The popular radio talk show Car Talk came to an end in 2012 when the two hosts retired to “smell the cappuccino.” But that didn’t mean we couldn’t still get our fix, because NPR continued making episodes out of old recordings. Those edited and enhanced recordings will continue to be available for public radio stations, despite what you may have heard from other news outlets.
Last summer, NPR announced that it would stop producing “Best Of Car Talk” episodes (which consisted of archival recordings edited together into new shows) on September 30, 2017. In that same press release, the non-profit media organization clarified that the show would still be available for radio stations, saying “Stations interested in continuing to broadcast more traditional repeats of Car Talk after September 2017 will have the option to do so.“
So when I read from multiple news outlets that Car Talk would be going off-air forever after this weekend, I emailed NPR to see what was up. Their spokesperson responded, telling me Car Talk wasn’t actually going off the air, saying:
Each public radio station programs their schedules independently, the best of Car Talk will continue to be available to all NPR stations. There’s been some confusion, you may have heard that some stations are transitioning the program either to new places in the schedule or have made the decision to end the program after nearly three decades and replace it with something new. NPR will continue to distribute the show and stations that choose to air it will do so, maybe in the same schedule or at other times.
The popular car show, hosted by mechanics and MIT graduates Tom and Ray Magliozzi, got its start in 1977 with Boston-based radio station WBUR. The show was picked up by NPR in 1987, where it became extremely popular on the national stage.
The show—which helped people tackle car troubles in a ridiculous and funny way—has remained on air ever since. Even after the brothers’ retirement in 2012 and after Tom Magliozzi’s death in 2014. Recently, two members of NPR—KPCC and WUNC—announced that they will stop airing the hit car-related comedy show after this weekend. That tripped up a few websites, who took this as meaning the two hosts—nicknamed Click and Clack—would finally be off the air forever after 40 years.
The good news is that it just isn’t true.