So Tom and Ray Magliozzi just decided to have a good time. The result was "Car Talk," which shattered the perception that public radio is inaccessible to the masses and became National Public Radio's top-rated weekend show.
Brothers Tom, left, and Ray Magliozzi, shown in 1991, say they'll stop turning out new shows.
"Car Talk" made its debut in 1977 on WBUR in Boston after the Magliozzis were approached to field calls seeking automotive advice on a community radio station. The Magliozzis were such a hit they were offered their own show. Ten years later, they were picked up for syndication by NPR.
"Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent," said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers Magazine, which tracks the talk radio industry.
Repackaging "Car Talk" with material from the last 25 years, Harrison said, is a novelty "but it's better than it going away completely. It's a very smart idea to keep it going by reorganizing the material so that people can continue to hear it."