Welcome to Night Vale is Good Listening

Welcome to Night Vale is Good Listening

“A friendly desert community where the sun is hot the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep Welcome to Night Vale”

Welcome to Night Vale is a free podcast that airs twice a month and is produced by commonplace books. The podcast is fashioned after a community radio station which gives local news and updates to a town called Night Vale, which we are only told is somewhere in the southwest United States. But in this community conspiracy theories are a reality. From government helicopters occasionally stealing children to mysterious hooded figures who live in the dog park, and angels who occasionally help replace lightbulbs everything goes. For the community of Night Vale it is perfectly normal to vote for Hiram Mcdaniels, the three headed dragon who runs for mayor, or to have a pet floating cat. Through the podcast listeners meet familiar community members. the show also follows the rivalry between Night Vale and Desert Bluffs. The rivalry exceeds even that of JA and Prep as Desert Bluffs purportedly transported a plane into the Night Vale gym to disrupt basketball practice. In place of a weather report, music by independent musicians plays for a few minutes.

Created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the main narrator is Cecil Gershwin Palmer who is voiced by Cecil Baldwin. Occasionally the podcast brings on guest stars to narrate. Fortunately, the podcast itself is not hard to find as it is free on itunes and podbay. All it takes to find the show is a simple search on the internet. Welcome to Night Vale quickly became popular and eventually became the most downloaded podcast on itunes with over 150,000 downloads in one week in July of 2013. More recently, because of popular demand, Commonplace Books has been hosting live showings of episodes.

I would recommend this show to anyone who enjoys conspiracy theories, satire, and rather strange humor. It is very well written and has the benefit of being easy to access. Anyone can listen to it and the episodes are not long. Each podcast runs about 20 minutes. Commonplace Books, the publishing group that created the podcast series, was created to help find talented artists on the internet and help them get started. One of the great things about the podcast is the fanbase. The creators have encouraged fans to make fan art and create their own scripts. This is one reason we are given no physical description of the narrator: it is up to the fans. Projects like Night Vale are great examples of the power of the internet. As the manager of commonplace books says on their website “It is a world full of risk, but with the possibility for rewards unlike any that have existed before. And Commonplace Books was made for exactly that world.”

Listen to the podcast (iTunes link)