Early on Wednesday morning, someone at a pop and soft rock station in Vancouver, Canada, began playing the song Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine.
Then they played it again.
By midday, the song had played hundreds of times on Kiss Radio 104.9 FM, prompting online speculation that the singular choice was a protest against layoffs by parent company Rogers Sports and Media.
Industry insiders, however, argued it was a stunt 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, played the sanitised radio edit.
A call to the radio studio did not yield clarity.
The man who answered the phone would not explain why they were playing the song on repeat, nor provide his real name. Instead, he asked to be called Apollo after the character in the Rocky films.
“I’m not allowed to say. I’m just a guy in a booth, just letting 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 suddenly been fired.
“Our five years on KiSS RADiO has come to an end. 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 ex-hosts Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu.
On Wednesday, callers’ attempts to request anything besides Killing in the Name were denied.
Between requests, the song looped several times with no discernible beginning or end. Rather, it was just one long version of Killing in the Name.
Apollo told the Guardian that the song was already on when he arrived at work, but couldn’t say exactly when it began.
“I don’t know. I should, probably. If you’re writing an article and my boss reads it, I’m gonna get in trouble,” he said.
This reporter answered, “Well, I mean, I think you might get in trouble anyway.”
“Good point,” he answered.