“Friends & Neighbors” began as a podcast in 2020, inspired by the wisdom of Fred Rogers, seeking to cultivate depth and simplicity in complex lives. Initial episodes explored guests’ personal insights and approaches to building community, managing possessions, and finding reflection. As COVID-19 raged and host Benjamin Wagner grappled with post-traumatic stress, conversations shifted towards mental health. Dialogues with authors, lawmakers, and advocates about trauma, authenticity, and healing illuminated the power of making the “mentionable manageable.” By creating a space for sharing stories and journeys, the podcast provides roadmaps for healing and strategies for healthier lives, embodying Rogers’ belief that “when we look for the helpers, we know there’s hope.”

Michael Shore


Michael Shore

Longtime MTV News Editorial Director Michael Shore shares stories about the days Kurt Cobain died, and Courtney Love crashed Madonna’s VMA pre-show; Tabitha Soren’s Choose or Lose audition; office visits from Axl Rose and Jay-Zl; interviewing heroes Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, and Miles Davis; Live Aid, Woodstock; and much more.

Elon Johnson


Elon Johnson

These days, Elon Johnson leads development for Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. But in 1999, Elon was one of a handful of MTV News Writers tasked with writing and producing daily news briefs and packages. This week, Elon breaks down day-to-day operations in the MTV Newsroom and recalls bumping into Busta Rhymes, getting tight with Christina Aguilera, championing Alicia Keys, and fanning out on Cyndi Lauper.

Rob Markman


Rob Markman

As Senior Hip-Hop Editor, Rob Markman led some of the cultures’ most vital conversations, from MTV News’ weekly RapFix Live show, to the most debated list in all of music, Hottest MCs. This week, Rob traces his journey from Flatbush, Brooklyn, to a Queens mailroom, all the way to MTV’s Times Square Studios, and drops gems on Drake’s beef, Kayne’s TV,  Killer Mike’s mad props, Pusha T’s career advice, and much much more.

Josh Horowitz


Josh Horowitz

For over a decade, Josh Horowitz has been foisting the MTV mic flag into movie stars’ faces, asking questions sacred and profane, substantive and sometimes just plain silly. On this week’s star-studded episode, Josh regales us with his MTV News origin story, plus hilarious tales about hanging out with Meryl Streep, dishing with Leonardo DiCaprio, vacationing with Jason Bateman, rubbing knees with John Travolta, yelling at Chris Pratt, and much, much more.

Christina Garibaldi


Christina Garibaldi

For nearly a decade in the early aughts, On-Air Correspondent Christina Garibaldi lived her teenage dream, hosting numerous Video Music and Movie Award Pre-Show, interviewing everyone from Britney and Selena to Backstreet and ‘NSYNC, and more. This week, Christina remembers Taylor’s first interview, Arianna’s off-camera tears, Avril’s cold pricklies, and dealing with very, um, distracted Justin Bieber.

Ryan Kroft


Ryan Kroft

Ryan Kroft recounts his remarkable rise from Intern to Senior Vice President of Specials & Events across MTV, VH1 & Logo in which he did it all, from Executive Producing dozens of Video Music and Movie Awards Pre-Shows, to live coverage of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston’s deaths, to shows like “A Conversation With President Obama,” “When I Was 17,” “Detox with Jim Cantiello” and “MTV First.”

Robert Mancini


Robert Mancini

For a hot minute there in the late 90s, Robert Mancini and I were the first two staffers into the MTV News offices every morning. Robert wrote years of daily news articles, on-air briefs, and VMA pre-shows and specials, and ultimately oversaw daily news across all media. Here, Mancini plays straight man to Diamond David Lee Roth, talks golf with Pantera’s Vinnie Paul, gets a private show from Pink Floyd, plus more hilarity featuring Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, and Chewbacca.

Abbie Kearse


Abbie Kearse

Writer, reporter, and producer, Abbie Kearse, sat down with some of rock and hip-hop’s biggest legends and tackled some of the most important social issues of the day. This week, Abbie recounts interviewing a sleepy Joe Perry, tracking down an errant Rakim, covering Snoop Dogg’s 1995 murder trial, and hanging with Kurt Loder and Mick Jagger.

Michael Alex


Michael Alex

Few MTV News staffers had a run like Michael Alex. From producing “The Week in Rock” and “Choose or Loose,” to launching MTV News Dot Com, Michael did it all. Buckle up and ride shotgun with Michael and Paul McCartney, Kieth Richards, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Sinéad O’Connor, Bootsy Collins, and many, many more.

John Norris


John Norris

In his more than two-decade tenure, MTV News Correspondent John Norris interviewed everyone from Britney Spears and Janet Jackson to U.S. Senator John McCain and Vice President Al Gore. In this broad, deep, and thoughtful conversation with the self-described “retrophobe,” we trace the arc of his career, hitting the club with Madonna, going to court with Michael Jackson, walking the VMA Red Carpet with Green Day, and much, much more.

Luke Russert


Luke Russert

The journalist and author dives deep into his New York Times Best Seller, “Look For Me There,” in which he recounts a journey that began a few months of travel to decompress, and became a three-year, six-continent odyssey to discover the world, process his grief, and find himself.

Hannah Storm


Hannah Storm

As Founder of Headlines Network, Hannah Storm is at the forefront of creating connections and driving conversations toward improving journalists’ mental health. From her home north of London, Hannah discusses her early career, experience with journalism safety and wellness, and her own healing journey.

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