It began after three DJs were laid off at KiSS FM, the city’s pop and soft rock station

Rage Against The Machine

After three long-time DJs were laid off, a Vancouver radio station began blasting Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” on repeat. Popular on-air personalities Kevin Lim, Sonia Sidhu, and Tara Jean Stevens were let go from the station after working there for more than five years. According to The Vancouver Sun, a DJ began playing the hard-hitting track on KiSS FM – the city’s pop and soft rock station – in the early morning hours of June 29. Several listeners called in to request that the song be changed, but the DJ on air ignored the requests.

“KiSS is changing and, unfortunately, we were informed that we will not be part of this new chapter,” said Lim and Sidhu during their final broadcast yesterday. “It comes with mixed emotions, as you can probably hear.”

Released in 1992, “Killing In The Name” is from Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut album. It has become arguably the band’s most seminal song. It’s outro lyric – “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” – has become a slogan of protest.

When Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello got wind of what was going on, retweeted one fan’s suggestion that the song choice is due to the staff changes: “A pop radio station in Vancouver laid off all of their staff yesterday. Whoever is on the controls this morning has been playing ‘Killing in the Name’ on repeat since 6am (it’s now 9:30). It’s beautiful.”

This isn’t the first time a something like this has happened, however. In the late 90s, Cleveland alternative rock radio station 107.9 The End used a similar tactic to voice its disapproval their format change. After the passing of the FCC Telecommunication Act of 1996, the station was forced to change formats to operate under a corporate banner. In protest, the station played R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” for over 24 hours.

In 2008, the incident became the keystone of the documentary The End.