Consumer talk show host Clark Howard is cutting back his radio show from three to two hours a day starting Dec. 15. Locally, he is heard on AM750 and 95.5 FM news/talk WSB.
Pete Spriggs, program director of WSB, said Howard will now be heard from 1 to 3 p.m. weekday instead of 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays. Sean Hannity’s syndicated radio show will now run live from 3 to 6 p.m. instead of delayed an hour as it has been the past few years.
Erick Erickson’s evening show will also start an hour earlier, running from 6 to 9 p.m. instead of 7 to 10 p.m.
“I think it’s better for listeners and it’s certainly better for me,” Howard said in a phone interview. “It’s an election-year cycle and talk radio is now so political. I’m just ready to not work quite as much.”
He said he was feeling especially tired after finishing his book tour for his former No. 1 New York Times best-seller “Living Large in Lean Times.” Due to the rigors of the tour, he had to recently take two weeks off the air for laryngitis. “I’ve been burning the candle on both ends,” he said. “I was in a sour mood.”
Not that he’s slacking. He’s heard on more than 600 radio stations, including new affiliates the past month in Seattle and San Francisco. (The only major markets he’s not in are Chicago and New York City, he said.) He has a weekend show package, as well as the weekday show. He also offers “Clark Minute” segments for morning shows. He tapes regular television segments used by Channel 2 Action News and 14 other Cox TV stations. He has a weekend show on Atlanta-based HLN, a deal that currently runs through summer, 2012. Plus, his clarkhoward.com website generates impressive amounts of traffic, he said
“It’s really strength on strength on strength,” Howard said. “You start to tie everything together. People now have so many choices. The audiences are sliced so thin. At the same time, I don’t want to stretch myself too thin.”
Since many radio affiliates still want three hours a day of Howard, his show producers will repackage repeats for a third hour. WSB will air that “best of” third hour each weeknight from 9 to 10 p.m.
Since Howard’s last contract renewal in 2009, Howard said he had already planned to go to two hours at some point. On many days, he was already only doing two live hours and using the third hour for repeats.
He has done three hours a day most of his nearly 25 years on air in Atlanta. For a five-year period, he said, he did five hours a day, from 1998 to 2003.
In recent years, Howard has expressed political aspirations but said with two school-age kids (ages six and 12), he feels politics would take away from his family. “If I were my age  and the kids were grown,” he said, “I think the chances I’d run for office would be humongous.”
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk