‘Car Talk’ Duo Retires After 25 Years
Tom and Ray Magliozzi are retiring their "Car Talk" act after 25 years but NPR will keep the show running indefinitely by repackaging old clips.
Tom and Ray Magliozzi are retiring their “Car Talk” act after 25 years but NPR will keep the show running indefinitely by repackaging old clips.
AP (“NPR ‘Car Talk’ duo retiring; reruns to continue“):
Brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi said Friday they will stop making new episodes of their joke-filled auto advice show at the end of September, 25 years after “Car Talk” began in Boston. Repurposed versions of old shows will stay on National Public Radioindefinitely, however.
The show airs every Saturday morning and is NPR’s most popular program.
“We’ve managed to avoid getting thrown off NPR for 25 years, giving tens of thousands of wrong answers and had a hell of a time every week talking to callers,” Ray Magliozzi said. “The stuff in our archives still makes us laugh. So we figured, why keep slaving over a hot microphone?”
The two men proved that public radio didn’t have to be stuffy, said Doug Berman, executive producer of the show. “Car Talk” began as a local call-in show on Boston’s BUR radio in 1977. It’s now on 660 stations across the country, with some 3.3 million listeners a week.
“The guys are culturally right up there with Mark Twain and the Marx Brothers,” Berman said. “They will stand the test of time. People will still be enjoying them years from now. They’re that good.” The staff has stored and logged some 12,500 phone calls since the show began, rating them in order of their entertainment value, Berman said. They will take the best and use them for the repurposed shows. Berman said he figured there was about eight years’ worth of strong material without the show having to repeat itself again. “I’m the producer of all their shows and I can’t remember most of” the calls, he said.
“Car Talk” has tested out the repurposed show and is convinced they will work. There’s a strong wish among NPR stations to keep the show going even if there isn’t fresh material, he said.
Berman said he knew the retirement was a possibility; Tom is 74. That didn’t stop Ray, 63, from mocking him. “My brother has always been work-averse,” he said. “Now, apparently, even the one hour a week is killing him.” In a goodbye message posted on their website and titled “Time to Get Even Lazier,” Tom wrote, “We’re hoping to be like ‘I Love Lucy’ and air 10 times a day on ‘NPR at Nite’ in 2075.”
I haven’t been a regular listener in years but it was a great act. And, yes, between the fact that relatively few listeners have been around since the beginning and the passage of time, I’d guess they can get away with “best of” packages for another 25 years.