The name Nightvale community radio may not mean anything to people in our tele/video entertainment driven world, but this fictional station’s twice monthly podcast is bringing back a new generation to the old favourite – radio drama.
For the early and middle parts of the twentieth century, Radio drama was a big deal. Before Television made the pictures a part of the story, people would huddle around the wireless and follow the lives of their stories, much the same way we do today with our favourite tv shows. My father was a fan of “Jason and the Argonauts” Even joining the fan club. International shows were available, like the adventures of “The Shadow” the superheros trained in hypnotism, or the long running Australian Classic, Blue Hills, would delight.
However in the 80’s and 90’s radio drama was something no one mentioned. You didn’t rush home to catch the latest episode, you didn’t talk about it at school with your friends or get banished to bed with no dessert if you spoke too loudly. Triple J and the Sandman had a stab, but who would listen to a radio drama when TV was so available?
Welcome to Nightvale has changed the playing field. Set in a fictional town, drawing inspiration from HP Lovecraft and Twin Peaks, the show, now celebrating its 2nd anniversary, is only getting bigger and drawing in a new, young audience. The USA and Canada shows sell out in minutes, a European tour rumoured and an Australian visit a dream for local fans. Tumblr is filled with blogs dedicated to the town and its main characters. At Sydney Supanova, there were no less than 3 Cecil’s, the shows announcer, being cosplayed.
The Millennials, Gen X, Y and Z are now listening to podcasts, downloading, creating and sharing all without knowing the heritage of radio theatre and probably not caring. It’s just another creative form in a web 2.0 world. Welcome to Nightvale will hopefully last long enough to make it to Australia on tour. The shows will sell out, and young Australians will pay good money to watch people read on stage. An idea so old, it is new again.
Do you listen to Welcome to Nightvale? What old idea do you wish was new again?
This post is not sponsored