Early on Wednesday morning, at a pop and soft rock station in Vancouver, Canada, someone started playing the song Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine.
Then they played it again.
By noon, the song had been played hundreds of times on Kiss Radio 104.9 FM, sparking online speculation that the only choice was a protest against layoffs by parent company Rogers Sports and Media.
However, industry insiders argued that it was a stunt to signal a change of format on the station to alternative rock.
The lyrics contain the repeated line: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”. However, the station played the sanitized radio edit.
A phone call to the radio studio did not provide any clarity.
The man who answered the phone would not explain why they played the song repeatedly, nor give his real name. Instead, he asked to be named Apollo after the character in the Rocky movies.
‘I can’t say it. I’m just a pigeonholed guy who just makes the Rage play over and over,” said Apollo. “What do you think? Do you like it?”
The incident came a day after the co-hosts of the station’s morning show posted on Facebook that they had been suddenly fired.
“Our five years at KiSS RADiO have come to an end. KiSS is changing and unfortunately we have been informed that we will not be part of this new chapter. Although this comes with mixed feelings, we want to express one overwhelming feeling: gratitude,” wrote ex-hosts Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu.
On Wednesday, callers’ attempts to request anything other than Killing in the Name were rejected.
Between requests, the song looped several times with no discernible beginning or end. It was previously a long version of Killing in the Name.
Apollo told the Guardian the song was already on when he got to work, but couldn’t say exactly when it started.
“I don’t know. I probably would. If you write an article and my boss reads it, I’ll be in trouble,” he said.
This reporter replied, “Well, I mean, I think you could get in trouble anyway.”
“Good point,” he replied.