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Listen Up, Blogosphere: We Don't Hire Actors to Call This Program

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let me take care of some housecleaning here. Inside Baseball stuff. There was this story that's now attaching itself in depth to the blogosphere that Premiere Radio Networks hires actors to call radio talk shows essentially defrauding you, the unsuspecting duped audience. So I read this over the weekend and said, "What the heck is this now?" We don't have actors on this program. We don't take enough calls on this program, and certainly are not gonna pay anybody to call this program. You talk about economics, we're certainly not gonna do that. I said, "What is this?" So I sent Snerdley an e-mail: "Snerdley, is something going on behind my back? Are some of these nuts that you find, are they actually actors?" I said I'm not even gonna send it because I know that's not happening.

So I wanted to dig deep here. You know, Premiere Radio Networks is the syndication arm of the broadcast partner; they're part of Clear Channel. You know what this is? This actually exists because of people like me. Back in the old days when you could do funny phone pranks, you could call out, you could be doing your radio show (morning radio show is when this happened) and you could call out and you could put somebody on the air or tape recorder without their permission. I tried to buy a left-handed baseball bat this way. I faked having a picture phone to get traffic reports from the tunnels in Pittsburgh. I mean it was an art form. There was a guy in Detroit who made this an art form. His name was Dick Purtan. But there were a number of other morning deejays that made a career out of these funny put-on telephone calls, except they were real.

Then all of a sudden one day the FCC came along and said you cannot do this, you can't call out nor can you record somebody without their permission. I mean one of the most fun things I ever did was to pretend I had a picture phone. They were testing the picture phone, or they were going to in Pittsburgh. This is the seventies. And there was a Gimbels department store right across the street from the radio station, KQV. So I went over there, went to the lingerie department and I scoped it all out and looked at the girl working there, what she was wearing, where the cash register was, where all the stuff in the lingerie department was, made notes. I went back to the production room in the radio station and turned on the rape recorder and I called over there. (imitating saleswoman) "Hello, Gimbels, can we help you?"

"Yes, I'd like to talk to the lingerie department."

"Thank you, hold on just a second."

She picks up, "Hi, this is Ms. Elfrink," was her name.

I said, "Hi, I'm such-and-such from KQV. I'm helping the phone company test-market the new picture phone. I want to test it here, and I've actually got a need as well."

"What's that, sir?"

"Well, girlfriend's birthday coming up in a couple days and I want to buy her a couple slips. And I have a new picture phone here. I don't have time to come over there, but if you just hold the slips up to the phone, I'll be able to see if that's what I want and pack 'em up and send somebody over to pick them up."

"Sir, there's no such thing as a picture phone."

I'd anticipated this. "Yes, you probably haven't heard about it. The phone company's very forward thinking. The carbon granules in the microphone of your phone, your hand-held set there, are a low resolution black and white camera. I can see you right now. You're very blurry. I mean if you hold that phone away from you I'll be able to tell you what you look like and what you're wearing."

"No, you can't."

"Yes, I can. Just hold the phone away from you, move it up and down, scan up and down and I'll be able to tell you."

"You can't!"

"Ma'am, if you'll just do it, I really don't have time here to waste. You know, I'm on the air and I gotta get this done."

"You're on the air?"

"Yes, ma'am, I am."

"Well, I'm gonna feel dumb doing this in front of --"

"Well, just duck down behind the cash register there to your left."

(gasping)

So she ducks down. We had somebody over there watching this. She scans herself with the phone. I told her what she was wearing. She freaks. She literally can't believe it.

So I said, "I want a couple 34Cs." She went and got the slip. She scanned the slip, she packed 'em up.

After a while you couldn't do that. The FCC, somebody said you've got to let those people know that you're gonna be doing it. You can't record them. You can't put them on the air unless they know. Well, with rank amateurs, you're blowing it. A rank amateur, you will not be able to pull it off. I couldn't go over there and say, "Ms. Elfrink, I'm gonna call you in a couple minutes and I need you to act shocked. I need you to play along and here's what I want you to do." She's not a highly trained professional. It wouldn't work. It only works if they genuinely don't know what's going on and you fool them. So what Premiere had done here, they went out and hired actors for morning shows to be able to pull off bits like this. That's what they do. The actors are for FM longhaired, maggot-infested morning shows with whatever music format playing stunts like this, trying to make it sound like people are really being duped, but you can't do it anymore.

One of the great comedic arts of radio -- and this is 20 years ago now -- was dealt a fatal blow when the FCC said you can't put people on the air without their permission, you can't tape-record them without their permission. People still wanted to do the bits and that led to hiring actors to portray the dupes, the objects of the bit. This story came out in February, Columbia Journalism Review wrote about this in February, and the story died. It came alive again in the blogs over the weekend with the implication that this program is hiring actors to portray callers. And I had no idea this was even going on. For the life of me, I don't know -- (interruption) Snerdley, I didn't suspect you. I wanted to find out if you were in on some program I didn't know about because, look, if somebody had told me we're gonna do this I would have put the kibosh on this. There is no way we're gonna pay people to pretend to be callers here. Nothing on this program is scripted. (interruption) Who knows, Snerdley. I mean I don't challenge your loyalties. I don't question your loyalties. That's why I didn't send the e-mail in the end. (interruption) Well, I did think about it. I had to because why didn't these people at Premiere specify that this is for these prank phone calls and their morning shows or whenever it happens during the day? But it is not for talk radio. I have never heard of this.

In fact, one of the cardinal rules here from the get-go, nothing is staged on this program, ever. People have come to me over the years with ideas. Everybody wants to get in the act, and I have routinely shot it down. It just doesn't happen. No way. Plus, pay for it? We've got the best universe of potential callers in the country here, the largest audience ever. I mean to pay for this? By the way, I don't care, some of the best calls we ever had, these wacko, looped-out liberals, I don't care how good an actor, I don't think we could duplicate this if we script it. Some of this is beyond being scripted. But I still can't figure out why Premiere did not specify -- they let it stand out there that this is all happening as part of their talk radio division, which it's not, at least not here. And I can't believe that it's happening anywhere else. You may not have seen this yet. The story originally appeared in something called the Tablet magazine which calls itself "a new read on Jewish life."

Tablet magazine is a radical left-wing operation. From Tablet magazine, here's one of the excerpts: "Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, the talk-radio world's leading trade publication, said he knew nothing of this particular service but was not altogether surprised to hear that it was in place. There was, he said, a tradition of 'creating fake phone calls for the sake of entertainment on some of the funny shows, shock jocks shows.'" That's exactly right, but not here, people doing pranks. I would consider it an insult if somebody came to me and said, "Hey, we got a couple actors, we got a couple things that we want you to do here with people, actors pretending to be callers." I mean that door would get slammed on somebody's nose and toes as fast as I've ever slammed a door. For those of you who remember Rita X, why would we pay for that? And I suggest to you that there's not an actor in the world that could pull that off. This whole thing was originally published on the 11th of February. I debated whether or not to even mention this today, you know, whether to even bring it up. There's a lot of stuff going on out there, folks. Like, for example, as a reminder, tomorrow is Mardi Gras. Did you know that? Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, unless Michelle (My Belle) has outlawed it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's another thing about this folks. You know, actors are uniformly leftists (we all know this) if they want to work. Now, imagine if there actually was a leftist actor out there that we had hired. This guy would have already come forward with details, tapes, examples, proof that he had been hired. "Here's my pay stub! Here's what they withheld! Here's what I said. This was the bit. Limbaugh was in on it." Any actor who could prove that he had called into this show for payment could rat me out, never have to worry ever again about working for the rest of his life. In fact they might even create a special Academy Award for his courage. But such actor does not exist.

Not for this program. Now, from the original article called Radio Daze: "All of the actors I questioned reported receiving scripts, calling in to real shows, pretending to be real people. Frequently, one actor said, the calls were live, sometimes recorded in advance, but never presented on-air as anything but real." I'm gonna tell you, if any of these actors had talked to me and they would have gotten the specifics, this writer would have the scoop of the century. He would have the proof and he would have already come forward.

He would have surfaced, and he would have said, "Here's the evidence," and that would have been part of the story, but that person doesn't exist. In fact, if anybody is out there trying to stage telephone calls to radio talk shows, it's the left. You know what I'm talking about, the now famous seminar callers. They are so obvious that even you in the audience can spot them a mile away. You know how they are: "Mr. Limbaugh, I've been listening to you for 20 years. You're my favorite guy, I love you, I've learned so much from you, BUT..." or some other typical line. We have uncovered seminar caller seminars. They have been trained how to call, how to get through the call screeners.

We have even parodied this, it has become so frequent.

(parody: Become a DNC Seminar Caller commercial)

RUSH: Seminar callers. So the fakes, the phonies, the plastic banana, good-time rock 'n' roll callers on this program are the leftists -- and they are trained and they are guided by leftist blogs and so forth. Just saying, folks, that if these paid actors were there, they'd have the evidence; they'd come forward, and they would be celebrated. As I say, they probably get a special Academy Award for their courage in exposing this great injustice.

END TRANSCRIPT

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