As popular as podcasts are today, we shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that the subject matter of these short pieces of oratory storytelling varies wildly. And, with the internet being what it is, we REALLY shouldn’t be surprised to watch some of these podcasts get a little…weird. My favorite podcast of all time, and a program that has recently begun acquiring a margin of the acclaim I feel it rightfully deserves, Welcome to Nightvale is a show that’ll change your perspective on the medium for good.
If you were to follow the link to the community site for Welcome to Nightvale, you’d be greeted by the short introduction and mission statement for the program:
” WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide. “
Intrigued? A little frightened? Good. That’s exactly what authors Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor wanted. Featuring an incredibly unique writing style that is narrated to haunting perfection by Cecil Baldwin, the podcast sets its tone from the instant you see or hear anything about it. The tone of the selected music, coupled with professional-level sound effects, all blended with the narration makes this a program you won’t want to miss.
As described above, the podcast is based around daily goings-on of the fictional(?) town of Night Vale. Aired in an episodic format, each subsequent entry in the list provides another window into the continuing experiences of the town. A typical episode of Welcome to Nightvale will follow a relative pattern: weather reports, followed by a chosen song of the day, and capped with local news. The entire program, each and every time, is an absolute gold mine of dry, witty humor with an austere and chilling acceptance of the supernatural and unknown. There is a degree of subtly in the writing of Fink and Cranor that I have great difficulty describing. The words, sounds, tone of voice, and progress of events all mean something. Sometimes the show leaves you a tear-drenched mess of laughter. Other times, you won’t be able to sleep with the lights off.
If you’d like a look into one of the spookiest, funniest, most bone-chilling and simultaneously thought-provoking modern podcasts around, I highly (HIGHLY) recommend Welcome to Nightvale. Give it a chance, and it truly will take you off the deep end...Enjoy.
And stay very, very quiet.