Posted Jun 9th 2012 10:00AM
NPR announced today that Car Talk, its beloved radio call-in show, will cease recording new episodes in the fall. Brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi are retiring from the show, and while NPR will continue broadcasting "new" Car Talk episodes, they will be created from archived material. NPR says Tom, 74, and Ray, 63, will continue to write a weekly column and post to their website and Facebook.
Eric Nuzum, Vice President for NPR Programming, said in a statement, "We're certainly disappointed that they're not going to do this forever."
As we all are. It's hard to believe that there was a time before Car Talk. The show has been on the air for 35 years, 25 of them nationally distributed on NPR affiliates. For this 39-year-old writer, its appearance on my local public radio station perfectly coincided with that point in adolescence when cars became an obsession. In that pre-Internet era, Car Talk was about the only place outside of an actual mechanic's garage that a newly minted auto enthusiast could hear people talking about wrenching and gearhead stuff.
I have not listened to every show since that time, but I have never tired of the guessing game I play when each caller dials in with car trouble. Of course, as the years went on, the brothers spent less time talking about auto mechanics and more on humour and the relationships of their callers, but at its core, Car Talk was always focused on cars and the love/hate relationships they inspire.
The brothers' differential diagnosis was especially intriguing to me early in the show's run, as I probably learned half of what I know about auto repair by listening. That aspect of the show also provided my wife with one of her best opportunities to pull one over on me. Unbeknownst to me, she had listened to an earlier broadcast of the show on a different NPR affiliate than the one that I normally tune in to. So when I began debating with myself out loud about what might be wrong with the first caller's vehicle, she hinted at a solution that hadn't occurred to me, one that the brothers arrived at a few minutes later. Then she did it again, and again, and I became flabbergasted at how my wife – who had never so much as changed her own oil – could have gleaned so much automotive knowledge. When I pressed her, she explained, laughing at my gullibility.
Click and Clack, enjoy your retirement – you will both be dearly missed.
Read the official statement after the jump.
NPR'S 'CAR TALK' TO MOVE INTO SYNDICATION
Click and Clack Stepping Away from Mic this Fall After 25 Years
Weekly Show Continues Built from Archives
June 8, 2012; Our Fair City – Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, the famous comedian mechanics who host NPR's Car Talk, told their listeners this afternoon that as of this fall, they'll no longer record new programs, but that the weekly call-in series will continue to be distributed by NPR drawing on material from their 25 years of show archives. The note from the Magliozzis to their listeners is in full at cartalk.com: www.cartalk.com/content/time-get-even-lazier
"My brother has always been 'work-averse,'" says Ray, 63. "Now, apparently, even the one hour a week is killing him!"
"It's brutal!" adds Tom, 74.
"My brother has always said, 'Don't be afraid of work. Make work afraid of you.' And he's done it. Work has successfully avoided him all his life," says Ray.
The brothers have been taping Car Talk at WBUR in Boston for 35 years, and the show has been a staple on NPR Member stations for the last 25 years. With older brother Tom turning 75 this year, the guys decided it was time to "stop and smell the cappuccino."
"We've managed to avoid getting thrown off NPR for 25 years, given tens of thousands of wrong answers and had a hell of a time every week talking to callers," says Ray. "The stuff in our archives still makes us laugh. So we figured, why keep slaving over a hot microphone?"
NPR will continue to distribute the weekly show, an enormously powerful program in public radio, to stations across the country. Beginning in October, the Car Talk production team will actively produce new shows built from the best of its 25 years of material – more than 1,200 shows – with some updates from the brothers. The guys will also still write their twice weekly Dear Tom and Ray column, and put their feet in their mouths in surprising new ways on the web and Facebook.
"Tom and Ray have become icons to millions of fans, including me, over the last 25 years," says NPR President & CEO Gary Knell. "I'm thrilled that they will continue to entertain and engage today's fans and future fans for many years to come."
Eric Nuzum, Vice President for NPR Programming, adds: "We're certainly disappointed that they're not going to do this forever. But despite their protestations about work, they've earned this. And they're leaving us an incredible body of work that ranks up there with some combination of the Marx Brothers, Mark Twain, and Mr. Goodwrench. The work they did five and 10 years ago is just as funny now as it was then."
Asked if they would consider coming back at some point and recording more new Car Talk shows, or doing something else on NPR, the brothers engaged in the type of back-and-forth that listeners know well:
RAY: "It's possible. You never know."
TOM: "Absolutely not. My brother can go chase himself."
RAY: "Well, what're you going to do with yourself?"
TOM: "I'm retiring."
RAY: "If you retired...how would you know??"
The brothers will mark their 25th anniversary on the air this fall, and then put the series in the hands of their producers, who will continue to produce the show.
Tom and Ray ended their note to listeners with this: "Thank you for giving us far more of your time than we ever deserved. We love you. And know that starting this fall, for the first time, we'll be able to sit at home, laughing at Car Talk along with you guys on Saturday mornings."