Call For Action

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Call For Action was the name given to telephone "help lines" maintained by many radio stations in the United States, beginning in the 1960s and 1970s.

The lines serve as a kind of ombudsman or "public service" function; callers would contact the station via a special "hot line" number to complain about some consumer-related issue (e.g., the complainant may have ordered merchandise which was never received) or perhaps a matter relating to local government (e.g., a street light that had remained inoperative for several weeks or months). A reporter employed by the station would then conduct research on the matter at hand and attempt to resolve it.

Two celebrated[citation needed] examples of "Call For Action" lines were the ones maintained by WMCA in New York City, with a telephone number of (212) PLaza 9–1717, and by WFIL in Philadelphia, whose Call For Action number was (215) GReenwood 7–5312. The jingles used by the stations to announce these numbers became well known in both cities, and an interesting "side effect" was that after WMCA discontinued its Call For Action number, the subscriber subsequently assigned that number continued to receive calls asking for it even many years afterward. The old number belonging to WFIL (once associated with WPVI-TV, which also once held the WFIL call letters) is held by a west Philadelphia pizzeria as of July 2011.


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