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Vermont Podcaster Puts Listeners To Sleep (On Purpose)

A reading lamp pointed during a made bed in a darkened room at a nighttime.
In each episode of the "Sleepy" podcast, Otis Gray reads classic literature in the most monotone baritone he can muster.

What do you do when you can't fall asleep? Some people meditate, others count sheep — and some pop in their headphones and listen to Sleepy, a podcast made by audio producer and Vermonter Otis Gray.

In each episode of Sleepy, Gray reads classic literature in the most monotone baritone he can muster. Since the podcast launched in March 2018, Gray said it’s been downloaded in more than 100 countries and it recently broke a million downloads.

A celestial purple and black background with the word sleepy in white script.
Credit Gracie Canaan
Vermonter Otis Gray, who produces the "Sleepy" podcast, said it has been downloaded a million times.

Listen to Otis Gray's conversation with VPR’s Mitch Werlieb above.

According to Gray, the idea for the podcast came to him after his friends told him they would fall asleep when listening to his other audio stories.

Gray said he had been told his voice was soothing, but never thought the podcast would take off like it has.

“I never thought it would be, like, a sleeping companion," he said of his voice.

Gray said, ironically, he’s not a good sleeper. He admitted that he's tried listening to his own show to help him go to sleep, but said he prefers sleep podcasts from other voices.

“I think that’s the real lure of this show ... that I never could have planned for: It’s that no matter how old you are, everyone wants to go back to, like, when they were a kid just being read to,” Gray said.

Besides Sleepy, Gray has another podcast called Hungry, which is described as being "about food, the stories behind it, and the people who make it."

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Bayla joined VPR in 2018 as the producer for Morning Edition. She left in 2019.
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