2 More KDHX DJs Quit, Citing Frustration With Leadership

Both Dr. Jeff and Ace had been required to do mediation to keep their volunteer jobs

Dec 4, 2023 at 1:17 pm
Andrea Rowe (left) resigned from her KDHX DJ position last Friday after the station suspended her and canceled a scheduled mediation session.
Andrea Rowe (left) resigned from her KDHX DJ position last Friday after the station suspended her and canceled a scheduled mediation session. Courtesy photo

Community radio station KDHX is down another two DJs — both part of a cohort of DJs being required to undergo mediation to keep their volunteer roles.

On November 28, Jeffrey Hallazgo, a.k.a Dr. Jeff of the Big Bang, resigned on air after accepting an online streaming position with WFMU in New York after 22 years with the station. In a Facebook post, Hallazgo wrote, “[T]he zest for doing a three hour upbeat radio program in the setting of the deteriorating vitality of the radio station had gradually diminished as the weeks went on to the point where it simply became untenable for me to continue. … [T]he guiding principles which I live my life by every single day were totally incompatible with the growing malignant atmosphere brought about by the governance of the organization.” 

Then, on December 1, Andrea Rowe, or Ace, the Girl From Space of Sonic Space, announced that she was departing the station but hoped to return at a later date if leadership attitudes changed. 

Rowe tells the RFT that her resignation came shortly after an incident during her show last Monday, November 27, after which KDHX Executive Director Kelly Wells suspended Rowe and canceled a scheduled mediation session with the Conflict Resolution Center.

click to enlarge Andrea Rowe had volunteered with KDHX since 2016.
Courtesy photo
Andrea Rowe had volunteered with KDHX since 2016.

With the station’s firing of 13 DJs and the resignations of at least 14 more, Rowe says that her Monday afternoon show was siloed without live DJs hosting shows before or after, leaving her nervous about being in the station in Grand Center by herself. On top of that, a mediation session on November 7 had put her on edge. 

“I didn't feel comfortable going to the station by myself,” Rowe says, explaining that she’d begun to regularly book local talent or bring friends or family along as moral support. 

That Monday, Rowe brought her father and a friend: Darian Wigfall, who also happens to be one of three people that the KDHX associate members voted to represent them on the station’s board of directors. The associate members are suing to oust two members and seat Wigfall and two others.

During her set, Rowe says she was approached by Director of Volunteer Connections Andrea Dunn, who asked, “Who's that gentleman with your dad?” Dunn told Rowe that Wigfall should not be in the building but turned down Rowe’s offer to walk him out with only a shake of the head before walking away, Rowe said. Then Wells showed up to escort Wigfall out. 

The next day, Rowe received a notice from Conflict Resolution Center that her mediation had been canceled. She then received notice from Wells that she had been suspended.

“You invited a person who is in active litigation against KDHX into the station and promoted his work on the air during your show,” Wells wrote. “Unfortunately, there are legal ramifications to Darian having been in our building, and the situation has been referred to our attorneys and his attorney to work out.”

Rowe says that she had never been informed that Wigfall was banned from the building, something she pointed out via a reply email to Wells. 

In a statement issued to the RFT, Wells wrote, “Last week, an incident occurred involving a volunteer at KDHX. One of the plaintiffs who recently filed a lawsuit against our organization was allowed into our studios without our knowledge. This person was asked to leave which he did promptly, and we notified our attorney. At the advice of counsel, the volunteer involved was notified that her show would be off the air pending a review of the situation. This weekend, she resigned from her volunteer position.”

Rowe said she is particularly unhappy about the mediation being canceled.

She says she had her first (and, to date, only) mediation session earlier last month, which yielded no resolution, she says. Despite being one of 12 DJs told they needed to undergo mediation, she says it was never made clear to her how she ended up on the list. During mediation, she was told only that she had taken part in a DJ marathon event held at the Royale in late September.

“I don't think the Conflict Resolution Center ever really knew what my citation was,” Rowe says. “Because I don't even think that I necessarily know what my citation was aside from affiliation with those who are dismissed.”

But Rowe, who has volunteered with KDHX since 2016 after moving to St. Louis post-college, says that affiliation was something artificial created by Wells: “I’m my own person. My own independent person. I didn’t ever work at Magnolia. I’m not part of some old guard.”

At one point, Rowe had hoped to work for the station and wanted to apply for a community coordinator position or equity officer that was proposed in KDHX’s strategic plan, something she says was thrown in her face during mediation. She says Wells and Dunn acted as if Rowe expected to be given the job, but in reality, she says all she wanted was the chance to apply.

“It was another one of those moments where I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess you guys don't see me for who I am or what I'm actually saying or for the work I actually do,’” Rowe recalls. 

Another sticking point was a few incidents where old pre-recorded material had been played for Rowe’s show instead of new recordings she had made. She wanted the old ones deleted so it didn’t happen again. 

Wells, Dunn and Rowe couldn’t come to an agreement, which led to the second session being scheduled — only to be summarily canceled after Rowe allowed Wigfall into the station during her show. 

Rowe says that she’d already been thinking about taking a sabbatical from the station when the continuance was canceled and she was suspended. She still hopes to support the other DJs and her community despite her departure.

“I was hoping to walk away from mediation being able to feel like I could actually contribute authentically to the station in that way instead of being undermined for the work that I was doing,” she says, adding later, “I do feel lighter. I do feel more free to speak about what's bothering me or speak my truth.”

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