WBUR

‘Car Talk’ Guys, On WBUR For 35 Years, Will Retire

Ray and Tom Magliozzi, of 'Car Talk' (Richard Howard)

Ray and Tom Magliozzi, of 'Car Talk' (Richard Howard)

After 35 years on our air, two of WBUR’s most famous names — and voices — have announced that “it’s time to stop and smell the cappuccino.”

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, of Car Talk, will no longer produce new programs, as of this fall.

“My brother has always been ‘work-averse,’ ” said Ray, 63, in a statement from NPR. “Now, apparently, even the one hour a week is killing him!”

“It’s brutal!” said Tom, 74.

The comic mechanic brothers added on the show blog:

TOM: And with Car Talk celebrating its 25th anniversary on NPR this fall (35th year overall, including our local years at WBUR)…

RAY: …and my brother turning over the birthday odometer to 75, we’ve decided that it’s time to stop and smell the cappuccino.

(Richard Howard)

(Richard Howard)

Newly Produced Rebroadcasts, Using Archives

However, beginning in October the show “will continue to be distributed by NPR drawing on material from their 25 years of show archives,” according to the statement. That’s more than 1,200 shows.

“We can produce a great-sounding, fresh Car Talk show every week from the archives,” said Doug Berman, the show’s producer, in a letter to NPR. “[Its performance] will match the performance of the existing show.

“Basically, you’ll be getting a fresh, new, ‘Best of Car Talk’ to air every Saturday morning,” Berman added later in the letter.

He said that the existing producers will remain producing the show.

The brothers added that they’ll “still be contributing to our web site regularly, writing our weekly ‘Dear Tom and Ray’ column.”

Lots Of Reaction

In a statement, WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz said, in part:

… I want to express my gratitude to Tom and Ray and Doug Berman and his whole team. Their extraordinary work and endless hours of wit and wisdom and entertainment have delighted audiences across the country and the world. As most of you know, Car Talk began as a little experiment on WBUR and reached national distribution when Susan Stamberg heard about it and put a regular segment on Weekend Edition. The rest is history…. [Note: The show is now on 660 stations nationwide, with 3.3 million weekly listeners.]

We’re pleased that Car Talk with continue to be produced from its archival material. Doug assures me that there are years’ worth of material that have yet to be aired.

NPR CEO Gary Knell, to Poynter:

Tom and Ray have become icons to millions of fans, including me, over the last 25 years. I’m thrilled that they will continue to entertain and engage today’s fans and future fans for many years to come.

On Twitter, the reaction to the show’s announcement has been a mix of shock and sadness. Here’s a sampling (And here’s a Storify of much more Twitter reaction, and Here & Now has even more):

@Matt_PC: CAR TALK IS ENDING. THIS MUST BE MOURNED IN ALL CAPS.

@PR_SarahG: Nooo! @CarTalk shuts up after 35 years on @WBUR?!? Reruns are great, but I’m gonna miss new Click & Clack tomfoolery :(

@Bosrunner: Oh no! @wbur just announced that the car talk guys are retiring! My dad is going to be so bummed

Following the outpouring of reaction, the show responded, on Twitter, in characteristic fashion:

Thanks to all for the nice comments, but this isn’t a wake! We won’t be taping new shows, but we will still be polluting the airwaves!

Want to share your thoughts? Leave them in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

And here’s a link to Car Talk’s “classic” shows.

Update at 3:15 p.m.: The Nieman Journalism Lab reports on the history of the show:

It would air for a decade before WBUR hired [producer Doug] Berman to create a national pilot.

“I think this show benefited from 10 years of benign neglect in a lot of ways,” Berman told me. “They didn’t know what to do, and they weren’t getting paid. And they didn’t think anybody was listening. So they were just themselves.”

Update at 9 p.m.: Here’s WBUR’s feature on the news, reported by Monica Brady-Myerov.

More:

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  • JEFF GELLER

    Thanks for making me smile on Saturday mornings; and I still think the inspiration for the Honda Element was the Dodge B2B panel truck of the 50s.

  • X-Ray

    Is the Good News Garage shutting its doors too?

  • Yukse

    come on guys.. our sundays will be empty without your show.. :(

  • vito33

    Usually when someone retires, he has the common human courtesy to GO AWAY! But you guys? Nooooooooooooooooooo. According to this story you’ll still be contaminating the airwaves, like poltergeists, without even having to get yourselves out of bed!

    Seriously though, I’ve been listening almost as long as you’ve been on and it’s been nice looking forward to a guaranteed laugh every Saturday morning and yes, good car advice too.  And I’m sure the re-mixed shows will be great because you have a world-class production team.

    So thanks and congratulations on 35 years, (Wow! Do you realize how significant that is?), and good luck with all you do in the future.

    Enjoy that cappuccino.

    Sincerely,

    Zhrtpkj Kwhfgsnk,

    Bosnia

    • Yaspar

      Hahaha! Vowels For Bosnia!

  • Dave

    Car Talk has been part of my weekends for the past 20 years.   Alas, all good things must end.   Thanks guys, for the entertainment, the automotive advice, and a lot of laughs!

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    How very sad, you guys were great. I still have my parking pass for Car Talk Plaza on my Honda Element. I’ll never forget meeting you guys, and how you tried to get my service dog to bite you brother

  • Guest

    Thank you so much for all the years of laughter. I have listened to your show on weekends for decades and will miss it greatly. Enjoy the heck out of your retirement.
    Thanks for the education and mostly the laughter.

  • nj_v2

    Retiring? They only work—if you can even call what they do work—one day a week! Don’t you have to have a real job to be able to retire?

    Back in the old days, before the show went national and all the fame went to their heads, i actually got on the show a couple of times. I even remember one of questions, though not the answer. I had a Honda Civic Wagon at the time, and the timing kept wandering, even after it was reset. I was driving around with a timing light for a while in case i had to hop out and make an adjustment.

    Dang, this is a sad day. The weekend radio landscape will never be the same. “Archived material” just won’t do it. All i ask is that they tell the plywood story one more time.

    Thanks, guys, and enjoy your “retirement.”

  • Tilers64600

    Where will I get my weekly humor therapy???

  • Zarrow family

    When our daughter was young, the family rule was that dinner time was time for conversation, no TV or radio allowed — with one exception. Sunday evenings Tom and Ray provided the conversation, and we listened and learned and laughed ourselves silly. Thanks, guys, for a great 35 years.

  • X-Ray

    Back 35 years ago, it was my habit to go out on Saturday mornings when
    Click & Clack followed Shop Talk on WBUR. So I recorded the programs on a
    big 10 inch recorder with a timer. That introduced me electronics and recording
    instrumentation. I still have some of those recordings. Goodbye, thanks and Good
    Luck to C & C.

  • Elmira

    Will definitely miss Ray and Tom live.  They are always good for a hearty laugh and more!

  • rose

    I would like to solve the puzzle of the week/ The cop saw an oil change sticker on the car door and knew the man had been driving Rose of Agawam

  • Ned Blackk

    I started listening to Tom and Ray when I was a teenager; I’m in my 50′s now.  Everything I know about cars, I learned from Car Talk.  This means that I’m either pretty sharp under the hood, or pretty darn pathetic.  As to which is true, you may ask anyone who knows me–except my wife.  

    Click & Clack have helped me keep a smile on my face through some pretty rough times.  I’m pretty sure that countless listeners would agree with that sentiment.  

    All I can say is that the Puzzle Of The Week had better not be retiring too; otherwise, I may have to grab a spork, and read up on how to properly perform a Hari Kari ceremony–with duck sauce, of course.  

    You have made my life a better one, gentlemen.   For that, you have my enduring gratitude.  I shall continue to listen, and pretend that you are broadcasting live.   I mean, if my wife can pretend all these years, I suppose I can too.  

    Fare thee well, my friends, fare thee well.

  • Dyerkutn

    My mom used to take her car to your shop before you started on radio and even though I have no interest in cars, I started listening to you when you were still local yokels to keep me entertained on my Saturday morning errands. After all of these years, you guys deserve to retire. I look forward to many more Saturday morning reruns.

  • Dan

    Love you guys and the disguised brilliance you have brought to all of us in the practical world of car repair, life’s challenges and humor!! 

  • Jim

    This is so bad. There are billions of supporters out there! Everyone knows the car guys. But nobody knows they’re retiring. I can’t stand it! 

  • Beautifulsea21

    funny wonderful judicious and funny
    what the world needs more of hands down
    yes? yes..happy if they’re happy as they
    ve made us all so happy w/ 
    car talk’ one of a kind fellows god speed boys!

  • Alan Chesen

    end of an era.  they have enlightened my Saturday mornings for years.  I wish them well.

  • http://twitter.com/RyeDano Robbie Reilly

    Oh, this is depressing. So many of our fixed stars have vanished from sight. I can’t believe Car Talk and Tom and Ray will be next.  I’ve been a listener and a loyal fan since those weekends working at Vanderbilt Hall at Harvard Med in Boston when the first strings of the banjo made me lower the volume on my radio, for fear the staff would think I was listening to some backwoods country music station or worse yet I was a knuckle dragging grease monkey in disguise. Back then, only denizens of that ‘fair city’ heard the show on the Boston University radio station WBUR and I thought I was one of the only ones until one of the Chief heart surgeons heard it before I could lower the volume and said, “Oh, Car Talk! I love that show!”

  • MrJids

    Say it ain’t so! Please

  • Mike

    I’m really sad to hear this! Tom and Ray made weekend errands and driving fun.  There is something special about knowing that I could have called in to the program and received help and knowing that the others calling in were live. We’ll miss you Tom and Ray!

  • Jamie W.

    I’ve listened to Car Talk since I can remember listening to anything. I’m proud for the guys that they get to chill out now. So sad for us, as we are left with Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shores as entertainment. Click/Clack, we love you so so much. You have no peers, no equals.

  • Yaspar

    The Tappet Brothers are a national treasure. Saturday mornings will never be the same.

  • Dutch46

    Car Talk has been the highlight of my week on Saturday mornings for years! My wife even loves it, and there is no talking allowed during that hour. Boy, will we miss Tom & Ray. Thanks, Guys. So glad Doug Berman will keep them on the air with recorded shows.

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