In the small desert town of Night Vale, anything and everything is possible. Every conspiracy is true, while nature behaves in very odd ways. It’s a place where science and magic seem indistinguishable from each other. But the residents of Night Vale don’t seem to mind very much, despite being watched over by both a totalitarian police force and a vague yet menacing government agency. That is, if their community radio program is to be believed.
Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast presented as the live recordings of a public radio show airing in the fictional desert town of Night Vale. The show was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and airs on the 1st and 15th of every month (delays not withstanding). The fictional show stars host Cecil, voiced by Cecil Baldwin, who doles out news and advertisements to the audience of Night Vale. Each episode also contains a “weather report” showcasing a different independent musical act. Along with the weather, the show has intro, outro, and background music by musician and composer Disparition.
When I first heard of Welcome to Night Vale, from our very own Houdini, I was doing my yearly “read everything H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote”. He described the show to me as a mix of Twilight Zone meets Lovecraft, with a little bit of Stephen King thrown in. I was so surprised he hadn’t mentioned Night Vale to me before that I actually shook him. Needless to say, I went home and subscribed, and have been listening religiously ever since.
Night Vale has been running for a relatively short time, only recently releasing its 43rd episode. Despite that, the podcast has garnered the attention of thousands of listeners, reaching the top ten podcasts list on iTunes in July 2013. Hundreds of fan blogs are out there, fan art is plentiful, and the mystery and horror aspects of the show have created many fan theories and side stories. The show is so popular that it even prompted its creators to open live show tours, as well as pen a novel to explore parts of Night Vale that haven't been able to get proper exposition with the podcast. The fandom has a sort of hive mind that accepts pretty much anything the creators’ offer, likely because of the audio-only nature of the show. Fans have a more or less universal acceptance of what titular characters look like and of the general layout of the town, among other things.
Welcome to Night Vale is currently my favorite podcast. I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who will listen to me gush about how amazing it is. Although, is it really that good, or am I just under the control of the Sherriff’s Secre-
“Oh how nice of him to write about us. It really is too bad the Secret Police took him. I’ll just correct his grammar until he gets back. You won’t tell, right?”