Early Wednesday morning, someone from a pop and soft rock station in Vancouver, Canada started playing Rage Against the Machine’s song Killing in the Name.
Then they played it again.
By noon, the song had played hundreds of times on Kiss Radio 104.9 FM, sparking speculation online that the singular choice was a protest against layoffs by parent company Rogers Sports and Media.
Industry insiders, however, argued that it was a waterfall to signal a format change at the station to alternative rock.
The song’s lyrics include the repeated line: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”. The station, however, aired the sanitized radio edit.
A call to the radio studio did not bring clarity.
The man who answered the phone didn’t explain why they were playing the song on repeat, or give his real name. Instead, he asked to be called Apollo after the character from the Rocky films.
“I have no right to say that. I’m just a guy in a booth, just letting Rage play over and over,” Apollo said. “What do you think? Do you like?”
The incident came a day after the station’s morning show co-hosts posted on Facebook that they had been suddenly fired.
“Our five years on KiSS RADiO are over. KiSS is changing and unfortunately we have been informed that we will not be part of this new chapter. While it comes with mixed emotions, we want to express an overwhelming feeling: gratitude,” ex-hosts Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu wrote.
On Wednesday, callers’ attempts to ask for anything other than Killing in the Name were denied.
Between requests, the song looped several times with no discernible beginning or end. Rather, it was just an extended version of Killing in the Name.
Apollo told the Guardian the song was already playing when he arrived at work, but could not say exactly when it started.
“I don’t know. I probably should. If you write an article and my boss reads it, I’m going to be in trouble,” he said.
This reporter replied, “Well, I mean, I think you might be in trouble anyway.”
“Good point,” he replied.