I set off at 6:20 am, printed petition copy with 12,100 signatures in hand, plugged the address into my GPS and headed for the freeway. Jezebel, as we fondly refer to the voice actor in our car, gave me directions.
When the screen told me 48 minutes to get to KFI in beautiful downtown Burbank, I guffawed briefly and had a sip of coffee from my to-go mug. The J Paul Getty Museum is beautiful; especially viewed at 5 miles per hour while inching through the construction zone known as Screwyou Overpass. I mean Screwballs. I mean Skirball which means you’re screwed because going and coming this overpass will claim at LEAST 45 minutes of your life.
At 8:30ish I called Lindsey, the longest & hardest working StopRusher, to tell her what I was doing. After I pulled off the freeway, I reconnoitered the joint. The address for KFI coincided with a FORTRESS a la LA. Glass and steel going up into the sky, no signage except the numbered address, 3400. Jezebel doesn’t usually lie so I took her at her word when she said, “You have arrived at your destination.” I found street parking but WAIT, the coffee I had brought with me was long gone.
I called Lindsey again to tell her I had arrived but had to go get coffee and would get back to her. NO COFFEE FOR MILES. I am totally serious. ALL steel and glass buildings jammed next to each other with the exception of the Walt Disney Studios which have that green metal sign accompanied by green metal palm trees. Of course later I found that Starbucks was in the other direction but never mind.
I drove back towards 3400 W Olive Ave because I wanted to arrive before 9 am to catch a glimpse of Rush’s limo as it whisked him into underground parking. Didn't happen. I called Lindsey again to ask, “Remember when we were supposed to go to all the Rush Limbaugh stations and get that information?” She performed a Vulcan mind meld across 30 miles and briefly hung up. Okay, now this is where Lindsey is totally on the ball. She remembered it was the FCC, went to their website and deciphered it was the “Quarterly Programming Reports.”
Petition in hand I parked on the street, walked up between 2 beautifully appointed buildings and entered the Warner Bros. entrance. Undeterred I walked outside, floated up a perfectly landscaped walk with tile steps. Inside the modern marble and pleasant smelling palatial lobby was a circle with a wood table holding a bouquet. Just the right amount of star-gazer lilies (I thought of @Cooper as in Joni) scattered in a huge, long stemmed bouquet. Ah, that’s where the perfectly-balanced smell came from, not too sweet but clean and outdoorsy.
No security guard this time. I went to the directory and there was KFI listed along with all the other dozen Clear Channel radio stations on the 5th floor. The ceiling in the elevator was so high, I had to tilt my head back at an angle crushing my cervical vertebrae in order to see it. When the elevator door opened, a floor-to-ceiling collage of all the stations greeted me on the opposite wall. Later I had my photo taken there with the “FEARLESS” sign.
On the left were closed double doors. On the right was a small lobby with a few modern chairs. The “receptionist” was on the phone so I stood behind the counter. Her cubicle resembled a high-security bank counter with (bullet-proof?) glass extending to the ceiling. There was a small slot like the one you would use to feed an inmate and a little circle where I could address the receptionist. She was not happy to see me and I had not even opened my mouth. I smiled and told her I was there to deliver a petition to Rush Limbaugh.
“He’s not here. He’s never here,” she said curtly.
I said, “That may be the case but he IS broadcasting from Los Angeles this week. So I thought this would be the best place to deliver the petition.”
We had a couple more exchanges, she gruff and officious, me kind and polite. Finally she conceded with a HUGE sigh that while she would accept the envelope she would have to forward it to the Programming Department.
So I said, “Thank you. Would it be possible for me to see the “Quarterly Programming Reports.” She said, “The what?”
I said, “The FCC requires that each station allow people to see the Quarterly Programming Reports.”
Another sigh. She came out from around her barricade through a locked door. Then she scurried across the reception area to open a door which led into a teeny tiny room containing a left-over file cabinet. She had me sign in with my name and address. As she left she said, "I'll have to call someone."
I waited in the little room and gave myself kudos for thinking about opening the file cabinets but not doing so. “They’re probably empty." I talked myself out of it.
That left me alone with a computer that reminded me a lot of my first IBM-knock-off from 1995. She called someone and up he came in about 10 minutes. I introduced myself, held out my hand and received no name in return.
He moved around me to the computer, pulled up a menu of FCC documents, asked me specifically for what I wanted to see. I replied, “The Quarterly Programming Report.” As he was pulling that up he said, “No one has ever asked to see that before. Well, it’s 15 cents per printed page.”
Suddenly I am thinking that means that I have no idea what I’m asking for. He pulled it up and started printing. The buffer from the computer to the printer took 3 hours. Not really but, as I said, 1995 vintage computer, 1998 printer. We chatted, he suspicious, me saying, “I don’t know what I’m asking for but that’s what ‘they’ said they wanted.”
He said, “For 15 pages that will be $2.25.”
I said, “I can afford that. But I’ll need a receipt.”
He looked at me like “Eat shit and die,” but he said nothing. I said, “Just kidding.”
I had forgotten how long it used to take to print 15 pages 15 years ago. Finally at page 10, either the printer told the computer or the computer told the printer, “No way, Ray. I’ve worked hard enough for one day.”
Meanwhile I had discovered that “No Name” was the Facilities Manager who had been with Clear Channel for 10 years. He said he’d go downstairs to get the document printed and be right back. Meanwhile I looked over the first 10 pages and decided what I had was useless but on the up side, I had asked for something. Balls up. Yippee for me. Just call me “Slick.” Or you can call me what Mark Steyn, my new BFF, calls NikLuk which is “Princess Prissy Pants.”
I asked NikLuk and she dm’ed me that I could borrow the name. I have not yet asked my husband to call me “Princess Prissy Pants.” I kind of like the idea.
I was in the process of lining up a selfie when some guy came off the elevator I asked if he would take my photo with the only KFI sign available. Voila, my new Twitter avi was born.
Eventually the Facilities Manager returned. He said since he only had fourteen pages instead of fifteen, it would only cost me $2.10. I asked, “Cash, check or paypal?”
Some people have no sense of humor.
“Just kidding,” I said.
Luckily I had exact change. I paid the guy and from a ten-foot pole distance he said, “Why don’t you like Rush Limbaugh?”
I said, “Because I don’t like being called a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute.’”
He nodded. Then I probably got carried away.
I said, “He used the ‘N’ word on the radio and he spends 3 hours/day, 5 days/week bashing our President.”
At this point he started backing up. The thought flashed through my mind that I might need a breath lozenge. I said, “If you had offered me a cup of coffee I wouldn’t be so grumpy.” Not really.
I felt I had overstayed my welcome. I reached out my hand, shook his and said a cheery, “Thanks again!” And took the elevator down.
As of 10/25/13, 2:39 pm Los Angeles time, there are 13,260 signatures. The comments from signers still roll in. They make me laugh and make me believe this all MIGHT be worth it.