Call For Action

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Not to be confused with call to action.

Call For Action is the name given to telephone "help lines" maintained by media outlets in the United States and abroad. The mission of Call For Action is to empower consumers by giving them a voice larger than their own. This is accomplished by volunteers across the country, who are trained to assist consumers through mediation and education in order to resolve problems with businesses, government agencies and other organizations. The services are free, confidential and available to all individuals and small businesses. Call For Action provides broadcast partners with a highly effective, low cost way to serve their community, while generating unique localized content.


Call For Action (CFA) was founded by Ellen Sulzberger Straus in 1963 at WMCA Radio in New York City. After in-depth research into New York City housing problems, a citywide telephone referral system was established to handle housing complaints. Ms. Straus' efforts resulted in revisions in the Code Enforcement procedures of the Department of Rent and Housing Maintenance and four Federal Grand Jury indictments against slumlords. This led to Call For Action's expansion into a central telephone information and referral service to handle all kinds of problems.

Ms. Straus' idea was simple. Use an ombudsman approach along with the power of the media on behalf of individual consumers to provide free and confidential mediation services. Call For Action would be a central telephone system located at a broadcast station. The station tells its audience about the service and provides a telephone number. The phones are staffed by trained volunteer professionals who act as mediators to help consumers resolve complaints.

The success of this concept led to Call For Action becoming a national organization in 1969. Four additional radio stations became hosts to CFA that year, and the first network of consumer hotlines was born. The network has since grown with offices throughout the United States and abroad. Additionally, the Network Hotline Office has the capability of handling complaints from consumers who do not have a CFA in their area.

In 1989, Call For Action undertook a second mission of educating consumers. In partnership with the Federal Trade Commission in 1991, CFA wrote a brochure for national distribution on advance-fee loan scams. Two others followed focusing on phony prize offers and double scamming frauds. In 1992, CFA produced and distributed “Scams, Schemes, and Deceptive Offers”, a brochure aimed at educating small businesses about frauds to which they are susceptible.

Since then, Call For Action has partnered with numerous corporate sponsors, including MasterCard International, Verizon, Experian, IBM, VISA, MCI, American Express, and AT&T, producing education initiatives that include identity theft, debit cards, small business scams, telephone issues, consumer credit, and online privacy. To date, Call For Action's extensive outreach campaigns have resulted in the distribution of over 9 million brochures to individual consumers, government agencies, consumer protection offices, etc.

Media partnerships[edit]

Call For Action (CFA) is a grassroots organization with over 49 years experience in providing broadcasters with image branding by assisting viewers and listeners who turn to local media outlets for problem solving and fair treatment in the marketplace. Each media partner signs a CFA Subscription Agreement guaranteeing the station exclusive rights to CFA within the station's market. The agreement also assures the local CFA of the station's support, while making clear the non-political and non-commercial character of Call For Action. Working with CFA allows stations to partner community service with on-air content in a way that generates unique local content, brand loyalty, and greater personal interaction with very little impact on a broadcaster's budget.

The success and growth of Call For Action is due in large part to the continuous support of its broadcast partners. Radio and television stations provide Call For Action with space, supplies and on-air promotion of CFA services. This cooperation enables Call For Action to be an integral part of the community and gives volunteers much needed clout when working on a consumer’s behalf. Many of the stations air Call For Action stories daily. Through this union, Call For Action is able to reach over 56 million people worldwide.


Call For Action volunteers answer calls form consumers and investigate cases. The main goal is to provide the consumers with resources and assistance throughout the mediation process. Volunteers remain impartial throughout the complaint resolution process and work with both sides. CFA's volunteer force tackles some of the most current issues on the consumer agenda today.

Our volunteers come from varied backgrounds: teachers, lawyers, former CEOs, engineers, pharmacists, secretaries, government employees. We ask our volunteers to give one set day per week for just a few hours. Volunteers are provided with complete training and preparation to serve as mediators.

Education campaigns[edit]

Call For Action is a recognized leader in consumer education campaigns. By working with corporations and agencies to develop materials designed to arm consumers with the knowledge they need about the most pertinent scams and schemes, CFA’s partners in consumer education include CBM Credit Education Foundation, MCI, AT&T, VISA, MasterCard International, Experian, and IBM. These companies and others know that CFA works harder and smarter to communicate important messages and disseminate consumer materials nationwide.

One recent project, Identity Theft: Your Good Name Gone Bad, produced in cooperation with CBM Credit Education Foundation, Inc., and reprinted in partnership with VISA, discusses identity theft, how to protect against identity theft, and what to do if it happens. We have distributed nearly 5 million copies of the brochure. In addition, we produced two VNRs that were broadcast in over 60 markets and had nearly 7 million viewers. A dedicated 800 number directs victims to their local CFA office. The second phase of the project included printing and distributing 100,000 copies of the brochure in Spanish.

Current media partners[edit]

WTAJ-TV - Altoona, PA[edit]

(814) 944-9336

Monday thru Friday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

5000 Sixth Avenue Altoona, PA 16602

WAGA-TV - Atlanta, GA[edit]

(404) 879-4500

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

1551 Briarcliff Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306

WRDW-TV - Augusta, GA[edit]

(803) 442-4550

Tuesday thru Thursday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

1301 Georgia Ave North Augusta, SC 29841

WBRC-TV - Birmingham, AL[edit]

(205) 583-4321

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

1720 Valley View Dr Birmingham AL 35209

WBZ Radio - Boston, MA[edit]

(617) 787-7070

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

1170 Soldiers Field Rd Boston, MA 02134

WIVB-TV - Buffalo, NY[edit]

(716) 879-4900

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2077 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, NY 14207

WJW-TV - Cleveland, OH[edit]

(216) 578-0700

Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

5800 South Marginal Road Cleveland, OH 44103

KKTV-TV - Colorado Springs, CO[edit]

(719) 457-8211

Monday and Thuesday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

3100 North Nevada Avenue Colorado Springs, CO 80907

WSYX-TV - Columbus, OH[edit]

(614) 821-9799

Tuesday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

1261 Dublin Rd Columbus, OH 43215

WXYZ-TV - Detroit, MI[edit]

(248) 827-3362

Monday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

20777 West 10 Mile Road Southfield, MI 48037

WINK-TV - Fort Myers, FL[edit]

(239) 334-4357

Tuesday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2824 Palm Beach Boulevard Fort Myers, FL 33916

WHTM-TV - Harrisburg, PA[edit]

(717) 214-9187

Tuesday thru Thursday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

3235 Hoffman St Harrisburg, PA 17110

KSHB-TV 41 - Kansas City, MO[edit]

(816) 932-4321

Tuesday thru Thursday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

4720 Oak Street Kansas City, MO 64112

KTNV-TV - Las Vegas, NV[edit]

(702) 368-2255

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

3355 S. Valley View Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89102

WKOW-TV - Madison, WI[edit]

(608) 661-2727

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

5272 Tokay Blvd. Madison, WI 53719

WTMJ-TV - Milwaukee, WI[edit]

(414) 967-5495

Monday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

720 East Capitol Drive Milwaukee, WI 53212

WPVI-TV - Philadelphia, PA[edit]

(866) 978-4232

WPVI-TV Call For Action

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m

4100 City Line AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19131

KPNX-TV & The Arizona Republic - Phoenix, AZ[edit]

(602) 444-1212 1-866-260-1212 (AZ residents)

Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

200 E. Van Buren, 8th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85004

WPRI-TV 12 - Providence, RI[edit]

(401) 228-1850

Monday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

25 Catamore Boulevard East Providence, RI 02914

KTVI-TV - St. Louis, MO[edit]

(636) 282-2222 1-800-782-2222 (IL residents)

Monday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2250 Ball Dr St. Louis, MO 63146

WTOL-TV - Toledo, OH[edit]

(419) 255-2255

Tuesday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

730 North Summit Toledo, OH 43604

WTOP AM & FM - Washington, D.C.[edit]

(301) 652-4357

Tuesday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

11820 Parklawn Dr, Suite 340, Rockville, MD 20852

(all other locations) - Network Hotline[edit]

(240) 747-0225

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

11820 Parklawn Dr, Suite 340, Rockville, MD 20852

Past partnerships[edit]

Two 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.

External links[edit]