KQED Arts and Culture StaffKQED Arts and Culture Staff
Food Writer and Reporter
Alan Chazaro is the author of This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), Piñata Theory (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), and Notes from the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge (Ghost City Press, 2021). He is a graduate of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley and a former Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco. He writes about sports, food, art, music, education, and culture while repping the Bay on Twitter and Instagram at @alan_chazaro.
Coordinating Producer and Digital Food Producer
Check, Please! Bay Area Coordinating Producer and On-Camera Reporter Cecilia Phillips began her journalism career as a reporter at KIEM in Eureka, California, before joining KQED as an intern for Check, Please! Bay Area. She has long been a part of the Bay Area food scene, working under several celebrity chefs and serving as a food tour guide for many years in San Francisco. In her special series "Cecilia Tries It," she scours the Bay Area in search of off-the-beaten-path spots for exciting, culturally diverse culinary experiences that fans can’t miss. Recommend your favorite hidden-gem food spots to her on Instagram at @ccroundthetown.
Gabe Meline is KQED Arts & Culture's Senior Editor. He entered journalism at age 15 making photocopied zines, and has since earned awards from the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the Society for Professional Journalists, the Online Journalism Awards, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Prior to KQED, he was the editor of the North Bay Bohemian and a touring musician. He lives with his wife, his daughter, and a 1964 Volvo in his hometown of Santa Rosa, CA.
Digital Engagement Manager
Justin Ebrahemi is a San Francisco-based writer and poet. As the Digital Engagement Manager he helps bring KQED Arts' work into local communities both in the Bay and nationally. Previously, Justin worked for the SF performing arts organization, CounterPulse, and his writing has been published in Dancers Group, SFMOMA's Open Space, and various arts zines. Catch Justin biking through the city or baking vegan treats on the weekend.
Senior Video Producer
Kelly Whalen is a filmmaker and educator who directs and produces social justice documentaries and award-winning arts and culture web series. She is the creator of KQED Arts’ three-time Webby Award-winning YouTube series If Cities Could Dance, featuring dancers across the country representing their cities’ signature moves, and the director of When the Waters Get Deep, a documentary about Oakland-based artists SOL Development and their work toward healing their communities’ trauma from gun violence.
Kristie Song is an Arts & Culture Intern at KQED. She is currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley, where she studies audio and multimedia journalism. Previously, she covered the local community for Oakland North, produced episodes for The Science of Happiness, and served as news director for KUCI, UC Irvine’s radio station. Outside of reporting, she likes drawing comics, listening to angsty rock, and practicing the guitar.
For her work in arts and current affairs programming for KQED, Check, Please! Bay Area Series Producer Lori Halloran has garnered five Regional Emmys and multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the NorCal RTNDA, the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and the Los Angeles Press Club. At KVIE in Sacramento, she produced the national adventure program Off Limits, where she flew in the Goodyear Blimp, got towed out to sea on the Navy’s FLIP ship and spent a long, cold night checking bear traps in Yosemite. Originally from Canada, she’s partial to poutine, butter tarts and salt n’ vinegar chips.
Luke Tsai is KQED's food editor and resident stinky tofu connoisseur. Prior to KQED, he was an editor at Eater SF, San Francisco magazine, and the East Bay Express, and his work has also appeared in TASTE, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Best Food Writing anthology. When he isn't writing or editing, you'll find him eating most everything he can get his hands on.
Manjula Varghese is the Digital Producer/Editor for KQED Arts & Culture. Before KQED, she produced videos for the San Francisco Chronicle, exploring issues of race, gun violence and immigration. As a D.C. native, she managed to escape the East Coast, run her own production company Mirrorlake Films based in Utah, and graduate from Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism unscathed. Believing in the power of community, she is active in the local Asian American Journalists Association, Brown Girls Doc Mafia and, on occasion, teaches at UC Berkeley's school of journalism. Her free time is filled with day trips around the Bay, live music, befriending stranger’s dogs and attempting her mom’s South Indian cooking.
Producer, Rightnowish Podcast
Marisol Medina-Cadena is a radio reporter and podcast producer. Before working at KQED, she produced for PBS member station, KCET, in Los Angeles. In 2017, Marisol won an Emmy Award for her work on the televised documentary, City Rising, examining California's affordable housing crisis and the historical roots of gentrification.
Associate Video Producer
Masha Pershay is an associate video producer for KQED Arts. Masha got her start in media production in 2009, when she joined college station KUSF as a radio host. She holds a B.A. in Broadcasting and Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University and a certificate in sound recording from City College of San Francisco. In her spare time, she's an avid record collector and a DJ in San Francisco's Italo disco DJ collective Galaxy Radio.
Nastia Voynovskaya is a Russian-born journalist raised in the Bay Area and Tampa, Florida. She's the associate editor at KQED Arts & Culture. She's the recipient of the 2018 Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California award for arts & culture reporting. In 2021, a retrospective of the 2010s she edited and creative directed, Our Turbulent Decade, received the SPJ-NorCal award for web design. Nastia's work has been published in NPR Music, San Francisco Chronicle, VICE, Paste Magazine, Bandcamp and SF MoMA Open Space. Previously, she served as music editor at East Bay Express and online editor at Hi-Fructose Magazine. She holds a B.A. in comparative literature from UC Berkeley.
Rae Alexandra is Staff Writer for KQED Arts & Culture, and the creator/author of the Rebel Girls From Bay Area History and Bizarre Bay Area series. Born and raised in Wales, she started her career in London, as a music journalist for uproarious rock 'n' roll magazine, Kerrang!. In America, she got her start at alt-weeklies including SF Weekly and the Village Voice, and freelanced for a great many other publications. Her undying love for San Francisco has, more recently, turned her into a history nerd.
Ria Garewal is a proud "Baydestrian" focused on uplifting underrepresented communities and preserving culture through storytelling. After having worked on major social campaigns like the re-release of the late R&B singer Aaliyah's music catalog, Grammy-nominated Yung Blue's Moon Boy album and critically acclaimed rapper Rexx Life Raj's California Poppy and The Blue Hour albums, Ria pivoted from the music world to public media. As the Engagement Producer for KQED Arts & Culture, Ria strives to collaboratively provide a platform for BIPOC and LGBTQAI+ representation.
Senior Associate Editor
Sarah Hotchkiss is a San Francisco-based artist and arts writer. She co-runs the project space Premiere Jr., a 6-by-12-foot billboard in the Inner Sunset. In 2019, she received the Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation grant for visual art journalism and in 2020 she received a Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California award for excellence in arts and culture reporting.