As Dan noted last week, the awesome KIRO radio show Too Beautiful To Live is off the air.

"Not awesome," say TBTL fans, who recently postered the station's wall in protest.

So why was the show cut from the on-air lineup?

“It didn’t appear to be working, according to the ratings," said KIRO program director Rod Arquette this morning. "When we asked people, they said it just didn’t seem to fit with the overall theme of what KIRO is about.”

What is KIRO about? From my December 2008 feature on TBTL:

At almost every hour of every day, KIRO's on-air programming consists of sports jabber, political shouting matches, and the same old traffic reports—except for during three very odd hours each weekday evening when Too Beautiful to Live is on.

KIRO is abandoning its hopes of courting a younger demographic with TBTL—a show that was created by Luke Burbank, explored everything from Beyonce to the troubled banking system, and cut it all with great music and wonderful, meandering stories. Instead, the station is going back to the old (in every sense of the word) format.

“This was going to be an experiment—throw it in the beaker and see what comes out of it," said Arquette. "And it didn’t turn out the way we all hoped it would... Everything in this business is driven by ratings."

One place where TBTL's numbers did stand out: online. The show had about 226,000 podcast hours downloaded in the last month. "Which is a HUGE number," Arquette said, noting that no other KIRO show has anything close to that big an online following. "That’s where the greatest success was," he continued. "Because on a ratings level it just didn’t seem to be clicking.”

So TBTL is going to continue as an online-only show (broadcasting live right now, according to the new homepage) with KIRO paying Burbank through the end of the year.

And then? Can Burbank shop his show elsewhere? Who, in fact, owns the TBTL concept?

"I don't know who owns that," Arquette said. "We're going to have to negotiate."