By now you’ve probably heard of Welcome to Night Vale, even if you aren’t entirely sure of what it is. Is it a book? A show? A podcast? Is it nothing more than that feeling of dread you get when you think you see something moving out of the corner of your eye when you’re at home alone?
It’s kind of all those things, really. Welcome to Night Vale has grown a lot over the years, but the podcast started in June of 2012. It’s a twice-monthly podcasts with new episodes that come out on the first and fifteenth of every month, and the show is essentially community radio for the desert town of Night Vale. The show has all the things you’d expect from local radio like traffic updates, commercials, weather, a community calendar, and local sports updates. Here’s what you need to know as you begin your journey through “a friendly little desert town where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while everyone pretends to sleep.”
The Voice of Night Vale is Cecil Palmer
While you’ll occasionally hear some other Night Vale residents in the podcast, the main voice you’ll hear is the show’s host, Cecil Palmer. Cecil has worked at the Night Vale radio station for decades (maybe centuries), and is always there to help the citizens of Night Vale. We don’t know what Cecil actually looks like, but fans have some pretty cool ideas. What you need to know about Cecil if you’re just starting the series is this: he loves Night Vale and he loves community radio, there’s a scientist with great hair who’s just moved named Carlos that Cecil’s got his eye on, and he definitely hates Steve Carlsberg.
Don’t Expect a Five-Day Forecast From the Weather
Like any good community radio show, Night Vale Radio offers its listeners a weather report. Although, it’s not so much a weather report as it is not a weather report. The weather on Night Vale Radio is a quick musical break where you get to listen to songs by various awesome and unique indie artists. After all, you’ve got a window to tell you if it’s warm or cold outside, right?
An Internship at Night Vale Community Radio Is Simultaneously a Great Opportunity and a Great Risk
An internship is always a great way to help prepare you for your career, and Cecil and Night Vale Community Radio are dedicated to empowering the next generation of community radio professionals with their internship program. As an intern for Night Vale community radio, you can expect lots of opportunities learning about office administration, the day-to-day operations of a local radio station, and occasional opportunities to assist in reporting on big stories. You can also expect to be subjected to occasional life-threatening danger and death, but man does it look good on a resume.
Don’t Enter the Dog Park
Like most towns, Night Vale has a wonderful dog park filled with high fences and ominous-looking hooded figures. Also like most towns, you should not look at, approach, or enter the dog park. You know what? We should probably just stop talking about the dog park altogether.
Welcome to Night Vale Teaches Valuable Lessons
Night Vale’s community radio is committed to keeping the town informed and empowered on living their best, municipally-approved lives. So it enforces the town’s vague but menacing government rulings that deem mountains and angels fictitious and bans the consumption and use of wheat and wheat by-products. It also fosters the healthy
hatred rivalry of Night Vale’s neighboring town of Desert Bluffs. Night Vale Radio also equips citizens to fight a variety of unique threats to their town like feral librarians, doppelgangers, glow clouds (ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD), literal five-headed dragons, and faceless old women who secretly live in your home.
You Can Also Get Your Welcome to Night Vale Live!
As the Welcome to Night Vale podcast grew in popularity, the brains behind Night Vale decided to take the show on the road and create live shows. At a live show you can expect the actors from Night Vale to read a brand new, never aired script live with live weather. That also means that unless they tell you differently, you can enjoy a Night Vale live show even if you aren’t caught up with the podcast.
Welcome to Night Vale is Also a Municipally-Approved Book
While the vague but menacing government officials of Night Vale frown largely on reading (and libraries/librarians), Welcome to Night Vale is now available in book form. The Welcome to Night Vale novel is a lovely purple book that features a completely original adventure not experienced on the podcast (though they do make the book’s epilogue an episode). While the book is like a live show and doesn’t require you to be caught up to enjoy it, I’d recommend waiting to read it after you’ve heard a few episodes so you go into your reading with an understanding of Night Vale.
I realize that, after reading this article, you may have more questions about Welcome to Night Vale than answers, but that’s kind of the point. The podcast is wonderfully weird. It’s a mix of drama, comedy, and horror, and it’s really next to impossible to describe to those who have never listened. The fact that it’s so hard to explain and label is what makes it so special. All you really need to know is it’s a wonderful, bizarre podcast, and once you start listening you’ll wonder why you waited to long. You’ll also start watching out for a man in a tan jacket and worshiping a glowing cloud (ALL HAIL). This is completely normal.
Do you listen to Welcome to Night Vale? What got you started on the podcast? How do you explain the podcast to new listeners? Tell me about it in the comments!
Image credit: Welcome to Night Vale