Welcome to Night Vale

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Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome to Night Vale.gif
Genre Comedy, fake news radio, surrealism, paranormal horror, deadpan
Running time Typically 20 to 30 minutes
Country United States
Language(s) English
Starring Cecil Baldwin
Producer(s) Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Air dates since June 15, 2012
No. of episodes 70[1]
Opening theme "The Ballad of Fiedler and Mundt" by Disparition[2]
Website Official website
Bandcamp page
Podcast iTunes Store

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale, reporting on the strange events that occur within it. The series was created in 2012 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, and is published by Commonplace Books. Cecil Gershwin Palmer, the host, main character, and narrator, is voiced by Cecil Baldwin, while secondary characters are sometimes voiced by guest stars, such as Carlos, voiced by Dylan Marron. The podcast typically airs on the first and fifteenth of every month, and consists of "news, announcements and advertisements" from the desert town,[3] located "somewhere in the Southwestern United States".[4] In an interview with NPR, Joseph Fink said that he "came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."[5]


Every episode of the podcast includes a piece of music as "the weather", each by a different independently published artist.[6] The theme and background instrumental music to the series were created by the musician and composer Disparition.[7] In July 2013, Welcome to Night Vale became the most downloaded podcast on iTunes.[8]

In October 2013, Welcome to Night Vale began presenting live shows which continue into 2014 with a West Coast Tour.[9] In addition, it was announced during the episode "Auction" that in 2015 there will be a novel. Fink stated that "it's going to have all the characters and weird atmosphere that you want from Night Vale, with a brand new story that explores parts of Night Vale that we just haven't been able to get into with the podcast."[10][11] When the book became available for pre-order the following March, it became Amazon's #2 title seven months in advance of the release date.[12]

Guest stars and guest writers[edit]

Guest stars include Kevin R. Free as Kevin, Cecil's Desert Bluffs counterpart; Mara Wilson as the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home;[13] Jasika Nicole as Intern Dana;[14] Jackson Publick as Hiram McDaniels, the five-headed dragon;[15] Dylan Marron as Carlos the scientist;[16] Hal Lublin as Steve Carlsberg; Lauren Sharpe as StrexCorp executive and program director Lauren Mallard; and Marc Evan Jackson as local billionaire Marcus Vanston.[17] James Urbaniak guest-starred in the LA Podcast Festival performance as Intern Leland.[18] Molly Quinn appeared as Fey in the March 2014 episode "Numbers." Symphony Sanders appeared as Tamika Flynn, the child anarchist, in the episode "Old Oak Doors." Wil Wheaton voiced Earl Harlan in "Homecoming."[19] In the US tour; The Investigators, Joseph Fink voiced Intern Joseph Fink.

Zack Parsons, who wrote alongside Fink at SomethingAwful.com, has co-written three episodes: The Traveler, A Beautiful Dream, and The Deft Bowman.[20][21] The Auction was co-written by Glen David Gold,[11] who also contributed material to The Woman from Italy.[22]


The show has been described as "the news from Lake Wobegon as seen through the eyes of Stephen King", and Christopher Wynn of The Dallas Morning News characterized it as "NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies."[3] The Daily Dot‍ '​s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw compared the podcast to being "caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and 'Tales of the Unexplained'" and said that it is "well worth a listen—although possibly not after dark, if you live in a small town yourself."[23] Colin Griffith of The AV Club said the show is "really well done, offering a surrealist/absurdist (and occasionally existentialist) take on community radio, with dispatches from the small, delectably nightmarish desert town of Night Vale."[24] Writing for TechGeek, Erin Hill considered the uniqueness of the podcast to be "its presentation of what is ordinary", adding that "many of the things that Cecil reports on goes against our idea of normal, but [everything] is presented in a manner that makes it seem mundane."[25]

In July 2013, Welcome to Night Vale was ranked second on the top 10 audio podcasts list on iTunes, behind radio program This American Life.[26] During the same month, it surpassed This American Life to become first on the podcasts list, having received 150,000 downloads during a single week.

In December 2013, The AV Club ranked the show 7th on its Best Podcasts of 2013 list.[27]

Co-producer Jeffrey Cranor attributed this spike in popularity to both Tumblr and fans of the television series Hannibal. Max Sebela, a creative strategist for Tumblr, stated that the fan following began to "spiral out of control" beginning on July 5, with that week having "20,000-plus posts about 'Night Vale,' with 183,000-plus individual blogs participating in the conversation, and 680,000-plus notes."[8] The Twitter account for the podcast has been noted as having more than 20,000 followers by July 2013.[7] The show has a fan following on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, with fan fiction and fan art having a particular focus on the romantic relationship between the show's narrator character and the scientist Carlos.[28] Fans have published "fanscripts," transcripts of the podcast, in order to widen the accessibility of Welcome to Night Vale.[29]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Night Vale". Podbay. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE". Disparition. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Wynn, Christopher (October 22, 2012). "Welcome to Night Vale: Eerie, witty podcast has Texas ties". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ D'Amico, Anthony (May 26, 2013). "Celebrating Their Corpse-Strewn Future: Welcome to Night Vale". Brainwashed (Brainwashed Inc.). Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ Lyden, Jacki (August 31, 2013). "Welcome To 'Night Vale' — Watch Out For The Tarantulas". NPR. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ Waggoner, Nate (February 19, 2013). "6 Podcasts You Really Should Be Listening To". KQED. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Roberts, Amelia (July 28, 2013). "10 Reasons to Listen to Welcome to Night Vale". The Artifice. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Carlson, Adam (July 24, 2013). "America's Most Popular Podcast: What The Internet Did To "Welcome to Night Vale"". The Awl. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Live Shows". Commonplace Books. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Popular Podcast 'Night Vale' Coming Out as a Book". Associated Press. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Fink, Joseph. "The Auction". Welcome to Night Vale. Commonplace Books. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  12. ^ http://hellogiggles.com/podcast-welcome-to-night-vale-bookstore/
  13. ^ "31 - A Blinking Light up on the Mountain from Welcome to Night Vale on podbay: open podcasting". Podbay.fm. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  14. ^ Dobbs, Sarah. "Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor on Welcome To Night Vale". Features. Den of Geek. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Yellow Helicopters (episode description)". Welcome to Night Vale. Episode 32. Commonplace Books. 
  16. ^ Adri M (2014-01-02). "Dylan Marron: "Night Vale" Has a New Carlos". thebacklot.com. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  17. ^ ""The Debate" - Live at Roulette". Bandcamp. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  18. ^ Davis, Lauren. "Watch the Welcome to Night Vale podcast live show now!". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Davis, Lauren. "NIGHT VALE NIGHTMARES #2: "We Must Give Praise"". io9. Fangoria. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Fink, Joseph. "Welcome to Night Vale: NPR from the Twilight Zone". Something Awful Forums. SomethingAwful LLC. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to Night Vale : 40 - The Deft Bowman". Nightvale.libsyn.com. 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  22. ^ Fink, Joseph. "The Woman from Italy". Welcome to Night Vale. Commonplace Books. 
  23. ^ Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (June 10, 2013). ""Welcome to Night Vale," where David Lynch meets "The Twilight Zone"". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Griffith, Colin (March 22, 2013). "Dick Van Dyke continues WTF’s "comedy legends" streak and Dane Cook makes it weird". The AV Club. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  25. ^ Hill, Erin (August 11, 2013). "Welcome to Night Vale: What is Normal?". Techgeek. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  26. ^ Wynn, Christopher (July 15, 2013). "‘Night Vale’ podcast with Texas ties closes in on ‘This American Life’ on iTunes". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  27. ^ Anthony, David (2013-12-04). "The best podcasts of 2013 · Best of · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  28. ^ Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (July 23, 2013). "In the surreal shadows of "Night Vale," a new fandom lurks". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  29. ^ Romano, Aja (August 5, 2013). "Fan-created transcripts make it even easier to get into "Night Vale"". The Daily Dot. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

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