Worth The Listen: Welcome to Night Vale

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

Welcome to Night Vale is a free, 20-30 minute podcast produced by Commonplace Books which is written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It’s a bimonthly news show by a (fictional) desert town named Night Vale. This town doesn’t quite fit with the way most people would expect a desert town to run. Filled with supernatural occurances, from a cat floating exactly four feet off the floor at a fixed point in time and space in the men’s bathroom, to a glowing cloud that drops dead animals from the sky, life in Night Vale is never boring.

The voice of Night Vale is the Community Radio’s host Cecil Palmer, who tells all of the news around town. There are occasional guest voices on the show, like Dana the intern and Carlos the scientist. They each add their own interesting twist to the show, and give you a different person to listen to since most of the show is Cecil talking.

The weather segment of the show has nothing to do with the actual weather in Night Vale. When the weather starts, it includes a song submitted by a fan of the podcast, or by the band of one of the producers of the show.

One of the best episodes that really exemplifies the fascinating weirdness of the show is the 25th episode, One Year Later. It’s the episode that marks the anniversary of the first ever episode of the podcast. In this episode, they discover a miniature city under lane five of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, and some Night Vale residents go to investigate. The weather segment is the song “Sunday Morning Stasis” by Joseph Fink. This episode includes two of the most popular characters, Carlos the scientist and the Apache Tracker, a man of Slavic origin who wears a racist Indian headdress and claims to use “Ancient Indian Magics.”

I listen to this podcast because not only is the sense of humor very unique and interesting, but it gives me a chance to think about the unknown. It’s refreshing to think of a town where what we consider to be crazy and abnormal is just an everyday thing. Normality is relative depending on where you live and who you live with, and this show is a way to make people think about that fact.

Isis Guignard
Isis Guignard

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