‘Car Talk’ Guys Are Retiring, But Their Best Stuff Will Be Rebroadcast

This post first appeared on The Two-Way, NPR’s News Blog on June 8, 2012


Ray, left, doing some dental work on Tom.


Ray, left, doing some dental work on Tom.

Click and Clack are going into retirement.

This just in from NPR’s communications department:

June 8, 2012; Our Fair City – Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, the comedian mechanics who host NPR’sCar Talk, will tell their listeners this afternoon that as of this fall, they’ll no longer record new programs. But their weekly call-in series will continue to be distributed by NPR drawing on material from their 25 years of show archives.

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

“It’s brutal!” adds Tom, 74.

The brothers have been taping Car Talk at WBUR in Boston for 35 years, and the show has been a staple on NPR Member stations for the last 25 years. With older brother Tom turning 75 this year, the guys decided it was time to “stop and smell the cappuccino.”

NPR will continue to distribute the weekly show … to stations across the country. Beginning in October, the Car Talk production team will actively produce new shows built from the best of its 25 years of material – more than 1,200 shows – with some updates from the brothers. The guys will also still write their twice weekly Dear Tom and Ray column, and put their feet in their mouths in surprising new ways on the web and Facebook. …

The brothers will mark their 25th anniversary on NPR this fall, and then put the series in the hands of their producers, who will continue to produce the show.

Update at 2 p.m. ET. “Don’t Retire Like My Brother,” Two-Way Readers Say.


NPR Social Media Desk intern Marissa Alioto, who pulls together the “From Our Readers” posts, sends along this:

Looking back on decades tuned into Click and Clack, many readers aren’t quite ready for their favorite road show to become an antique.

“It’s like my best friend just told me they are moving away,” wrote “Rick Koller.”

Valerie Smith” simply lamented, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.”

Car Talk reached listeners far and wide, but these same listeners also found ways to keep themselves within signal: “I’ll never forget stopping on the road because I was getting out of range of an NPR station and laughing to the very end of a Click and Clack show,” says “Bill Rost.”

Bear Betz” somehow managed to tune in “while hiding from oppressive heat in the West African summer.”

Even as commenters reflected on their own age, they just couldn’t picture Tom and Ray going away any time soon.

“I just retired myself, so I understand,” “Thomas Hilton” empathized — but added, “treat us to a special now and then …”

“For NPR to state, they will re-broadcast only the ‘best’ shows means NPR will broadcast all the shows,” responded “Ray DiCasparro,” and “tua07485 d” also sees a future with Click and Clack: “Thank God they gave us enough material to listen to and enjoy for the rest of our lives.”

Update at 12:55 p.m. ET. Finally, They’re Trendy:

The guys are now “trending” on Twitter. Our friends at KQED are storyfying some of the best.

Here’s one we like from @johnmoe:

“Car Talk is the bumblebee of public radio: 2 guys w/ thick accents laughing @ their own jokes & talking cars? It’ll never fly! But it flies.”

We’re also seeing some good lines in this post’s comments thread. Such as this from “DannyKing”:

“Sad to hear they are ending the show. These guys are classics. ‘And by classics I mean old.’ “

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: The guys’ blog post about what they’re up to is now here.

As they say, it’s “time to get even lazier.”

Car Talk can be heard on KPBX at 6 p.m on Saturdays, repeating on Sundays at Noon, and on KSFC at 9 a.m. on Saturdays.


NPR upgrades “All Tech Considered.”

(This piece first appeared on NPR.org on May 14, 2012)

Power up! Today, NPR upgrades its technology coverage, significantly expanding both the regular weekly tech segment “All Tech Considered” and its corresponding All Tech blog. A Monday standard during All Things Considered, the series will now offer more storytelling and analysis, and also feature interactive elements on-air and online that engage the audience with the latest tech zeitgeist.

The 2.0 version of “All Tech Considered” continues offering reports that explore the intersection of technology and daily life. Every Monday, NPR tech correspondents Steve Henn in Silicon Valley, and Laura Sydell in San Francisco, along with reporters worldwide, will keep listeners up to speed on the latest developments. The revitalized series kicks off today with reports on the Facebook IPO and the shake-up at Yahoo. Anticipated features include looks at the world’s largest social media market in China, a rural clinic in East Africa using apps as tools for health care, a social media advice column and a “tech attic” that spotlights the creative technology most people take for granted.

‘ “All Tech Considered” aims to engage and involve the audience in current tech conversations. Listeners should stay tuned for call outs soliciting audio comments that may be played on air and review submissions. In the meantime, visit http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered to submit tech questions, ideas, and feedback.

“All Tech Considered” airs Mondays during All Things Considered, NPR’s signature afternoon newsmagazine. The show is hosted by Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, and Audie Cornish and reaches more than 12 million listeners weekly. To find local stations and broadcast times for the program, visit www.npr.org/stations

All Things Considered airs weekdays on KPBX from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.and on KSFC from 1-3 p.m., and 6-7 p.m.

Top Ten Facts About NPR

This information first appeared on NPR.org

  1. From Kabul to Beijing, correspondents are based in 17 foreign bureaus. Domestically, there are 17.
  2. 959 public stations air NPR programming: 266 NPR Members operating 823 stations and 140 non-member public stations.
  3. NPR is 40: April 1971, NPR debuted with live coverage of Senate Vietnam War hearings. May 3, 1971, All Things Considered aired on 90 stations.
  4. Every week, 26.4 million people tune in to NPR programs and NPR Newscasts.
  5. NPR is the #1 provider of public radio content and programming but not all public radio programs are produced or distributed by NPR.
  6. NPR and stations are everywhere: download apps and podcasts for iPhone, Android and iPad; follow NPR on Twitter; be a Facebook fan; visit NPR.org.
  7. NPR is not PBS or public TV. Some NPR stations operate both a PBS TV station and an NPR radio station.
  8. About 93 percent of the U.S. population can hear at least one station that carries NPR programming.
  9. The federal contribution to public media amounts to $1.43 per American per year. For radio alone, this amounts to only 32 cents.
  10. NPR programming reaches more people than the total circulation of the top national newspapers.

Fallout of Apple controversy on “This American Life”: Sedaris now under scrutiny

This post originally appeared on the Current.org Blog on May 14, 2012

In the wake of problems with Mike Daisey’s Apple factory stories on This American Life, the work of author David Sedaris on the show “is undergoing new scrutiny,” reports the Washington Post.

“The immediate question,” notes writer Paul Farhi, “is whether Sedaris’s stories are, strictly speaking, true — an important consideration for journalistic organizations such as NPR and programs such as This American Life. A secondary consideration is what, if any, kind of disclosure such programs owe their listeners when broadcasting Sedaris’s brand of humor.”

Ira Glass told the Post that no one at TAL was concerned about Sedaris before the problems with Daisey’s reporting. “We just assumed the audience was sophisticated enough to tell that this guy is making jokes and that there was a different level of journalistic scrutiny that we and they should apply,” he said.

But now, Glass said three responses are being considered: fact-checking each of Sedaris’s segments, informing the audience that the stories contain “exaggerations,” or doing nothing.

Edward Schumacher-Matos, NPR ombudsman, told the newspaper he supports informing the audience. “When you have so much questioning of what’s real, fair, subjective and accurate in the news media, it doesn’t help to have [a segment] on a news program that gives no indication that some liberties have been taken,” he said. “I do think some kind of flag or label or introduction would be appropriate.”

This American Life airs on KPBX at Noon on Fridays, and on KSFC at 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro was honored for distinguished reporting from the world’s most volatile regions.

This post first appeared on Current.org on April 23, 2012


NPR’s Jerusalem-based foreign correspondent received CPB’s highest award, recognizing outstanding contributions to public radio, during an April 9 dinner attended by top pubcasting execs.

Garcia-Navarro reported from NPR’s Baghdad bureau from 2008 to 2009, and was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after last year’s uprising. She made in-depth reporting of events from the world’s most volatile regions a hallmark of her reporting, providing “powerful and sound-rich descriptions” of the conflict in Libya and other hotspots.

“It is fitting that Lourdes receive this award named after the famed war correspondent,” said CPB Chair Bruce Ramer. “We honor her dedication and service, as well as the courage of those like her who ensure that we are all informed about important world events and issues.”

“Oh, Lulu — you have made us so proud,” said Margaret Low Smith, NPR programming chief, in a videotape reel of congratulations from colleagues. “Your reporting from Libya was nothing short of extraordinary.”

“Never has covering the world been more dangerous, and more vital,” Garcia-Navarro said. She accepted the award “on behalf of all the foreign desk staff,” and acknowledged the support and mentorship of two foreign desk editors who were in the audience — Loren Jenkins, who hired her as NPR’s Mexico City–based correspondent after hearing an autobiographical story she produced about a trip to Cuba, and Doug Roberts, who “hates the spotlight.”

Prior Murrow Award recipients include Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent; Ira Glass, host and creator of This American Life; and Laura Walker, president of WNYC in New York.

“This American Life” report retracted from PRI

(This American Life airs on KPBX at 9 p.m. on Monday evenings, and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays on KSFC)

Public Radio International’s weekly radio show “This American Life” retracted a report on conditions of Chinese workers who make Apple products.

Said the show, from its website: “We’ve discovered that one of our most popular episodes contained numerous fabrications. This week, we detail the errors in Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, which makes iPads and other products for Apple in China. Marketplace’s China correspondent Rob Schmitz discovered the fabrications.” Schmitz is the reporter from American Public Media’s “Marketplace.” He found that Daisey’s translator disputed much of his account.

This American Life airs on more than 500 stations to about 1.8 million listeners. It’s produced by Chicago Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International. The particular program was downloaded 888,000 times, making it the most popular in the broadcast’s history. It prompted a listener to start a petition calling for better working conditions for Apple’s Chinese employees.

The broadcast, which first aired 1/6, focused on working conditions at Foxconn Technology Group. It centered on a monologue by Mike Daisey that contained statements later disputed and shown to be falsified.

 “Daisey lied to me and to ‘This American Life’ producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story,” Host Ira Glass said in the statement. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.”

After the initial broadcast focused on Daisey’s work, Schmitz began questioning its validity. “Marketplace had done a lot of reporting on Foxconn and Apple’s supply chain in China in the past, and Schmitz had first-hand knowledge of the issues,” said Glass.

During the fact-checking process, Daisey lied about the name of his interpreter and said he had no way to reach her, because her mobile phone number no longer worked.

“At that point, we should’ve killed the story,” Glass said. “But other things Daisey told us about Apple’s operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him.”

Contested information in the broadcast includes the number of factories Daisey visited, how many workers he spoke with and whether certain ones were poisoned on an iPhone assembly line.

 “He evokes this image of a very, sort of, totalitarian state, and there is some broader truth to the things that he puts in his monologue, but from what we found, there are many things that don’t just check out,” Schmitz told Bloomberg. “It is very compelling. It’s theater, right?”

Daisey, whose one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is currently running at the Public Theater in New York, responded to the retraction in a personal blog, saying, “I stand by my work.”

 “’This American Life’ is essentially a journalistic ­- not a theatrical ­- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations,” Daisey wrote. “For this reason, I regret that I allowed ’This American Life’ to air an excerpt from my monologue. What I do is not journalism.”

Daisey’s show centers on working conditions at plants that make products sold by Apple and other electronics manufacturers. Apple has begun subjecting factories of its suppliers to audits by an independent labor group following employee suicides and injuries and criticism from China Labor Watch, which cited instances of harmful conditions.

“I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey’s lies were exposed,” Louis Woo, a spokesman for Taipei- based Foxconn, told Bloomberg. “But I don’t think that the reports about this have gone far enough to find out what exactly is the truth.”

This article was posted by on Mar, 19 2012 at RBR.com.

Rosen gives thumbs-up to NPR’s new ethics handbook

This post originally appeared on Current.org’s Blog.

Media critic Jay Rosen takes a look at NPR’s new ethics handbook, released last week, and likes what he sees, particularly the handbook’s guidance regarding balance and fairness in reporting. “At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources,” the guide says. “So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth.”

“With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of ‘he said, she said’ journalism,” Rosen writes on his PressThink blog. “It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being ‘fair to the truth,’ which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.”

Rosen’s post also includes a brief Q&A with Matt Thompson, an editorial product manager at NPR, who co-wrote the new handbook.