“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.”

LJ Malberg


LJ Malberg

In this wide-ranging conversation, Coach, Community Builder and CoMuse CEO, LJ Malberg and I go deep on cultivating compassion, finding connection, getting uncomfortable, and letting go.

Tracey Quillen Carney & Dr. Julius Mullen Sr.


Tracey Quillen Carney & Dr. Julius Mullen Sr.

Delaware First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney and Trauma Matters Delaware Chairperson Dr. Julius Mullen discuss their pioneering work in recognizing and responding to childhood trauma.

John Faye


John Faye

Singer/songwriter and alt-rock frontman John Faye’s “The Yin and the Yang of It All: Rock’n’Roll Memories from the Cusp,” takes us for a ride into the belly of a dream. In the new memoir, Faye beautifully renders his healing journey from an alienated and grief-stricken teen and major label frontman to a fiftysomething father, mentor and champion of the middle-class musician.

Elisa Peimer


Elisa Peimer

Longtime singer/songwriter friend, Elisa Peimer, discusses growing up in Ossining to a steady soundtrack of Styx and Queen, being the only female audio engineering student at NYU, her mid-life pivot from music marketer to psychotherapist, and what she’s hearing post-COVID.

In The End


In The End

I was recording “In The End” in Muscle Shoals just a week after demo’ing it, when bandleader Will McFarlane, asked, “Should we go full Otis on this one?” Otis Redding recorded his posthumous hit, “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,” in that very room on those very keyboards just months before dying in a plane crash in 1967. “Absolutely,” I responded. The story behind Constellations’ fifth and final song and Kyiv-penned music video, this week on Friends & Neighbors.

Paul Cheung


Paul Cheung

Prior to becoming CEO of Center for Public Integrity, Paul Cheung put in three decades at America’s most prestigious journalism institutions including The Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Associated Press, and the Knight Foundation. This week, Paul travels back to his childhood in Hong Kong and immigration to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, adolescence in suburban New Jersey, and storied career at the intersection of journalism, technology and social justice.

Finding The Secret Song


Finding The Secret Song

In this audio companion to my recently premiered documentary short, I trace my road trip from Memphis to Muscle Shoals writing and recording my tenth album, “Constellations,” and reveal how a Texan waitress, Mexican tailor, and Tupelo pop icon’s secrets helped inspire my path towards recovery.

David Smydra


David Smydra

For more than a decade, David Smydra has been at the forefront of assuring that tech platforms deliver personalized, high quality news by leading “humans in the loop,” journalists who bridge the gaps between editorial quality, product and audience development, and algorithmic design. This week, the former Google and Twitter curation lead and Online News Organization Board President shares his journey from Detroit to Palo Alto and Back East, as well as his firsthand experience of what it was like when when Elon Musk showed up at his place of now former employ.

Listening To 2022


Listening To 2022

It has been an outstanding and occasionally excruciating year. Through it all, I’ve found hope and healing in the shared wisdom of my friends and neighbors. This week, we listen back to some of those insights, inspirations and lessons learned from Senator Sarah McBride, Author Tim Madigan, Music Therapist Kelli Rae Powell and more.

I Remember Everything


I Remember Everything

“I Remember Everything,” the penultimate track on my new album, Constellations, began as another in a long list of “disaster song” but evolved into something noticeably different, deeply instructive and profoundly transformative. This week, I explore how the song helped me understand the biology, psychology and neurology of somatic memory, and how the body keeps the score.

Patrick Riley


Patrick Riley

Cellist Patrick Riley has performed string arrangements on albums by Shawn Mendes, Imagine Dragons, and The Envy Corps, played live alongside The Eagles and Father John Misty, scored big-time Hollywood films – and graced every one of my albums since 2010’s “Forever Young.”

This Is Not A Test


This Is Not A Test

In the 90s, the CDC made the correlation between adverse childhood experiences like divorce, violence, substance abuse and mental illness and adult outcomes like anxiety, depression, addiction and many of the leading causes of death. It’s just that, well, no one told most of us.

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