Vancouver’s KISS-FM radio station 104.9 has not stopped playing Rage Against the Machine’s song “Killing in the Name” for the past 10 hours after two beloved morning show DJs were laid off on Tuesday.
Rolling Stone tuned into the station Wednesday afternoon and it was still playing the 1992 track on loop, only stopping to have two DJs mimic Zack de la Rocha’s grunts in the song — “A little lower… close enough” said a female DJ to her partner. The memorable grunts come before the singer’s scathing outro of “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me,” which of course was left off the radio replays.
Several Twitter users noted that disc jockeys had occasionally paused the loop to take call-in requests for the same song. (The same thing happened when Rolling Stone tuned in.) An NBC News reporter said a disc jockey went on air to say, “You’re probably wondering what’s going on.”
The track was originally written by the band as a protest song against police brutality. “Now you do what they told ya,” de La Rocha scream-sings in the pre-chorus.
On Wednesday morning, Tom Morello retweeted a fan who pointed out the radio protest. “Pop radio station in Vancouver laid off all of their staff yesterday,” read the tweet. “Whoever is on the controls this morning has been playing Killing In The Name Of on repeat since 6am (it’s now 9:30). @KevinLimOnAir @Sonia_Sidhu It’s beautiful.”
Today was our last show on KiSS RADiO. Thank you for everything ♥ pic.twitter.com/rRZHySgkMU
— Kevin Lim (@KevinLimOnAir) June 28, 2022
However, on Thursday, speculation started swirling that the limited playlist was a publicity stunt after the company announced plans for a new rock station.
“We’ve seen huge success with our SONiC brand in Edmonton, serving listeners who are looking for an alternative to pop music,” said Christian Hall, content director for Sonic Radio, in a statement, according to the Vancouver Sun. “We can’t wait for listeners to meet this fantastic group of entertaining personalities who are unapologetically themselves, and all share a passion for alternative music.”
The two laid-off disc jockeys, Sonia Sidhu and Kevin Lim, shared statements on their social media about the changes at the radio station.
“KISS is changing and unfortunately we were informed that we won’t be part of this new chapter. Although this comes with mixed emotions, we want to express one overwhelming feeling: gratitude,” wrote Lim and Sidhu. “We are so incredibly thankful for everyone who shared their mornings with us and invited us into their lives through the radio and our podcast. We’ve never taken you for granted.”
Rolling Stone is out to the radio station, as well as Sidhu and Lim, for comment.
This article was updated on 6/30 at 2:20 pm ET with the statement from Sonic Radio about the new rock station.