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Guerrilla Radio: Why Is This Canadian Soft Rock Station Playing Non-Stop Rage Against the Machine?

A mystery is streaming on the airwaves in Vancouver, where the city’s premier pop and soft rock contemporary radio station KiSS Radio 104.9 FM has been playing Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” nonstop, on repeat, since the wee hours of June 29. It’s a little unclear when they started but as of this writing, we’re coming up on 24 straight hours of unbroken Rage. Listeners who called in asking for a different song were simply denied, and “Killing in the Name” was played instead.

The station and its DJs have played coy about what inspired this marathon, but a few context clues point to it being the best possible reason for listening to this classic anthem of defiance: a protest. Earlier this week, the station’s popular hosts Kevin Lim, Sonia Sidhu, and Tara Jean Stevens were laid off after five years at the station. Nobody at KiSS would confirm or deny that the song was a way of making their displeasure at their colleagues’ removal.

“Killing in the Name” is one of the band’s earliest and most defining hits, a pure expression of fury at the corrupt institutions that have motivated the band’s anti-authoritarian ethos since its Los Angeles inception in the early 90s. Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk dragged bombastic diatribes against police brutality and systemic racism into the spotlight at a time when mainstream outlets were even more skittish about these issues than they are today. But the band’s sound proved irresistible and their revolution continued unabated, just like it is on KiSS FM as of this publication.

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