Popular Boston-born radio show ‘Best of Car Talk’ announces an end date

WBUR produced 'Car Talk' in its Comm. Ave. studio for 39 years.

Ray and Tom Magliozzi of NPR's "Car Talk" –Courtesy of Car Talk

After almost 40 years of hearing the weekly “Click and Clack” from your radio, WBUR’s Best of Car Talk is ending its weekly production in September 2017, according to a press release from NPR.

Since its beginning as a local show on WBUR in 1977, Car Talk has been a paradigm of innovative public radio content.

“In many ways, the Best of Car Talk is the best of public radio—honest, authentic, original, warm, interactive, broadly welcoming and unforgettable,” said Doug Berman, the executive producer of Car Talk, in the press release.

Car Talk began during WBUR’s first decade as a public radio station, and the show found immediate success, rapidly building a loyal Boston fanbase before the show grew from reaching a local to a national audience in 1987.

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In 1992, Car Talk won the prestigious Peabody Award.

“Perhaps more appropriately named ‘Zen and the Art of Automobile Maintenance,’ this entertaining and informative show takes us simultaneously under the hood and into the mind of its vast listening audience,” states the Peabody website. “But the real core of this program is what it tells us about human mechanics. It teaches us that we all need to change our oil regularly, flush our cooling system, and keep our wheels in balance.”

The show owes much of its longevity to its hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi, affectionately known as “Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers,” both of whom were born and raised in East Cambridge, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and got their starts as car savants by owning of a repair shop in Cambridge, according to the Car Talk website. 

The duo’s humor, charm, and familial banter made up the spirit of Car Talk for 35 years until the brothers retired from live broadcasts in 2012. The show has since continued weekly production as edited reruns with Best of Car TalkIn 2014, Tom died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, Best of Car Talk reaches more than 2.6 million listeners every week and has 2.3 million downloads a month on iTunes, according to the NPR press release. After September 30, 2017, some stations may continue to air a version of the show and it will also exist as a weekly podcast.

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