Telephones: Dial 976 for Profits

The success of telephone numbers with the prefix 976, which allow callers to hear short, taped programs containing information and entertainment such as sports highlights and children's stories, has spawned a burgeoning new industry. Dozens of entrepreneurs across the U.S. are forming businesses to produce and supply telephone companies with a seemingly limitless variety of tapes, from Dial-a-Mystery to Gay News. San Francisco's Megaphone, for example, produces daily 60-sec. updates on ten popular TV soap operas, plus a Michael Jackson tape for fans who want frequent bulletins on what their idol is doing.

The financial rewards for such firms are enticing....

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