Goodbye 'Car Talk,' Hello 'Everywhere' Radio?
By Sophie Schechter Sep 28, 2012 3:15 pm
The famous "Car Talk" brothers are shutting down their beloved public radio show, but this does not mark the end of the radio era, say executives.
That same year, WBUR, an NPR affiliate in Boston, asked the Magliozzi brothers to sit on a panel of automobile specialists. It was from this one-time appearance that NPR discovered the duo and their ability to mix auto advice with comedy. Soon after, the show Car Talk came to life. Hosts Ray and Tom took on the nicknames Click and Clack, in homage to the old, worn-out vehicles discussed on the program. Their ability to diagnose issues based on general descriptions and, in many cases, sound effects, was uncanny.
In their 35 years on the radio and 25 years at NPR, the Magliozzi brothers have become a staple in the lives of many radio listeners, even among urbanites who don't drive or even own vehicles. “Grim news indeed,” said one fan in a Tweet after hearing that Car Talk would no longer be airing new episodes come fall. He continued, “I am mourning Click and Clack’s announcement on several levels. Most obviously, the retirement leaves a gaping void in the NPR community.”
So what does the end of Car Talk mean in the age of new media? With the new horizons of technology fast approaching, can radio continue to stand up to the onset of online music services like Pandora (NYSE:P), Spotify, Rdio, iHeartRadio (NYSE:CCO), Amazon Cloud (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google Play (NASDAQ:GOOG), and iTunes (NASDAQ:AAPL), not to mention satellite radio? Or is the retirement of Click and Clack a symbol of the inevitable end for all NPR shows? And for that matter, what does this mean for the future of commercial radio?
For now, radio fans do not need to panic, says Amy Yong, Vice President Equity Research Analyst at Macquarie Bank. “The reality is you are only seeing a 1% decline in listenership [in traditional, commercial radio] over the last 10 years,” she tells Minyanville.
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