A pop music radio station in Canada is playing Rage Against The Machine nonstop and won't say why

Zack de La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine onstage
(Image credit: Christie Goodwin / Getty Images)

If you've tuned in to Vancouver's Kiss 104.9 radio station anytime over the last 24 hours, there's every chance you've heard the pop radio station playing something a little outside their normal remit: Rage Against The Machine's protest anthem Killing In The Name. Because that's the only song they've been playing.  

It's quite the change of direction for the station, whose news pages are populated by stories with headlines like "Summer Bucket List Activities: 41 Fun Things To Do" and "Ranked: The 25 Best Cupcake Flavours."

The playlist of one kicked off shortly after morning show co-hosts Kevin Lim and Sonia Sidhu announced their departure from the station after five years, taking to Facebook to thanks fans and confirm that they were moving on.

"KiSS is changing and unfortunately we were informed that we won't be part of this new chapter," they wrote. "Although this comes with mixed emotions, we want to express one overwhelming feeling: gratitude.

"First and foremost, thank you...our loyal listeners and now friends. We are so incredibly thankful for everyone who shared their mornings with us and invited us into their lives through the radio and our podcast. We've never taken you for granted."

And it's been Killing In The Name ever since, played on a loop that's only interrupted by recordings of callers who'd like to hear something else, immediately. Requests that are then ignored. And occasionally, the loop is interrupted by people who'd actually like to hear Killing In The Name again. 

So what's going on? The Guardian called the station to find out, and spoke to an employee going by the unlikely name of Apollo. "I’m not allowed to say," said Apollo. "I’m just a guy in a booth, just letting the Rage play over and over. What do you think? Do you like it?”

We've got a theory. While it'd be lovely to think that Kevin and Sonia have somehow wrestled control of the transmitter from their former employers and are playing RATM as a giant fuck-you, sticking in to the man in way Tom Morello would surely approve of, we suspect it's merely a clever PR ploy. 

For if there's a change in the station's music policy, what better way to sucker gullible journalists into covering the new direction than by looping an iconic anthem of protest? After all, the version of Killing In The Name they're playing is the clean edit, and if Kevin and Sonia were truly disgruntled they'd have surely picked the sweary version.   

If so, we've been suckered. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.