Since starting his first radio job when he was in college, WYLD-FM’s Hal Clark has worked at five different stations across the country. In 2002, when he was contemplating ending his professional radio career, Clark came back to his hometown of New Orleans as the host of WYLD’s Sunday Journal show. “My friend was the program director there and told me about the opening for the host position. I was hesitant at first, but hosting has brought out a lot in me as a broadcaster,” Clark says. One of the things Clark loves most about working in radio is the immediacy of the medium. “It’s a very personable, and I enjoy all aspects of putting the show together.”
To prepare for interviews, Clark says the first thing he does is tries to build an emotional connection with his guests. “If I’m interviewing the author of a memoir, I’ll go through the memoir and try to find something that would spark an emotional connection with the guest. That helps my guests really open up,” he explains.
In addition to hosting Sunday Journal, Clark is also an accomplished playwright. “Playwriting is something that came to me later in life,” he says. “A friend of mine read some of my dialogue in my unpublished novels, and then he asked me if I’d ever consider play writing.” When it comes to what inspires him most when writing, Clark explains, “My inspiration comes from anything, usually it comes from moments when I’m upset, because I’m a dramatist. I get a lot of inspiration from father/son relations. My dad never knew his own dad, and not knowing the true identity of his father affected him his whole life. That’s definitely been a theme in my plays.”
Though he has lived in other cities, one of the things that Clark likes most about living in New Orleans is the people. “After having lived other places and moving back here, I feel like I’ve had a greater appreciation for the city and love being immersed in the culture here.” During a typical weekend, Clark spends a lot of time reading. “I interview a lot of authors, I’ve always had this skill to be able to skim books effectively. I never interview an author without having the book in-house.” When he’s not on the air, Clark also enjoys watching documentaries. He says its “great to get inside other people’s lives and see the commonalities that we all have.”