Toll-Free Woes: Clogging Jerry's phones

Woes Clogging Jerry's phones

While Oral Roberts struggles with budgets, Fundamentalist Preacher Jerry Falwell faces a different kind of money pinch. The Lynchburg, Va., televangelist has long used toll-free phone numbers to assist viewers seeking spiritual help. The code-800 exchange has also worked well for fund raising, since those who phone in free are more likely to make pledges.

For many months Falwell foes, aware that each phone-in costs $1, have purposely clogged his lines. First an Atlantan who objects to TV ministers programmed his computer to dial Falwell every 30 seconds. Before Southern Bell stepped in, the stunt cost Falwell $750,000. Then it was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!