Production

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
8

In the 1920s, the Bell Telephone Company began providing recorded messages which gave the time of day and weather to its customers. The technology developed for such message services enabled Bell to provide these services at reduced costs because an operator did not have to handle the calls and give the information.[1973] Such recorded messages were called "Dial-it" services.

By the 1970s, this service had expanded and included recordings such as dial-a-joke and sports score lines.[1974] The telephone company was solely responsible for the content, distribution and advertising of the recorded messages.[1975]

In the early 1980s, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that providing information by recorded messages was a service beyond the permissible scope of the telephone companies' authority.[1976] As a result of this ruling, the entire telephone Dial-it service network was transformed.

Today, the delivery of all recorded message services involves two entities: the information provider, which is responsible for the content, distribution, and advertising of the message; and, the telephone company, which is responsible for transmitting the calls and billing the caller.[1977]

The recorded messages referred to as "Dial-A-Porn" began in 1982 after the deregulation of the Dial-it service.[1978] With the advent of telephone deregulation, some telephone companies began holding lotteries to select providers of recorded messages or Dial-it services. One provider or Dial-A-Porn Services was a winner in the lottery conducted in New York State and by February of 1983 was offering Dial-A-Porn services over three telephone lines. It had acquired the lines either through the lottery process or by leasing them from other lottery winners.[1979] While this company has become one of the leading providers of Dial-APorn services, there are now many other Dial-A-Porn providers in the market.[1980]

There are two types of Dial-A-Porn calls.1981 The first, involves the customer dialing a number and carrying on a live conversation with a paid performer on the other end of the line. The performer who answers the call will talk to the caller in terms as sexually explicit as the caller desires and may encourage him to perform sexual acts during the course of the phone conversation.[1982] The call may last up to forty-five minutes and the caller is billed on his credit card for an amount usually between fifteen and thirty dollars.[1983]

The second type of Dial-A-Porn call involves the receipt of a pre-recorded message when the caller dials the designated number.[1984] These calls are a part of the Mass Announcement Network Service (MANS) and all begin with the prefix "976."[1985] MANS recorded messages provide other information such as prayers, racetrack results, weather forecasts, sports scores, time of day, and children' stories.[1986] The caller is charged for each call to this service on his other monthly telephone bill.[1987]

The Dial-A-Porn recorded messages often consist of verbal illustrations of sex acts. These acts are frequently described by the performer as though they were actually occurring during the call with the caller and the performer was an actual participant in the acts.[1988] The acts described may include lesbian sexual activity, sodomy, rape, incest, excretory functions, bestiality, sadomasochistic abuse, and sex acts with children.[1989] One Dial-A-Porn number in California,[1990] offers the caller a choice of five "pleasures" including descriptions of sadomasochistic abuse, urination, and anal intercourse.[1991]

Notes

  1. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Dunkle, p. 248.
  2. Id., p. 249.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Id.
  6. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 228. Brent Ward has been the United States Attorney for Utah since_ 1981. He recently represented the United States in FCC v. Carlin Communications. In this case, an investigation was conducted which resulted in a judicial proceeding. Witnesses and evidence were subpoenaed regarding the Dial-A-Porn industry in general and the defendant in particular.
  7. Id.
  8. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 379, 388A-6; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 227.
  9. Id.
  10. Id.
  11. id.
  12. Id. at 228.
  13. Id. at 228.
  14. Id.
  15. Id. at 230.
  16. Id. at 231.
  17. Id.
  18. The telephone companies have issued such numbers as 976-FOXX, 976-4LUV, 976-SLUT and 976-LUST upon the request of a Dial-A-Porn provider. These numbers not only indicate that nature of the 976 service but are memorable numbers as well.
  19. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 381; Flesh Fantasy News Paper, Vol. XIII, No. 23, Issue, No. 612(Aug. 9, 19 $-5).