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"I was a villain on the blacktop playing four square at recess, a truth Eric made our whole class aware of..."

Micah Conkling & Eric Milner / The Chalkboard Podcast

Micah Conkling & Eric Milner
Kansas City, Mo. 

Micah Conkling and Eric Milner are best friends – at least that’s what they tell us. The pair run the Chalkboard Podcast – a show that puts a focus on pop culture with Kansas City in its heart.  Playlistplay loves this podcast, and we can speak from experience

Eric and I met in 6th grade…and promptly became enemies. I was a villain on the blacktop playing four square at recess, a truth Eric made our whole class aware of when he drew a picture of me acting like a tyrant for a political cartoon assignment. Straight out of the plot of a TV sitcom, our teacher paired us up for a science project (we made a paramecium with Funfetti cake) and we realized we had more in common than we thought.

Crafting cilia out of Twizzlers made us tolerate one another, but music helped make Eric and I best friends.

We bonded over P.O.D. (“Youth of the Nation” anybody?), went to countless Relient K shows at The Beaumont Club (RIP), jammed to Underoath in his green Ford Taurus and navigated the eyeliner years of emo music together. I thrifted girl jeans. Eric pierced his lip in my college dorm sink. We loved Taking Back Sunday.

As we’ve grown older (but not up), music has continued to play a key role in our friendship. He’s my favorite concert companion and musical sherpa. Especially now that I have two kids and all my 3 year-old wants to stream on our Sonos is the Moana soundtrack and “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”…I rely on Eric’s recommendations.

When Chance the Rapper’s mixtape Coloring Book was released in May 2016, it was all we could talk about. I’d never heard a collection of songs so potent and joyful or a record where each track seemed to have something different yet intensely important to say.

Our inaugural episode of The Chalkboard Podcast was about Chance the Rapper. We titled it “Hip-Hop Spiritual.” The podcast had been in the works for a minute, but after constantly streaming and trading Coloring Book lyrics over iMessage, we knew we had to chat about it on an episode.

We had no idea what we were doing when we launched The Chalkboard. We loved breaking down pop culture and believed there was real value in digging deeper into the albums, movies and TV series we were into instead of just bingeing then forgetting them. We wanted to create a space to share dope things.

The Chalkboard Podcast has transformed since those early episodes. We still talk about The O.C. and our favorite fictional Presidents and the Dashboard Confessional songs that made us cry, but our tagline is now “Conversations from Kansas City” and our focus is on interviewing people in our city who are making, creating and doing work to make it more beautiful and interesting.

But music helped make our friendship and inspired our podcast, and it will always be a part of The Chalkboard.

FAVORITE RECORD STORE

Mills Record Company in Kansas City, Missouri

FAVORITE CONCERT VENUE

The Granada in Lawrence, Kansas

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