Vancouver radio station KiSS Radio was giving listeners deja vu on Wednesday by playing a Rage Against the Machine song on repeat.
The 104.9 FM station, owned by Rogers Sports and Media, started playing the rap-metal song Killing in the Name in the morning and hadn’t stopped by early afternoon.
When a listener called in with a request for a different song, a DJ ignored it and stuck with the single-song playlist.
This comes a day after popular morning hosts Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu announced their departure from the station after more than five years. Afternoon host Tara Jean Stevens also said she will be moving on to a new opportunity soon.
“KiSS is changing and, unfortunately, we were informed that we won’t be part of this new chapter,” said Lim and Sidhu in their final broadcast on Tuesday and on a message posted on social media.
They expressed gratitude to listeners and their management team at the station.
Early Wednesday, some people speculated whether the choice of music — a protest song against abuse of power released in 1992, a year after the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers — was by rogue employees making a statement.
Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello retweeted one local fan’s suggestion it might related to the staff changes.
But it also could be a stunt to signal a shift in format.
Sources suggested that beyond the DJs who announced their departures from the station on Tuesday, a number of other employees were let go. New staff members were also spotted around the control room at the station’s offices of Ash Street in Vancouver.
It also would be unlikely the station is being operated by rogue employees as modern radio stations can be operated remotely from company headquarters, such as in early 2021, when Bell Media managers in Toronto took control of TSN 1040’s controls shortly before announcing the Vancouver station’s staff was being dismissed.
Talk around the local radio industry also suggested the station would be rebranded as Sonic, similar to the Rogers-owned FM station in Edmonton, which plays a modern rock format.
In 1992, a station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin played REM’s It’s the End of the World for an entire weekend as a precursor to switching the station to a hard rock format.
Postmedia reached out to Rogers Sports and Media about the future of the station and choice of song on loop.
In an emailed response, a spokeswoman revealed few details, saying only that “we will have more details to share with you tomorrow morning on the plans for 104.9 FM in Vancouver.”
— with files from Patrick Johnston
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