Boise DJ pedaling to raise awareness of child abuse

Keke Luv is powering his broadcast by bike for seven days.

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comApril 21, 2013 

Keke Luv runs a marathon in 2009 as part of Kiss 103.3's event during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

CHRIS BUTLER

Tears are shed when Kiss 103.3 FM morning-show personality Keke Luv hosts his annual "Live for 175" campaign to call attention to child abuse.

But they don't always come from listeners phoning with heart-wrenching stories.

In 2009, Luv ran seven marathon distances in seven straight days to promote "Live for 175." The furthest he'd hoofed it before, he jokes, is when his car broke down in high school and he had to walk across Houston.

"I was literally crying with the hoodie over my face because I was in so much pain," Luv remembers, groaning at the memory of that week. "I've never felt that much pain."

Community hero? Publicity hound? Lunatic? Luv has been regarded as all three since he launched "Live for 175" in 2008.

On April 19, Luv, who also is Kiss FM's program director, kicked off the latest version of the ratings-period tradition. This year's theme is "Cycle to Break the Cycle."

Luv is spinning Top 40 tunes and airing his child-abuse message from the Village at Meridian at the intersection of East Fairview Avenue and North Eagle Road. His broadcast is being powered by bicycles hooked to generators.

Luv is the lead pedaler, but he has armies of volunteers who will help keep the station on the air for 175 hours. The promotion goes until 5 p.m. April 26 - or until the signal drops because nobody's cranking hard enough.

"I have a feeling we will go down a few times," Luv quipped before the event started.

If it sounds a little wacky, well, that's radio. Working out the technical logistics of a "human-powered radio station" began more than a year ago. But it's far from the most physically taxing "Live for 175."

The first year, Luv stayed awake and broadcast live for seven grueling days. In 2009, he ran those consecutive marathons. He went for eight days without sleep while broadcasting in 2010. He fasted for a week while perched on a billboard in 2011. Last year, he broadcast from seven different locations - non-stop, of course.

Before the pedaling started last week, Luv admitted that "the non-sleeping scares me again."

"It scares me again because I'm getting older," he says. "I'm definitely not getting younger. I don't know what those long-term effects are when you beat your body up so much like that. It's so hard to recover from it.

"But running," he adds, "that's even scarier. You break something or something snaps? You get older, the pain sucks."

Known as 40-year-old Steve Kicklighter when he's not wearing his DJ cape, Luv says "Live from 175" has changed his life. Hearing people break down as they talk about child abuse transforms a man's perspective.

Luv hopes Idahoans will come pedal with him not just to help power his broadcast, but to share in the emotional message: "The story line is going to run pretty deep this year," he promises.

And remember: You don't have to be Kristin Armstrong to ride the bikes.

He does say he won't try to run seven marathons again.

"I originally wanted to run to Spokane," he admits. "I'm an idiot. I don't even know why I would think that would make any sense."

Michael Deeds: 377-6407

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