polar plots and tick padding

I am making a polar plot, and the ticklabels are

    > overlapping the plot a little bit. I tried to compensate
    > by increase the tick.major.pad rc setting, but it does not
    > seem to be respected.

    > Any suggestions on where to look for this?

See ax.set_thetagrids, where ax is PolarAxes instance. In
particular the "frac" arg. Note that your approach would be more
consistent (eg respecting the tick pad) but this should work.