Iowa Homecoming For “Mister Rogers & Me”

February 17th, 2014

Benjamin Wagner Iowa State FairI’m bringing Mister Rogers home.

While it’s true that I was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and that it’s how I answer the question, “Where ya’ from?” The truth is, I wasn’t there long; my father left for a teaching job in Waldorf, Maryland, the next afternoon. My mother, brother (then pushing three-years-old) and I followed him there two weeks later. As we moved around the country in the following 10+ years (Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia), returning there was the only constant.

“Mister Rogers & Me” will premiere on Iowa Public Television on Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30 PM. What’s more, I will be live from IPTV‘s Des Moines studios for an extended, one and a half hour broadcast replete with stories, insights, and behind-the-scenes ephemera.

This special broadcast will re-air four times throughout the week:

Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 PM (IPTV)
Thursday, March 6, 6:00 PM (IPTV World)
Sunday, March 9, 10:00 AM (IPTV)
Sunday, March 9, 7:30 PM (IPTV World)
Tuesday, March 11, 4:30 PM (IPTV World)

This homecoming comes courtesy of the longstanding support of IPTV Local Programing Manger, Wayne Bruns, and marks my first return to Des Moines since an epic State Fair performance with my pals, The Nadas, in 2009. It is also the first time a Wagner has been broadcast live from Council Bluffs to Dubuque and points between. My grandparents, God bless them, would be proud. I think Mister Rogers would be pleased too.

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  • About

  • Benjamin Wagner first met “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” creator and star, Fred Rogers, at Rogers’ summer home on Nantucket, Massachusetts. His mother rented the cottage next door, so Mister Rogers really was his neighbor. On the afternoon of their first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked the young journalist about his job as an MTV News producer.  Wagner felt exposed and a tiny-bit embarrassed, a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world. Mister Rogers said warml ...
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