Recommended Podcasts: Welcome To Night Vale

It occurred to me that there are probably some actors who are planning to audition for my podcast, Muckey Landing, who have never listened to a podcast before. To help get you up to speed, I’ll recommend a podcast from time to time that’s well-done and typical of the medium.

One thing I’ve found is that podcasts like Muckey Landing are few and far between: the vast majority of podcasts tend to be in a free-wheeling talk show format, frequently with guest interviews. Furthermore, the few shows that are actually scripted tend to be in the drama, sci-fi, horror and true crime genres. However, one well-known scripted podcast does deliver dark (very dark) comedy: Welcome to Night Vale.

Welcome to Night Vale is the podcast that first got me hooked on this new version of old-time radio. This comedy-horror-sci-fi mix is downright venerable as podcasts go, arriving on the scene in 2012. The premise is that you’re listening to a local radio station broadcasting from Night Vale, a town somewhere out in the desert Southwest. Your radio host is Cecil Palmer, who announces news items, upcoming events, and general goings-on about town. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that there’s something not quite right about Night Vale, in a way that’s rather impossible to describe — a rival town actually exists in another dimension, they can’t keep interns at the radio station because they keep dying off, and a glowing cloud of poisonous gas runs for the school board and wins. One apt synopsis described it as “the news from Lake Wobegon as seen through the eyes of Stephen King.”

These days, Welcome to Night Vale is not just a podcast: it has spawned several books, it regularly goes on tour with live performances, and it’s supposedly being adapted for television by the writer/producer of Breaking Bad. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but as one of the longest-running scripted podcasts around, it’s worth a listen. Download it to your computer, phone or tablet from Apple, Google, and other podcast download sites, or ask Alexa or Google Home to play it for you. Visit the Welcome to Night Vale website at http://www.welcometonightvale.com for more info.

If Night Vale’s a little dark for you, and you’re looking for something that’s in a more traditionally comedic vein, I’ll have a few more recommendations later on — or you can just wait for the debut of Muckey Landing!

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director