What does the man on the radio say to you? Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast created in 2012 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The bimonthly radio show centres around the fictional desert town of Night Vale, in which host Cecil Gershwin Palmer reports on the news and strange events that have occurred.

From mysterious hooded figures, a stationary floating cat, books that don’t work, and a whispering forest that murmurs sweet nothings into your ear, Night Vale has it all. Cecil makes sure listeners don’t miss a second of it. Bound by a strong sense of responsibility to deliver the truth to his audience, he goes above and beyond his duties as a show host, going so far as to anger Station Management by discussing things that are not supposed to be discussed, like the Shape in Grove Park.

If not for Cecil, how else would the citizens of Night Vale know what colour of unmarked helicopters to look out for when sending their children out to play? (The blue helicopters of the Sheriff’s Secret Police are the safest since they hardly ever take children). How else would they keep track of the drama that is the whirlwind romance between Cecil and Carlos, the scientist with beautiful hair? Without Cecil, they certainly would not be able to keep track of the intern death toll (currently at sixteen).

Not all is exciting in Night Vale, however. They report mundane things as well, such as the weather through the original music compositions of independent artists, comment on traffic, and, from time to time, describe the shade of the sky (a midday night sky that had grown cancerous with blinking stars). All very important information for citizens who are planning on spending a day away from the dog park where humans and dogs are not allowed.

The podcast also informs us about the popular food spots around Night Vale. The Moonlite-All-Nite Diner is a must-try. They have visible and invisible food options. If you’re looking for a more refined experience, Gino’s Italian Dining Experience and Grill and Bar would be a better bet. It’s the fanciest restaurant in town. Cecil recommends it.

Other than that, the community radio is ideal for sharing news with the listeners. This is how listeners find out about the adoptable kittens that wander around the community radio’s bathroom. It’s also a way to remind citizens that the government is always listening and watching. They are encouraged to enunciate their plans and intentions loud and clear so as not to cause confusion. Otherwise, they might meet their untimely demise through the government, or even worse, the faceless figure wandering the Night Vale Public Library.

A podcast rich in world building and coated in dark humour, Welcome to Night Vale combines paranormal activity, mystery, and satire, and is a podcast staple. At Night Vale, you don’t have to worry about any conspiracies because all conspiracies are true. All hail the glow cloud.

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