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The Creepy (And Funny) World Of 'Welcome To Night Vale'

A logo for the podcast "Welcome to Night Vale."
Welcome to Night Vale
A logo for the podcast "Welcome to Night Vale."

The Creepy (And Funny) World Of 'Welcome To Night Vale'
The Creepy (And Funny) World Of "Welcome To Night Vale" GUEST: Joseph Fink, creator, "Welcome to Night Vale"

You are listening to KPBS Midday Edition. The city Council announces the opening of a new dog park at the corner of Earl and Somersett. They would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the dog park. People are not allowed in the dog park. It is possible you will see figures in the dog park. Do not approach them. Do not approach the dog park. That is from the first episode of Welcome to Night Vale. More than four years ago a podcast about a weird fictional desert town full of conspiracies. The park became a surprise hit and scripts from the show's first two shows are input form called Mostly Void, Partially Stars and the great glowing core -- coils of the universe. For those who have only just heard about Night Vale describe the town for us and the show. Welcome to Night Vale is the fictional scripted show that takes place in the small desert town of where every conspiracy theory is true and people just get on with their lives from their. Into something that we've been doing we are in our fifth year and also been a novel that came out last year and we have life drawing shows and now these script Bucs. I guess Welcome to Night Vale is supposed to be scary and a little bit funny. I think a little bit of both in a lot of ways it feels like a good way to approach life. Comparisons have been made to war of the worlds and other radio plays that take up a fictional story. Do you have inspirations? We get comparisons to other shows a lot. I have listened to almost none of those. We take our inspiration from something much older, which is single person storytelling. Something like the campfire story. We come out of downtown York theater is a writing background and in downtown -- a lot of times people have no money because they're doing theater in New York City so they don't have money for sensor costumes or anything like that. What you have is just you have to have writing that is interesting enough that someone can stand on the stage just themselves and tell you that story and that story is interesting enough to take you somewhere and I think we wanted to take that same sense into podcasting. Single voice telling the single-story be interesting enough to hold you. You anticipated a question that I was going to ask later which was what is appealing about a podcast median? From the point of the listener I think it is a way of bringing in stuff from people would've heard of because of podcasting has a relatively low amount of gatekeepers and a low barrier in terms of cost and technical expertise. There's a lot of people that can create podcasts when they can't create a TV show or movie or anything like that. So it allows you to hear from people you would never have heard of otherwise making these amazing things of being able to distribute them globally. There's also something very old cliché but intimate about having someone in your ears will you are going about your life. You feel that connection with them that you maybe don't feel with people and other forms of media. There are a few regular features in the show including the weather. Let's hear Night Vale's Cecil Bob Quinn. I take you Night Vale to the weather. [ Music ] so the weather is a song? Yes, on every single podcast episode of our show there is a weather section and weather section is always a song by different artists. Why is weather a song? Because it is. I talk about this in the book. Talk about how that happened to come to pass and in my original conception of the show there was going to be a number of repeating sections of the always have the same format. I had this idea of the traffic section would always be like a monologue by different actor. The weather section where also be a song and most of those did not end up existing in the forms. The weather as a song stuck in I think partly in stock because my father was a musician and I grew up around music. Music is very important to me so being able to feature all these artists who have amazing music is really great and also allowed us to meet and work with all of these musicians that we want of otherwise met. Our touring live show brings a musician with us and I think it adds the show to have that. You've been doing old-fashioned radio theater but now your publishing books and in the books you list the song but the readers cannot obviously here it. Why did you want to put the show in a printed form? This is how it is written. It is a scripted show. It is word for word what we write. I think it made sense to was that we had more than two books that we thought people would be interested to read. Some people would want to be able to look back to things but also could be people that have no idea who we are and who are not into podcasting are listening to audio drama who this is a fun way for them to catch up because it's basically since it is not really in script format it is just throws on a page it is like reading a novel. It also allowed us to -- this behind-the-scenes commentary in the book as well as really beautiful illustrations by an artist for the name of Jessica Hayworth. So it made a lot of sense for us to do. How has that show changes in Scott Moore successful? In a lot of ways we still make exactly the same. It is still Jeffrey and I writing it. Cecil still records at home. ISIL put it together on free editing software that I know I do use. At the same time, it's been -- we've been in this or five years so I'm sure it's changed just a way would've changed even if no one was listening to it because we are different people and different places in our lives and we have different interests. Are writing continues to develop. At this point is a story that has gone a lot of places. So it has allowed us to have a much larger variety of cast members. I still think it is a show that someone could jump in with the next episode and figure it out pretty quickly because ultimately it is just living life with this very strange town. You've done nearly won hundred episodes. To have idea on wear the story will and him? It is not like a mystery that has a specific ending but it is a community of characters that I think have really developed quite a history and continue to change and interact with each other. The show cannot go forever and eventually it will die. In the meantime, we have no plans to end it or any plans on what it would look like. [ Music ]. That was Tom fudge speaking with welcome tonight they'll. -- To Night Vale. They will be at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore tonight. If you ever miss a midday edition show check out the midday edition podcast at KPBS.org. Be sure to watch evening edition tonight at 5:00 and again at 6:30. CY Stone brewing's new hotel is important for North -- economy. Join us again tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening.

The book cover for "The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe" by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, creator and co-writer of the podcast "Welcome to Night Vale."
Harper Perennial
The book cover for "The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe" by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, creator and co-writer of the podcast "Welcome to Night Vale."
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Night Vale is a dreamlike, desert town full of conspiracies, a mysterious glowing cloud and monstrous librarians.

The fictional town is the brainchild of Joseph Fink, creator of the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale.” Fans have downloaded episodes of the show more than 100 million times, following along as the town’s community radio station reveals more about Night Vale current events.

The show debuted in 2012, and started its first episode with a dire warning:

“The City Council announces the opening of a new Dog Park at the corner of Earl and Summerset, near the Ralphs. They would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park. People are not allowed in the Dog Park. It is possible you will see hooded figures in the Dog Park. Do not approach them. Do not approach the Dog Park.”

The show is meant to be both scary and funny, according to Fink.

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“It feels like a good way to approach life, in that life is often a little bit of both,” he said.

The show’s popularity has led to touring live shows, a novel and now a two volume collection of scripts from its first two years: "Mostly Void, Partially Stars" and "The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe." Fink and co-writer Jeffrey Cranor will speak at Mysterious Galaxy on Wednesday at 7 p.m. about the new books.

Fink said that after nearly 100 episodes, there’s still no end in sight.

“It’s not like a mystery that has a specific ending that we have mapped out, but it is a community of characters that at this point have really developed quite a history and a weight to them,” Fink said. “The show can’t go forever; eventually we’ll die. In the meantime, we have no plans to end it nor any plans on what that ending would look like.”

Fink joins KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday to share his inspirations and why Night Vale's regular weather forecast is always a piece of music.

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