Dozens of St. Louis businesses voice concerns with direction of KDHX

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ST. LOUIS – After months of controversies between upper management and volunteer DJs at local community radio station KDHX 88.1 FM, dozens of local business owners voiced concerns with the station’s direction.

More than 50 small business owners in St. Louis took a stand against upper management at KDHX on Wednesday, issuing a “declaration of independents” that calls for change within the station.

FOX 2 has learned that KDHX dismissed at least 13 volunteer DJs dating back to the start of the year. The station parted ways with 10 in December as part of “fall programming changes.” Since then, at least 20 others have quit or gone on strike in solidarity.

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In the declaration, business owners say the station “fails to give the community a sense of shared direction, undermines confidence in KDHX leadership” and “threatens the special quality of independent life” in St. Louis. 

“This is something we have done as our contribution to savoring and supporting one great aspect of the quality of life in St. Louis,” said Jon Parker of Parker’s Table marketplace

“I believe the station needs to be truly open to community input. Leadership has not effectively managed creative talent and has turned away from the longtime base of support that has made KDHX,” said Steve Smith of the Royale restaurant and public house.

Upper management at KDHX also faces a lawsuit, which claims that a group consisting of current KDHX volunteer DJs voted to remove two members of the station’s board of directors in September and nominate three members to replace them. As of Wednesday, current KDHX board directors have not approved those decisions.

Between the lawsuit and previous conversations with fired associates, FOX 2 has also learned of communication issues with management, underutilized resources, and a decline in public events that allow KDHX to raise donations.

The lawsuit also contends, to compensate for on-air content that would otherwise be produced by volunteer DJs no longer on the airwaves, KDHX has reportedly “been using computer-driven applications to program a significant amount of air time” and occasionally running dead air.

The declaration asks the board of directors to bring back “shared governance” and find new ways to connect with the volunteers and the St. Louis community at large.


FOX 2 reached out to the KDHX Board of Directors for comment Wednesday afternoon. We have yet to hear back.


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