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Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers for telephone calls during which certain services are provided, and for which prices higher than normally are charged.
These numbers were dialed as any other number, such as 976-1234.
A call to either one of these numbers can result in a high per-minute or per-call charge.
For example, a "psychic hotline" type of 1-900 number may charge .99 for the first minute and 99 cents for each additional minute.
Initially, consumers had no choice regarding the accessibility to 900/976 numbers on their phones.
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.
One variant, targeted at children too young to dial a number, enticed children to hold the phone up to the television set while the DTMF tones of the number were played.