Within the Wires

Within the Wires is a dramatic anthology podcast in the style of epistolary fiction. In the first season, the listener, a medical inmate at a place called the Institute, receives guidance from the mysterious narrator of instructional relaxation cassettes.[1][2][3][4][5] In the second season, an artist named Roimata Mangakāhia communicates with the listener through a series of museum audio guides.[6] The third season, “a political thriller set in 1950s Chicago”, is narrated by the bureaucrat Michael Witten; listeners access letters and notes dictated to his secretary.[7][8]

Within the Wires
StarringJanina Matthewson (S1)
Rima Te Wiata (S2)
Lee LeBreton (S3)
Mona Grenne (S4)
Jeffrey Cranor (BB)
Formatsurrealism, science fiction, anthology, epistolary fiction
No. of episodes37 (list of episodes)
Original releaseJune 21, 2016 (2016-06-21) – present

The series was created in 2016 by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson (who also narrated the first season), and it has been published by Night Vale Presents since June 21, 2016.[9][4][10] During its run, the podcast typically airs on every other Wednesday. The first season ended on October 25, 2016; the second season premiered on September 5, 2017,[11][12][6] and the third on September 4, 2018.[7]


In an interview with CBC Radio's Podcast Playlist, Jeffrey Cranor explained that the initial idea behind the podcast was to use pre-existing audio guides as a template for storytelling, with the first season taking the form of a relaxation cassette program. Cranor had read and enjoyed Janina Matthewson's book "Of Things Gone Astray", and they first met when he messaged her on Twitter in Autumn 2015 inviting her to the live show for Welcome to Night Vale when it was touring through London. Cranor later pitched the initial idea to Matthewson and they began brainstorming story ideas together.[13] Episodes are outlined by both Cranor and Matthewson, before being written by one of them and then edited by the other.[14] All ten episodes of the first season were written by Cranor and Matthewson, with music by Mary Epworth. The first season was partially funded through sponsored advertising—a practice shared with other series under the Night Vale Presents banner such as Alice Isn't Dead and The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air).

With the release of the final episode of the first season, it was announced that those who donate $50 or more to the podcast would receive an exclusive prologue episode for the second season,[11][12] which was released on August 22, 2017.[15]


Season 1: "Relaxation Cassettes"

Episode Title Written by Date Running Time
1"Cassette #1: Stress, Shoulders[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJune 21, 201624:11
2"Cassette #2: Anxiety, Stomach[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJuly 5, 201622:28
3"Cassette #3: Insomnia, Feet[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJuly 19, 201628:18
4"Cassette #4: Sadness, Lungs[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonAugust 2, 201626:06
5"Cassette #5: Focus, Nose[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonAugust 16, 201629:30
6"Cassette #6: for Oleta[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonAugust 30, 201625:04
7"Cassette 7: Doubt, Head[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 13, 201628:03
8"Cassette 8: Awareness, Eyes[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 27, 201626:14
9"Cassette 9: Loss, Hands[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 11, 201626:19
10"Cassette 10: Horopito[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 25, 201626:16

Season 2: "Museum Audio Tours"

Prior to the season premiere, three trailers composed of preview segments from the season itself were released, on August 15, August 22, and August 29, 2017.[16] Donors of $50 or more to production of the second season received a special prologue episode, "Cassette 0: Karikari Contemporary (1969)", on August 22, 2017 with the release of the second trailer.[15] Every episode in this season features a guest star voicing the curator of the museum.

Episode Title Written by Date Running Time
11"Cassette 1: Tate Modern (1971)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 5, 201729:40
Featuring Mary Epworth as Fiona Williamson.
12"Cassette 2: Ulster Museum (1973)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 19, 201726:17
Featuring Sarah Maria Griffin as Mary Breathnach.
13"Cassette 3: El Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (1974)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 03, 201755:00[lower-alpha 1]
Featuring Anairis Quinones as Caty Velasquez.
14"Cassette 4: Bardo Museum (1975)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 17, 201725:14
Featuring Felicity Crentsil as Ama Cudjoe.
15"Cassette 5: Van Gogh Museum (1977)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 31, 201726:34
Featuring Lia Albers as Lia Bakker.
16"Cassette 6: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1978)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonNovember 14, 201730:40
Featuring Kate Leth as Zoe Tremblay.
17"Cassette 7: Sree Chitra Art Gallery (1979)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonNovember 28, 201721:05
Featuring Lily Potkin as Clarissa Nair.
18"Cassette 8: Ohara Museum of Art (1980)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonDecember 12, 201728:39
Featuring Julia Morizawa as Leah Akane.
19"Cassette 9: Metropolitan Museum of Art (1981)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonDecember 26, 201719:58
Featuring Leah Nanako Winkler as Elaine Hara.
20"Cassette 10: Karikari Contemporary Gallery (1986)[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJanuary 9, 201826:39
Featuring Janina Matthwson as Hester Wells.
  1. Packaged together with an episode of It Makes a Sound.

Season 3: "Dictation"

Episode Title Written by Date Running Time
21"Reel 1: July 3, 1953. Letters to Sima Choudary, Helena Wood, and Bernice Jones.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 4, 201818:45
22"Reel 2: August 23, 1953. Letters to Ursula Lindholm, Bernice Jones, and Vishwathy Ramadoss.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonSeptember 17, 201819:40
23"Reel 3: November 26, 1953. Letters to Sarah Chisholm and Reina Bachelor.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 1, 201816:59
24"Reel 4: February 15, 1954. Letters to Vishwathi Ramadoss, Leena Mäkinen, and Bernice Jones.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 16, 201819:01
25"Reel 5: March 2, 1954. Letter to Sarah Chisholm.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonOctober 30, 201818:45
26"Reel 6: March 24, 1954. For Amy.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonNovember 13, 201818:10
27"Reel 7: March 29, 1954. Letters to Vishwathi Ramadoss and Karen Roberts.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonNovember 27, 201819:36
28"Reel 8: April 20, 1954. Letters to Bernice Jones and Sima Choudary.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonDecember 11, 201817:55
29"Reel 9: September 13, 1954. Letters to Alejandra Reagan, Ursula Lindholm, Bernice Jones, and Sarah Chisholm.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJanuary 1, 201924:02
30"Reel 10: June 21, 1961. Letter to Amy Castillo.[16]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina MatthewsonJanuary 15, 201924:01


Within the Wires' Patreon features an exclusive season called "Black Box," and is released four times a year, on solstices and equinoxes. The season tells the story of an unnamed pilot (narrated by Cranor), and his black box recordings.[17]

Episode Title Written by Date Running Time
B1"Black Box Cassette 1: PHL to PWM[17]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson20th March 201812:31
B2"Black Box Cassette 2: PWM to MDW[17]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson21st June 201811:16
B3"Black Box Cassette 3: MDW to YYZ[17]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson23rd September 201814:30
B4"Black Box Cassette 4: YYZ to ATL[17]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson21st December 201813:43
B5"Black Box Cassette 5: HOU to LAX[17]"Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson20th March 201911:23


Within the Wires' first live show was performed at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, California on April 27, 2019.[18]


Marc Hershon of the Huffington Post positively reviewed the second episode, stating that it "has a distinctive flavor all its own" and that the show is "every bit as warped as [Welcome to Night Vale]."[2] Nathan Dorer of The Rensselaer Polytechnic positively reviewed the first season, finding that "the evolution of the podcast throughout the first season was borderline artful" and praising Matthewson's narration and the "effective" atmosphere of the podcast.[19] Steve Greene of IndieWire similarly praised the podcast as "an off-kilter delight" and observed that it was "something that can only exist in this medium."[20] Devon Taylor of The Sarahs observed that because the story is "parceled out slowly" it could "frustrate listeners accustomed to a more linear plot", while also drawing positive comparisons to Lost and the works of David Lynch.[14]


  1. "The Story So Far: Fiction Podcasts Take Their Next Steps". New York Times. November 11, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  2. "Podcast Reviews: Fake The Nation & Within The Wires". Huffington Post. Associated Press. July 15, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  3. "Fiction Podcasts Are Finally a Thing! Thank You, Sci-Fi and Horror". Wired. August 24, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  4. "'Welcome to Night Vale' celebrates fourth anniversary". Asbury Park Press. June 14, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  5. "The week's best podcasts: from Star Trek to a Serial-style whodunnit". The Guardian. June 13, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  6. "Within the Wires". withinthewires.libsyn.com.
  7. "Within the Wires". Night Vale Presents. Retrieved 20 Sep 2018.
  8. "Within the Wires". Podbay. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  9. "Within the Wires". withinthewires.libsyn.com.
  10. "5 PODCASTS TO HELP YOU SOUND SMART FOLLOWING THE RNC". Wired. July 25, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  11. "Within the Wires". NIGHT VALE PRESENTS. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  12. "Within the Wires". withinthewires.libsyn.com.
  13. Michael, Lindsay (June 17, 2016). "Within the Wires, an interview with podcast makers Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson". Podcast Playlist. CBC Radio. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  14. Taylor, Devon (October 10, 2016). "Within the Wires". Sarah Lawrence College. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  15. "Within the Wires". withinthewires.libsyn.com.
  16. "Within the Wires". feeds.nightvalepresents.com.
  17. Patreon https://www.patreon.com/withinthewires/posts. Retrieved 28 April 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. "Night Vale Presents: Within the Wires". Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  19. Dorer, Nathan (October 26, 2016). "Within the Wires aims for cult fame". The Rensselaer Polytechnic. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  20. Greene, Steve (September 7, 2016). "10 Great Podcast Episodes from Summer 2016: Subliminal Cassette Tapes, Kansas Sweet Crude and More". IndieWire. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
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