By Jay Ramey, Crain News Service
BOSTON — Tom Magliozzi, one of the hosts of National Public Radio's long-running "Car Talk" call-in car advice show, died Nov. 3 from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Magliozzi, who co-hosted the popular radio show with his younger brother Ray, was 77.
A native of East Cambridge, Mass., Tom Magliozzi attended MIT before spending six months in the Army Reserve. He would later go on to earn a degree from MIT's Sloan School of Management, also earning an MBA from Northeastern University, later going to work for Sylvania Electrical Products in nearby Woburn, Mass., as an engineer.
But the elder Mt. Magliozzi didn't stay at the company long, quitting to open a do-it-yourself automotive repair shop called Hacker's Heaven along with Ray. The business rented equipment and work space to those who wanted to work on their own cars.
The duo would later rename the shop the Good News Garage and start performing the work themselves as the earlier concept did not sustain itself as a business.
A chance appearance by Tom on a local NPR radio panel of car experts in 1977 led to the eventual creation of the brothers' own show, which would go on to run on the local NPR station in Boston. Listeners could call in and describe their car's problem and, ideally, receive a useful diagnosis. The show grew in popularity, and in 1987, NPR launched "Car Talk" into national syndication.
The Magliozzi brothers — who called themselves Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers — would go on to earn a Peabody Award for the show in 1992.
The popularity of the show transcended its subject matter, as the brothers offered advice on more than just cars. The show would go on to spin off its own animated series, with 10 episodes in 2007, and even inspired a musical that was produced and presented by Suffolk University at the Modern Theatre in Boston.
"Car Talk" ended production on the air in 2012, and at that time had a listener base of 3.3 million. Popular episodes of the show continue to be aired by NPR.
Jay Ramey is an associate editor at Autoweek, a sister publication of Tire Business.