Uproar over DJ firings at KDHX radio station

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Michael Kuelker served as a volunteer DJ at KDHX radio station for 26 years, hosting a program called “Good Vibrations.”

“It’s a reggae show on Saturdays,” he said.

He’s one of 10 volunteer DJs who were told last Friday that they would no longer be allowed on the air. Drea Stein, who hosted a Grateful Dead-themed radio show for 28 years, was notified last month.

“They said critical statements of management were an attempt to defund them. I never told anybody not to donate,” said Stein.

KDHX is an independent community radio station with around 80 volunteer DJs. Each chooses their own music, giving listeners a very wide range of music throughout the day.

Earlier in the year, a long-time DJ was removed from the air for what station management said was inappropriate behavior. Station board president Gary Pierson said a small group of veteran volunteers was upset about the personnel decision.

“But since that time that group has been resisting and actively protesting some of the decisions and some of the direction we’ve been making,” he said.

Ital Kae has hosted a radio program on KDHX for 15 years, which features Reggae music. He’s chosen to voluntarily stay off the air in protest over the firings and the direction of the station.

“Mismanagement, total mismanagement,” he said.

Pierson said the station is implementing a new strategic plan that was developed after research that gathered input from a wide circle of people in the community. And he said the station has received over 50 new applications for the position of DJ, 18 of them since last Friday.