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The number used for the radio program was one that was specially arranged by AT&T Corporation, CBS Radio, and the White House, to be free to the calling party.
These numbers were dialed as any other number, such as 976-1234.
Initially, consumers had no choice regarding the accessibility to 900/976 numbers on their phones.
However, in 1987, after a child had accumulated a bill of ,000 From the early 1980s through the early 1990s, it was common to see commercials promoting 1-900 numbers to children featuring such things as characters famous from Saturday morning cartoons to Santa Claus.
At that time, many evening news agencies conducted "pulse polls" for $.50 per call charges and displayed results on television.
One early use was by Saturday Night Live producers for the sketch "Larry the Lobster", featuring Eddie Murphy. AT&T and the producers of SNL split the profits of nearly 0,000.