Mister Rogers & Us, Part I


Mister Rogers & Us, Part I

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Mister Rogers & Me on PBS, we asked Neighborhood Archivist Tim Lybarger to reminisce with authors Amy Hollingsworth, Tim Madigan and me about the enduring and evolving legacy of America’s Favorite Neighbor, Fred Rogers.

Christofer Wagner


Christofer Wagner

Christofer Wagner graduated with a major in broadcast journalism, a minor in political science, and an eye on Tom Brokaw’s chair. He ended up in the edit suite, cutting everything from The Year in Rock to Monday Night Football. This week, Chris talks about growing up in the Midwest, his early days in digital media, and making “Mister Rogers & Me.”

Amy Letourneau


Amy Letourneau

Of all the people who helped “Mister Rogers & Me” get made, find its audience, and make its impact, few did so much so quickly and with such potency as PBS Distribution’s Amy Letourneau.

Alison Bonaguro


Alison Bonaguro

Backstaged author Alison Bonaguro discusses her journey from Motown to Music City, the power of the small gesture and the magic of the middle eight.

Jamie Leonhart


Jamie Leonhart

On stage and in-studio, Jamie Leonhart has been one of my most frequent collaborators for nearly two decades. As singer-songwriter, playwright (“Estuary”) and backup singer (Steely Dan, St. Vincent), she has always been game to wade into the gray areas of life, love and art, self, spouse and family. On the eve of the release of her new album, “The Illusion of Blue,” Jamie shares her journey from a New Jersey summer camp singer to New York City artist, performer and mother.

Sarah McBride


Sarah McBride

Sarah McBride, the United State’s first openly transgender state senator, author of the deeply moving memoir, “Tomorrow Will Be Different,” and my Wilmington, Delaware, neighbor, shares how our deepest insecurities can be our most potent inspiration.

Michael Tyler


Michael Tyler

Michael Tyler, author of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award-winning children’s book, “The Skin You Live In,” discusses about the difference between change and transformation, and the human imperative to create as a means of adaptation.

Ron Lieber


Ron Lieber

My friend, Ron Lieber, leads the league in reasoned, thoughtful conversations about hard things. This week, the New York Times Columnist and Best Seller shares who inspires him, why curiosity is so important and how he ran two marathons in 30 days.

Brian Ives


Brian Ives

For more than 30 years, Brian Ives has kept the music scoops coming on SiriusXM, VH1 and MTV. Brian currently runs digital content operations for Beasley Radio’s 40+ stations, and hosts a podcast called, “How You Play Your Hand” about musicians and resilience. This week, Brian and I discuss doing what you love, building rapport with artists and colleagues, and being present.

Martine McDonald


Martine McDonald

As Education Director at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, and Founder of Practice Wonder, Martine McDonald is “dedicated to co-creating and developing diverse children’s media with mindfulness and representation of LGBTQ+ and families of color on screen.” In this episode, Martine, an early “Mister Rogers & Me” booster, goes deep into her journey as an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and a human being on Earth.

An “Essential” Conversation, Part II


An “Essential” Conversation, Part II

In the second part of our two-part conversation, music journalist, Brian Ives, and I discuss my new collection of “greatest hits,” “Essential Benjamin Wagner (2001-2021),” including stories behind set staples “Summer’s Gone,” “Crash Site,” and “Dear Elizabeth,” as well as their potential legacy.

An “Essential” Conversation, Part I


An “Essential” Conversation, Part I

When it came to helping me put context on two decades of music for my new release, “Essential Benjamin Wagner (2001-2021),” my friend, Brian Ives, was the only choice. Brian is a rock journalism lifer with three decades at MTV, VH1, Loudwire, Sirius XM and Radio.com. He currently runs digital content operations for Beasley Radio’s 40+ stations, and hosts the podcast, “How You Play Your Hand.”

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