Posted by Sarah Godfrey
On Friday morning, employees at XM Satellite Radio’s Northeast D.C. headquarters got a memo regarding pests—and not on-air personalities Opie and Anthony or Ron and Fez, either.
“We’re talking rodents,” wrote an unknown member of XM broadcast operations in an e-mail to colleagues. “Those of you familiar with DC rodents know that we’re looking at the size of small house cats.”
The rodent problem seems to be concentrated on the XM building’s second floor, which houses more than 100 different studios and the foodstuffs that belong to those who work in those studios. Rodents have chewed through cable in one of the second-floor production rooms, and, according to the memo, the raised floor on the second story of the building “represents an eight lane super-highway to anywhere the rats want to go.”
According to Chance Patterson, vice president of corporate affairs for XM, the entire second floor is on a platform, which minimizes vibration and allows thousands of miles of fiber to be stowed beneath foot traffic. The raised floor “is part of how we pipe in fiber for the broadcasts that connect to the uplink that sends the signal to the satellite,” says Patterson.
The combination of the raised floor, which allows the rats an extensive, invisible passageway, and people leaving food around is “setting up an easy opportunity for pests to feed,” says Patterson. “This is the prime season—it’s cold and [the rats] are looking for a warm place.”
The memorandum, in addition to asking that food not be stored by those working in the building, announced a “massive and comprehensive clean-up” to include “ridding the rooms of stacks of magazines, posters, albums, paper and just general clutter.” Patterson says that posters hung on walls for decoration and albums or magazines essential to job function won’t be targeted, but that it’s time for studios to become more organized.
“Some studios have piles of posters and magazines and stuff,” says Patterson. “It’s like, you gotta clean the dishes once in a while. When they start falling out of the sink, it’s time to put them in the dishwasher.”
And, to kick-off the rat raid, pest-control company Orkin was called to the building the same day as the memo was sent out. “They put out the appropriate ‘boxes’ in the right places to address the problem,” says Patterson. “And hopefully the memo will encourage people to do their part to mitigate the issue.”
Wrote the unknown author of the mass e-mail: “Eventually [the rats] will get the building back, but we ain’t done with it yet.”