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Originally published November 14, 2009 at 12:12 AM | Page modified November 14, 2009 at 5:40 PM

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Kirby Wilbur, longtime radio host, loses show on KVI-AM

Longtime local conservative talk-radio host Kirby Wilbur aired his final show on AM 570 KVI Thursday, the radio station announced.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Longtime local conservative talk-radio host Kirby Wilbur aired his final show on KVI-AM Thursday after the station chose not to renew his contract, citing declining ratings.

On a Facebook fan page for the Kirby Wilbur Show, Wilbur said KVI management "chose not to renew my contract which expires 12/31. It was not my choice to leave."

Jim Clayton, KVI's general manager, said "his ratings are not strong. That's really what the decision is based on."

Wilbur disagreed.

"I was told our ratings were in a steady climb since June," he said late Friday.

Indeed, Wilbur said, he had been told last week that his show was the highest rated on the station and that he was beating Glenn Beck, who airs on another station at the same time, in the 35-to-64-year-old demographic.

Clayton said he told Wilbur he was being let go at the end of Thursday's show. Wilbur's contract will be paid through the end of the year, Clayton said.

Wilbur's show has been replaced, at least for now, by the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham Show.

Clayton said the station is searching for "a talent that we think can go in there and perform better, ratings wise. ... Hopefully, we can find someone local."

Wilbur had been on-air since 1993, most recently as host of the morning Kirby Wilbur and Company show featuring traffic, weather and talk.

Wilbur, a Duvall resident, recently was named to Talkers magazine's top 100 talk-radio hosts. He has been involved in conservative and Republican politics for more than 35 years.

That he's no longer on air upset some listeners, including Eric Rohrbach, vice chairman of the 45th District Republicans, who e-mailed fellow Republicans asking them to contact KVI.

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Wilbur brings "local insight to conservative commentary," Rohrbach said.

Wilbur is the second local radio morning-show host to be let go this week.

KIRO-FM did not renew the contract of Jane Shannon, who had co-hosted the morning news show for at least nine years. That decision was economic, said Rod Arquette, program director for Bonneville Seattle, which owns KIRO-FM.

"Jane has done a magnificent job for us over the years," he said.

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