

Alexa Cappelli, musician 

Jerry Rowley, owner of Logan’s Candies


Joel Greene is the creator, producer, and cohost of Inland Empire Explorer, as well as the creator of PBS’s Curiosity Quest.

Inland Empire Explorer

Curiosity Quest

Inland Empire

Rancho Cucamonga

Klatch Coffee

Route 66

IV Juice Bar

Etiwanda Falls

Victoria Gardens

Ontario Mills

Haven City Market

Riverside Food Lab

Baba K

Belly & Snout

Café Organix

Riverside County

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Tio's Tacos

Taco Station

March Field Air Museum

Moreno Valley

California Citrus State Historic Park

Lake Arrowhead

Big Bear Lake


Mountain High

Saucy Mama's Pizza

Copper Q

San Bernadino

Temecula Valley

Ponte Inn and Winery

Old Town Temecula

Donut Bar

Painted Dough


Alexa Cappelli is a singer-songwriter from Upland California and former contestant on NBC’s The Voice.


Alexa Cappelli Music

“Say Something”

“Lose Lose”


“Could’ve Just Left Me Alone”

The Colonies

Mt. Baldy

A Lot of Good

Potato Mountain

Jerry Rowley is the longtime owner of Logan’s Candies in Ontario.

Logan’s Candies


Candy Making Demonstrations

Logan’s Candies on TikTok

Vince’s Spaghetti



San Diego

Newport Beach

Huntington Beach



Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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