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NPR's "Car Talk" Glides To a Halt 148

Posted by timothy
from the not-actually-a-complete-stop-mind-you dept.
stevegee58 writes "After 25 years on the air, Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers) are calling it quits in September. With their nerdy humor, explosive laughter and geek cred (both MIT alums) Tom and Ray will be sorely missed by the average NPR-listening Slashdotter." How many garages have names as cool as "Hacker's Haven"? I've long thought that someone should assemble a compilation featuring nothing but hours of their laughter. (Which will be available for sampling, since they will continue to play archived material for a long time yet.)
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NPR's "Car Talk" Glides To a Halt

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  • Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:32PM (#40264137)

    Nooooooo! These guys were brilliant!

  • Sad day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Igorod (807462) <mikebolger@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:37PM (#40264177) Homepage
    Sad day indeed.
    • Re:Sad day (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) * on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:45PM (#40264287)

      Sad.

      I'm often seen walking down the street listening to their podcast grinning like a total idiot.
      I have several years worth to catch up on. Maybe I better order something from their Shameless Products division before those disappear as well.

    • Re:Sad day (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hal2814 (725639) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:47PM (#40264301)
      Indeed. Their forum helped me find a local mechanic I could trust. I didn't always catch their show, but I'll certainly miss them.
  • Goodbye and good riddance to radio's most irritating show. What people saw in it I do not know. Two guys laughing like hyenas at everything each other says whether it's funny or not. Gimme a break!

    • Re:About bloody time (Score:4, Interesting)

      by makisupa (118663) on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:00PM (#40264409) Homepage

      I guess you can tag the parent Flamebait, but I think it serves a valid purpose. Not everyone loves the show. Some people are sickened by the thousands of hours of perfectly good broadcast time that are wasted on the hyenas in question each week.

      To quote Harry Shearer, whose Le Show followed Car Talk at the time, "Memo to the Car Talk guys: Stop Laughing."

      • I guess you can tag the parent Flamebait, but I think it serves a valid purpose. Not everyone loves the show. Some people are sickened by the thousands of hours of perfectly good broadcast time that are wasted on the hyenas in question each week.

        To quote Harry Shearer, whose Le Show followed Car Talk at the time, "Memo to the Car Talk guys: Stop Laughing."

        Preach it brother!

        I get that it's a popular show, and I actually liked it the first time I heard it. But once I noticed the incessant hyena laughing it just got old very quickly. It's like a loudly ticking clock. You might not notice it, but once you do it can be as irritating as all hell.

        • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:36PM (#40264627) Homepage Journal

          He's just bitter because he has forgotten how to make people laugh.

          Shearer hasn't been really funny for a long time.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by makisupa (118663)

            I'd disagree about Le Show, but that's beside the point.

            I understand that people like CT, but my local NPR (opb.org) pays to play them twice a weekend. I know from listening to other NPR affiliates across the country over the 'net that there are some seriously good programs available for broadcast - programs that I suspect would even cost *less*.

            My NPR affiliates love to brag on the diversity and alternative voices that they provide to the community, but on weekends they spam me with nothing but Wait Wait,

            • by makisupa (118663)

              Another argument - this show effectively became The Peanuts years ago. They could have been playing nothing but reruns for the last five years and few would have even notice.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          That is why I quit listening to this little Brit PC gadgets style podcast (Damned i wish I could think of the name, i HATE when i go blank like that) even though I loved the fact that would dish all kinds of info on CPU arches, new GPUs, all kinds of really nerdy tech talk because they got a new member and his ass laughs so damned much you want to scream "Just STFU you damned hyena, I'm trying to hear this cute but smart talk on geek stuff and the ONLY one laughing at your dumbass cracks is YOU!"

          so while

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          But once I noticed the incessant hyena laughing it just got old very quickly.

          Someone else can provide the specific details, but on a show in the past few years, there was a caller who I seem to remember had a delivery truck but somehow often ended up where there were lots of sheep or goats.. and the said animals would always freak out when he was playing Car Talk and the guys laughed.

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:33PM (#40264603) Homepage Journal

        It's a show about a couple of guys having a good time while talking about cars.

        It hits the nail on the head. I'm sorry people laughing cut's you so sharply. really, you should see some one.

        HAHahhahahahahahaha hahaha

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by fiannaFailMan (702447)

          It's a show about a couple of guys having a good time while talking about cars.

          It hits the nail on the head. I'm sorry people laughing cut's you so sharply. really, you should see some one.

          HAHahhahahahahahaha hahaha

          I don't have a problem with people laughing. I have a problem with dialog like the following (from an appearance they made on TV):

          "Do you feel anything coming out of that exhaust?"

          "Yeah."

          "HWAHWAHWAHWAHWA!!!"

          "HWAHWAHWAHWAHWA!!!"

          You think that shit from those jackasses is funny? I think you're the one who needs to see someone.

      • by DannyO152 (544940)

        And there I was back then listening to KCRW and enjoying both. I do have to admit that I preferred Joe Frank or Cafe LA as following programs. But then, I could hear Car Talk on KPCC.

        Fast forward and I listen to Le Show and Car Talk on podcast. Incidentally, one Shearer's best recurring bits these days is Karzai Talk, which is more a satire on US involvement in Afghanistan than one on Click and Clack.

      • by hey! (33014)

        Some people are sickened by the thousands of hours of perfectly good broadcast time that are wasted on the hyenas in question each week.

        To quote Harry Shearer, whose Le Show followed Car Talk at the time, "Memo to the Car Talk guys: Stop Laughing."

        I recently went over some Burns and Allen Show scripts, and discovered something very interesting: most of the jokes aren't that funny on the page, even though the shows are hilarious when you watch them. The strongest material is at the start and end of the routine, the stuff in the middle is usually just mildly amusing at best. It's all about timing. Not only could they do mediocre material in a way that made it funnier than it really was, but they made shrewd use of it, using it to keep the ball rolling

    • by smartin (942) on Friday June 08, 2012 @09:01PM (#40264809)

      I saw, or rather heard, two very knowledgeable guys helping people and having a good time doing it. Car Talk is/was a gem and will be sorely missed by the thousands of people that they have helped and millions of people that they have entertained over the last 25 years.

      It is too bad that the parent poster didn't call them to learn how to change the channel on that radio thing in the dashboard of their car.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe not the most irritating but close. What they did was kill every other serious automotive radio talk show. There used to be several other radio shows that covered automotive technical subjects in depth. These bozos may known their stuff, but their show is about informative as Funnest Home Videos and their great ratings knocked all other automotive shows off the air.

      Good riddance.

      • by swalve (1980968)
        I agree. Every time I listened, it was less in-depth than the "Goss' Garage" guy on Motorweek. Give me Paul Bryan any day!
  • At least we still have Crazy Ira and The Douche [wikia.com], right?
    Right?

  • Sadness. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iiii (541004) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:38PM (#40264201) Homepage
    This makes me feel sad. They were a great part of Saturday mornings. I know they are up at retirement age, but I hope they find some other projects that help them share their wit and wisdom. Click and Clack Rock.
  • by sk999 (846068) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:41PM (#40264243)

    I first listened to them on WBUR, before they were picked up by NPR. "Cartalk Plaza" was located on Commonwealth Avenue, not in "Hahvuhd Squayah", and "our fair city" was Boston, not Cambridge. Been a long time since I wandered those haunts. Click and Clack weren't going to last forever, guess it's that time to move on.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not entirely positive, but while I was at the 'Tute in the late '70's, there was a do-it-yourself car repair garage near where the Media Lab is today. I seem to recall hearing that our fair radio hosts may have been involved with that venture.

      • by bmo (77928)

        Why is this downmodded?

        It's true. They actually did run a do-it-yourself car repair garage, and it turned out to be a disaster for them.

        Crikes.

        --
        BMO

  • I'm amazed they didn't get arrested by the TSA or FCC or DHS. Or at least get hatemail from the same people who spammed a magazine that said "How to Hack your Computer" on the cover.

    • Re:Hacker's Haven??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr Z (6791) on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:24PM (#40264555) Homepage Journal

      Back in the 70s when they had said garage, a "hack" was someone who was unskilled or at least an amateur at whatever it was they were trying to accomplish. Hackers were just dedicated hobbyists. Their Hacker's Haven was a shop for DIY shade-tree mechanics to rent space at to work on their project cars. It wasn't until sometime into the 80s that "hacker" started taking on a different meaning.

      In any case, TSA and DHS didn't exist yet, they weren't yet on the air so the FCC wouldn't give two shakes. The most they might have to worry about is ending up in a Bufile at the FBI, which seems unlikely.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Maybe yo should step away from /. and similar sights and change your perspective. It's not nearly as bad out there as some people seem to think.

      Seriously, take a year off.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Watch the youtube videos of a mother being held in glass jails (her crime: carrying milk for her baby), or thrown to the ground by TSA, or other disgusting events, and you'll see how bad things truly are.

  • Dodge Dart (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:42PM (#40264253)

    I think that when they saw the Dodge Dart was coming back on to the market, they decided to get out of the business.

  • I just discovered the joys of podcasting their shows, which is a great way to consume non-news radio. This is terrible news.

    I'll really miss Tom and Ray. I even thought they were great in their Nova special on the car of the future [pbs.org]
  • Sorry, nothing too insightful to say other than how sad I am! Can we do a /. funeral? We could hire the Donwanna Behere funeral home.....Yea, lame I know - - see? we need them!!
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:52PM (#40264351)

    The mouth-breathers see "NPR" and have flooded every forum on the internet with their ass-hate "libtard yuck-yuck" comments. It's a great show, more for entertainment value than anything. Oh yeah, and NPR listeners are bar none the most well-informed news consumers in this country.

    My local station plays the show at 7 or 8 Wednesday nights which is when I usually catch it.

    • oops supposed to be "ass hat"; not even sure what ass-hate would be!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:14PM (#40264497)

      Can we stop using "mouth breathers" as a euphemism for low intelligence? There are plenty of people that actually do breathe through their mouth due to problems with their noses, but are otherwise quite intelligent.

      Thanks,
      An intelligent mouth breather

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @08:44PM (#40264679)

      Amen brother!

      And NPR is probably the closest thing to unbiased reporting we'll ever get in this country. The have stories that I never see anywhere else in US based media. And I don't know why it called "Liberal". On any hot topic, they make an effort to get both sides - and they don't have crackpots representing the other side either. When they cover an issue, by the time the segment is over, I very rarely have a definite opinion either way because when they've finished, I can understand both sides and either sides reasoning. They constantly have Conservatives on stating their views, opinions and their side. And on many occasions on some issues, I have taken the Conservative's side because of NPR's reporting; which I can't say that about any other US based news outlet.

      NPR - "Liberal" indeed.

      • I have had a few problems with some stories that had gross errors, but the bias is pretty level. With that being said I'm OK with the government giving NPR airwaves license free and even a mandate from congress, however I'm not OK with a dime of taxpayer money going to any broadcaster or news agency public or private.

      • by Nimey (114278)

        ...if you can say that Eric Cantor isn't a crackpot, anyhow. That's disputed.

      • And I don't know why it called "Liberal". On any hot topic, they make an effort to get both sides - and they don't have crackpots representing the other side either.

        The second sentence answers the implied question in the first. To the right-wing nutballs, accurate reporting always has a "liberal bias."

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          But this article is about Car Talk, a self-proclaimed "bad car show"... Not sure how that falls under accurate reporting. I personally couldn't get through the laugh track.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        And I don't know why it called "Liberal".

        If you can't recognize the liberal bias, then you're too steeped in it to even recognize it.

        On any hot topic, they make an effort to get both sides - and they don't have crackpots representing the other side either.

        Yes, in general they do a good job about that. However, whether it's the topics they cover, or the general disposition of their hosts, it's obvious a bias exists. I say this as somebody who likes NPR and has been leaning Democrat for several years now.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>NPR - "Liberal" indeed.

        It's not especially liberal. I'd say it was more right-wing than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, or CBS, and certainly left-wing of Fox.

        That said, their choice of topics show a bit of a liberal bias. Looking at today's stories:
        1. Air Pollution in America
        2. "An NPR and ProPublica investigation has uncovered the military's failure to treat thousands."
        3. Native American foster care
        4. "Two-thirds of the people stopped at the Mall of America were minorities, activity reports show."
        5. Mine sa

        • by cplusplus (782679)
          How the fuck is that a liberal bias in topics? Those are important topics to be aware of and discuss. Are you implying that conservatives shouldn't discuss these kinds of things?
          • by ShakaUVM (157947)

            They are topics that interest liberals more than conservatives. Air pollution should be a very obvious example of this, that you should be able to agree with me on. Certainly I think you should be able to concur with the statement that liberals worry about air pollution more than conservatives.

    • They themselves acknowledged that they host a lousy show.

      I mean im a fan. But what made the show listenable is that yeah. They don't have a lot of, on air at least, ego into their show.

      Think they host a lousy show? They do too.

    • by Mr Z (6791) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:14PM (#40265285) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, you can tell that the folks who complain about it haven't actually listened to it. But, you might guess they listen to rather more inflammatory material on the radio dial, judging by the critical thinking skills and general decorum they exhibit.

      • by TexVex (669445) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:59PM (#40265891)
        I listen to NPR during my daily work commute, and that has definitely made me much more well-informed about world news.

        I've caught snippets of Car Talk on the occasional Saturday morning where I'm out driving early, and it's always been entertaining. I'm no expert in cars, but I've replaced my own brake pads, changed my own oil, and recently even worked through a do-it-yourself oxygen sensor replacement. The show is both entertaining and informative; the hosts are witty and the subject matter is at the right level for someone who realizes that you don't have to get screwed over by a repair shop for a burnt-out headlamp.

        On a recent road trip, I found myself in a weird no-man's land somewhere in North Carolina where I could only pick up talk radio and country music. I ended up actually listening to Rush Limbaugh for a short stretch. I was absolutely amazed at the complete lack of substance in his show. It was nothing but taking a random fact and then spewing heavily slanted personal opinion about it.

        For those who choose to listen to that kind of crap over something like Diane Rhem or All Things Considered or Kojo Nnamdi, all I can do is just beg: Give it one hour. Any of those three shows. You will get twenty times the information and one twentieth the spoon-fed opinion from it than you will get from Rush.

        Listening to conservative talk radio is for those who can't be bothered to learn the truth or think for themselves. If you won't listen to NPR because you think it's "liberal" then you are doing yourself and your species a huge disservice, and you are worth nothing but contempt.
        • by HungWeiLo (250320)
          I'm no expert in cars, but I've replaced my own brake pads, changed my own oil, and recently even worked through a do-it-yourself oxygen sensor replacement.

          Then you're already in the 99% percentile of car knowledge in this country. You must be aware that they make cars now with no dipsticks, because people can't be bothered to even do that (or TPMS replacing the "arduous" task of checking tire pressure).
          • by TexVex (669445)
            I doubt the number is 99%. Otherwise, auto parts stores wouldn't stay in business and Car Talk wouldn't have an audience.

            The tire pressure monitors (my vehicle has them) are an interesting thing, though, because they don't tell you anything you can't see just by walking around your car and giving it a quick inspection before jumping in and driving it in the morning. If you're paying even the slightest attention, you can see that a tire is losing pressure well before it's dangerously flat...
        • Diane Rhem is the toughest interviewer I've ever listened too. Her lack of accepting bs from liars was awesome and very welcome.
  • by willoughby (1367773) on Friday June 08, 2012 @07:53PM (#40264359)

    After recommending muriatic acid to remove concrete overspray from a cars paint they added the advice to "test it out on a neighbors car first". I will really miss these guys.

  • by ztexas (1351217)
    I hate it when good radio programs go away. Dr Dean Edell, now this. I don't know what it is, but I've always felt a stronger connection to radio than TV. I guess it's that I'm an old fart. But radio is so much more personal with less glitz, extraneous distraction. At least I still have As It Happens.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Bias alert.

      Many, many Radio shows are annoying as hell.
      Many TV shows are good viewing and not about the glitz.

      • by ztexas (1351217)
        Time to call it a week. My wistful expression of preference has been met with a bias alert by a dad in Portland. Internet, why do I bother with you. Yet I've learned something. Apparently there are some good TV programs. Who knew. Eat shit, snark sig troll.
  • Makes Me Sad - I'll Really Miss Them!
    I've been listening to them since 1994 and loved every show they've done.
    They haven't lost a step, being just as funny, witty, and informative now as they were in '94.
    They deserve a long, fruitful, and fun retirement, cruising around in Tom's Triumph.
    Oh, wait, there is no such thing....
    Well, best of luck fellas and thanks for all the tips and laughs over the years!!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:19PM (#40265321)

    Here's how it worked:

    - You call the 800 number, describe your problem, if it sounds interesting the producer (Doug Berman) called you back and scheduled you for the show. So the problem is already known.

    - About Thursday afternoon before the weekend broadcast you called in to essentially a conference call a few minutes before your slot and got to hear the end of the previous caller. I suppose this is to get you in the mood, all it did is make me come down with a bad case of flop sweat.

    - You're on, you talk to the guys for five or ten minutes. They (correctly) guessed the solution to my problem pretty fast, primarily I think because they saw it before in their garage. My time was edited down a bit, but it was mostly verbatim.

    - They do not send you a copy of the broadcast, the only way I have one is because I recorded it off my local NPR station when it hit the air.

    That's the scoop. This is Tom from Michigan with a mysterious oil leak in his Z28 Camaro signing off.

    • by codepunk (167897)

      "They (correctly) guessed the solution to my problem pretty fast, primarily I think because they saw it before in their garage."

      True long ago I used to sling mean wrench. For amusement I used to ask customers what their cars symptom was then try to diagnose it before lifting the hood. My track record was probably at least 90% or better. We constantly seen the same common failures every single day.

  • I always enjoyed listening to Car Talk, Wait Wait, and Sound Opinions on the weekends. I guess nothing can last forever. I hope they do reruns, I'm sick of being bombarded with news.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:05PM (#40265541)

    From wikipedia, but I remember when this happened:

    "In addition to at least one on-orbit call, the Brothers once received a call asking advice on winterizing a couple of "kit cars." After much beating around the bush and increasing evasiveness by the caller, they asked him just how much these kit cars were worth. The answer: about $800 million. It was a joke call from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory concerning the preparation of the Mars Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) for the oncoming Martian winter."

  • I just don't get this decision at all. Can someone please explain it using a software engineering analogy?

  • The show will continue on NPR, drawing from the past 25 years of national syndication. They have actually been inserting a few older calls into "new" shows for quite some time, so little is going to change for the average listener. No, you won't be able to call them anymore, but it wasn't a live call-in show anyway...you called the 1-800 number and got a scheduled time through the week, and then your call aired on Saturday's episode.

    So no biggie for me; my Saturdays will still be all about Car Talk, Wait

  • I've long thought that someone should assemble a compilation featuring nothing but hours of their laughter. (Which will be available for sampling, since they will continue to play archived material for a long time yet.)

    The problem there is that it's almost definitely still legally copywritten material and therefore it would be a violation of copyright to sample their laughter and distribute it in any way, shape, or form without the express consent of the content owners, most likely being NPR... (standard slashdot disclaimer, IANAL, check with a lawyer, yadda yadda yadda.)

    Oh, and apologies for fueling a copyright flamewar/trolling in advance...

  • Click and clack have done 25 years of persuading Americans that the American suburban culture built around the gasoline burning passenger car is OK.

    As the years of the program went by, the program went from saying something serious and important every now and then to never saying anything of a serious, important or critical nature. They never had any guest of any status ever: No Ralph Nader, no critics, no real mechanic.

    That is the nature of mass media. Car Talk has been facilitating the acceptance of Ameri

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Click and clack have done 25 years of persuading Americans that the American suburban culture built around the gasoline burning passenger car is OK. ...
      That is the nature of mass media. Car Talk has been facilitating the acceptance of American automobile based culture for 25 years.

      Look, America has an automobile-based culture. Click and Clack aren't going to change that on their own. "The Hey People, You Shouldn't Be Driving a Car Show" wouldn't have lasted two weeks on the radio. On the other hand, a lot of people drive cars, their cars break down in various ways, and they can use advice on how to fix them. Click and Clack provided that advice in an entertaining way that helped to relieve what can otherwise be a very stressful situation for people who rely on their cars.

      But to claim

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

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