DJ Smoov Devastation was only supposed to be on-air for WPFW 89.3 for two hours this morning, from midnight until 2 a.m. Instead, the volunteer DJ kept the beats going for three extra hours as a barricade situation unfolded in the area.
Streets around the 1900 block of K Street NW were closed for several hours this morning, trapping the DJ inside the radio station’s building at 1990 K St. NW. DJ Smoov, WPFW staff, and two guests decided to play on when they saw an emergency response team arrive on the scene not long after 1 a.m.
“We stayed up and had a ball,” Smoov, a native Washingtonian, says by phone. “We kept going, and [the guests] took a couple of turns… I played a couple mixes of my own, some of my live prerecorded music, just to break up all we were doing before the next show started. The music became a bit more relaxed the closer we got to 5 a.m.”
Another DJ, Arthur “Maniac” McCloud, tried to access the studio for his show, scheduled from 2 to 5 a.m. but was denied entry, according to Smoov (aka Daniel Williams III) and Katea Stitt, interim program director at WPFW. Smoov and the assembled group streamed reggae music until the station switched to archived shows at 5 a.m. Democracy Now! played live from a remote location later this morning, Stitt adds, and was followed by a Business Matters episode hosted at Andy Shallal’s house.
“I definitely think law enforcement did a great job to control the situation until they figured it all out, because there were concerns at the beginning that there was a shooter or sniper on a roof,” Smoov says. “But the shock of it is amazing—we were literally trapped [in WPFW’s building] and they would not let us leave.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery