|For immediate release
July 14, 2004
Jenny Lawhorn : 202-513-2754
Car Talk Signs with NPR through 2009
BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, DC - No matter who wins the Presidential election in November, Americans were assured this week that at least they'll have Car Talk to keep them laughing through the next administration. This week, NPR and Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi agreed to contract extension that keeps the hit show on NPR stations through the end of the decade.
Car Talk is public radio's most popular entertainment program, airing on 587 stations with more than 4.2 million listeners a week tuning in for an hour-long tune-up on car advice and fun.
"We couldn't be happier," said Ray Magliozzi. "Doing the NPR show is absolutely the high point of my week. Of course, the rest of my week consists of having transmissions fall on my chest, but still..."
The negotiations were not entirely easy. "We drove a tough bargain," says Tom. "When we told them we wouldn't sign unless we got stock options, you could see their jaws drop."
"They kind of shook their heads, and played dumb," says Ray. "But you can't play dumb with us. We wrote the book on playing dumb!"
Kevin Klose, NPR's president and CEO, admitted to being surprised by the brothers' demands. "We didn't know quite how to respond to the whole stock options thing. At first we thought we would just explain to them that non-profit organizations don't have stock. But they got so belligerent about it, I finally turned to [executive vice president] Ken [Stern] and told him, hell, if they want stock options, go upstairs to my computer and print them some."
With the tense negotiations happily concluded, Tom and Ray are eagerly looking forward to laughing it up every week for the rest of the decade. NPR has distributed Car Talk since 1987, so the current agreement will take the brothers "well past our 20th year of nationally syndicated bad car advice," says Tom.
"What do you get for your 20th?" asks Ray. "Is that the carburetor, or the fuel pump anniversary?"
NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of more than 22 million Americans each week via more than 770 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information.