Kirby Wilbur at work at KVI-AM

Kirby Wilbur, a longtime conservative talk radio host in the Pacific Northwest, has had his show shut down by KVI-AM radio, sending his listeners to chat boards and other outlets to express their dismay.

“I’ll miss Kirby. He was truly sincere in his beliefs but always behaved in a gentlemanly fashion to callers who disagreed,” wrote one participant in a forum at Sound Politics, a website focusing on issues in the Puget Sound region. “KVI just got rid of the last reason I had to listen to them.”

Said another, “Kirby was the only reason I turned the TV off and the radio on.”

“Surprised and disappointed,” wrote another. “Kirby was the best local commentary (conservative or otherwise).”

Fisher Communications issued a statement wishing Wilbur well.

“We at Fisher Communications Inc. wish him the very best and thank him for his commitment and service to KVI,” the station management said. Officials said the Laura Ingraham Show will air while a replacement is being sought.

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The station general manager told the Seattle Times the station dropped Wilbur over ratings. On Wilbur’s Facebook page, he confirmed it was the station’s decision.

“Today was my last day on-air at KVI. Management chose not to renew my contract which expires 12/31. It was not my choice to leave. Thank you all for years of loyal listenership and friendship. I love you, you’ll never know how much. Stay tuned right here for news and developments,” he told fans.

Wilbur moved behind the microphone at KVI in 1993 when a producer asked him to audition for an on-air position. He’s served as a delegate to three Republican National Conventions.

He’s also actively supported organizations such as Young America’s Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation.

In nearby Yakima, Herald columnist Barbara Serrano said Wilbur has been a fixture in state Republican politics for 20 years and was known for working towards conservative causes.

At Sound Politics, a blogger suggested listeners contact Fisher Communications about their dissatisfaction with the decision.

“I’d also encourage you all to call every local business that advertises on KVI. After all, they’re the ones with the power of the purse,” he suggested.

The blog also included concerns that the shutdown of the conservative show was a sign of an expected crackdown in speech on the airwaves by the Obama administration.

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