“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.”

Jason Walsmith


Jason Walsmith

Singer, songwriter, photographer, storyteller and Nadas front man, Jason Walsmith, takes us on a half-life journey from Des Moines to Beijing and back with a guitar, a camera, and one simple word that’s gotten him through all the flat tires, flat notes, and flat beers along the way.

Whitney Matheson


Whitney Matheson

Blogging Legend, Newsletter Pioneer & Comic Book Author, Whitney Matheson, shares her story from small-town USA to the pages of USA Today.

What set Whit apart then as now, is her guileless, unbridled enthusiasm for creativity in all its forms: art, books, movies, television. Her love of things is palpable, her fandom infectious. Whitney’s optimism and ambition is inspiring.

So it was only natural that we would kick off this, our premiere season of “Friends & Neighbors” with Whitney; she’s been encouraging me to do something like this for months.

Season One Trailer


Season One Trailer

From the filmmaker brothers who brought you “Mister Rogers & Me,” “Friends & Neighbors” explores how our friends and neighbors around the world are cultivating depth and simplicity in their own complex lives.

Each 45-minute episode seeks substantive insights about our guest’s life experience, and specific, personal and actionable approaches to living a deep and simple life: building community, managing possessions and seeking reflection.

In our first season, we’ll meet Pop Culture Writer, Whitney Matheson, Veteran & Author, Craig Mullaney; Entrepreneur, Aine Kerr; Singer/Songwriter, Jason Walsmith; Rapper & Executive, Rob Markman; and more.

Starting Wednesday, October 14, watch on YouTube and Facebook, or listen on Apple or anywhere you find podcasts.

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