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Originally published Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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KIRO signs off on 3 local shows

Three weeks after canceling Frank Shiers' show comes News Talk 710 KIRO's decision to end three more local programs. Gone are liberal talker...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Three weeks after canceling Frank Shiers' show comes News Talk 710 KIRO's decision to end three more local programs.

Gone are liberal talker/blogger David Goldstein; self-dubbed centrist radio newstalker Bryan Styble; and Carl Jeffers, increasingly appearing on national airwaves as a political commentator and the only local radio broadcaster of color with his own show. Jeffers, 48, is African American.

The broadcasters and their shows could be heard on the weekends. They are being replaced by either syndicated national programming or a sixth day of KIRO's newest, out-of-the-box and yes, local, gamble: "Too Beautiful To Live." That show, by ex-public-radio host Luke Burbank, is not yet a month old but management, already seeing an increase in Web traffic and text messages from listeners, will repackage the liveliest bits from the weeknight "T.B.T.L" for a new Saturday 7 to 10 p.m. show.

Laying off the three hosts was a financial decision, said program manager Rod Arquette.

"It has nothing to do with their on-air performance. It's a matter of budget cuts."

The decision to bring in a new voice — Burbank's — just weeks before laying off the others, Arquette explained, was motivated in part by changing up the station's prime programming slots.

Every minute of the week is important, Arquette said, but resources must be available for priority weekday slots.

All three hosts will fill in when needed. Jeffers, whose "On Fire" show was on KIRO for the past five years, will continue to be heard Fridays talking politics with Dave Ross.

Jeffers, who blogs for The Huffington Post and has also written opinion pieces for The Seattle Times, was on rival KOMO on Thursday, the day after his show was canceled.

In an interview he thanked his listeners, acknowledged he's an on-air rarity — a black host with a predominantly white listening audience — and said he hoped to continue working in Seattle.

Styble wrote a farewell blog post to his "radioactive" audience, calling his three years at KIRO the highlight of his career.

In an interview Goldstein, or "Goldy" as his followers like to call him, lamented radio stations increasingly abandoning "live and local" fare. Up until December 2006, Goldstein said in an interview, KIRO offered live, overnight programming seven days a week. Then KVI-AM dropped 15 hours of local weekday programming and two Spokane stations also scrapped local for syndicated shows, he said.

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The decidedly partisan Goldstein, known for trying to get anti-tax activist Tim Eyman legally declared a horse's ass, also said it was bad timing that his show was axed now. "You would think that heading into an election year, in one of the most liberal markets in the nation ... having the region's top liberal blogger on board might be an asset," he said. "I don't think they understood what I could bring to the station."

In August, Ron Reagan and sports talker Vinnie Richichi were axed in a staff shake-up.

Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or fdavila@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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