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Introducing: Operator

Introducing: Operator

2021-10-2502:143

During the 1-900 number craze of the Nineties, one company provided the vast majority of phone sex. American Telnet was an empire founded by the man who called himself “The Telephone Pimp.” He ran the company “like General Motors” and got filthy rich doing it. But for the (mostly) women who answered the calls and delivered fantasies 24-7, it was a different story. The powerful stigma against sex work was always lurking just beneath the surface, until it threatened to tear apart the whole company.Hosted by Tina Horn (Why Are People Into That?), OPERATOR is an eight-part series about big ambitions, Shakespearean-level corporate backstabbing, men and women at the cutting edge of a technological revolution...and on the front lines of a sexual one.Listen to new episodes 2 weeks early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. https://wondery.app.link/OperatorSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Press One Now | 1

Press One Now | 1

2021-11-0838:0636

Mike Pardes has already had a colorful career before he ever hears about pay-per-call phone sex. He’s been on all sides of the transaction, so it makes sense that he would be the one to bring sexual fantasies to millions of landlines across the country. With one phone call from a lawyer, American TelNet is born.  Listen to new episodes 2 weeks early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. https://wondery.app.link/Operator Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Pardes assembles his team of executives, including an ex-Marine named Victoria. She’ll oversee the operators who answer the phones 24/7, 365 days a year. And computer prodigy Michael Self builds the technology that keeps the calls (and cash) flowing in, even as a Category 5 hurricane approaches their Florida offices.Support us by supporting our sponsors!This series is produced by Topic Studios, Hardball Entertainment, Five by Eight Productions, the Department of Motion Pictures, and Wondery.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
As the dial-a-porn business is booming, the folks at ATN constantly face new hoops to jump through: Federal regulators. Outraged politicians. Anti-porn crusaders. Victoria’s operators need to keep the calls sexy and selling without running afoul of FCC language regulations. Meanwhile, Michael Self works around the clock to build tech despite his own embarrassment at being in the phone sex industry.Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Hang Time (Explicit) | 4

Hang Time (Explicit) | 4

2021-11-2242:1018

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. This episode takes you inside the phone room to hear phone calls based on the manuals, the stories, and host Tina Horn’s own years of sex industry experience. We’re taking a break from the behind-the-scenes drama at ATN to go deeper into the sex part of phone sex — while also showing the hard work of sex work. (Note: This episode contains graphic sexual content.)Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Being on Top | 5

Being on Top | 5

2021-11-2935:2717

ATN’s business is at its peak, but a national exposé on Dateline brings unwanted attention to the 1-900 industry. Pardes thinks there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but Michael Self disagrees and starts looking for a way out.Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
It’s Not Personal | 6

It’s Not Personal | 6

2021-12-0635:039

At ATN headquarters, Victoria works harder and longer than ever, only to watch everyone else get a raise except her. Meanwhile, Michael Self starts a “cleaner” offshoot of the company, but Mike Pardes is less than enthused when it doesn’t take off. Desperate, Self decides to take matters into his own hands...Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The Coup | 7

The Coup | 7

2021-12-1330:0910

Michael Self betrays Mike Pardes and stages an elaborate company takeover, in a last ditch attempt to save First Call, his off-ramp from the phone sex business. What Self doesn’t realize is that the bad blood between the ATN partners has long been brewing, and he’s about to be double-crossed himself.Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The End of the Line | 8

The End of the Line | 8

2021-12-2046:0310

With the internet slowly encroaching on the phone sex industry, Mike Pardes hires a group of Cuban exiles to replace Michael Self’s team of tech nerds. By 2004, the FCC has banned 1-900 numbers, and with profits plummeting, American TelNet is forced to close. Life after ATN looks different for everyone: Michael Self attempts to use his tech skills towards something other than servicing ‘horny dads’, Victoria continues to be every employer’s dream, and Mike Pardes lives a bachelor life in Florida - while also trying to reunite his actual family.Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
This bonus interview episode provides a deeper dive into the experiences of a former phone sex operator. Bernardo, an operator during the heyday of phone sex in New York City circa 1980s and 1990s, takes us through the risks and dangers of the job. He reveals to Tina all the amazing characters he created in order to please the hundreds of clients he serviced.Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Will Be Wild is a new 8-part series about the forces that led to the January 6th insurrection and what comes next. Through in-depth stories from a wide range of characters – from people who tried to stop the attack to those who took part – hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz explore the ongoing effort to bring autocracy to America, the lasting damage that effort is doing to our democracy, and the fate of our attempts to combat those anti-democratic forces. Because January 6th wasn't the end of the story, January 6th was just a practice run.Follow Will Be Wild wherever you get your podcasts, or you can listen early on Amazon Music or early and ad-free by subscribing to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app.Listen to Will be Wild: wondery.fm/AO_WillBeWildSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Listen to all six episodes now, exclusive and ad-free on Wondery+Our family members are not always who we think. When Eleonore Richland exposed her father’s dark legacy, she vowed to clean up the family business – and hired her half-brother, Santino Reyes, to help her do it. But old habits die hard. In the shocking new third season, Eleonore reckons with what her father always taught her growing up: medicine is a bloody business. From Wondery, the makers of “The Shrink Next Door” and “Dr. Death,” Blood Ties stars Gillian Jacobs (Community, Love), Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why), and Peter Stormare.Listen to Blood Ties Season 3 - Strange Days: https://wondery.app.link/wplus/op_bts3See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Comments (26)

Beth Anway

It's an okay podcast... I'll continue to listen. Reminds me of the Victoria Secret one

Jan 23rd
Reply

Joe Healy

Bernardo was fantastic! Thanks for the interview.

Dec 28th
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

Great job, the best, most interesting podcast series I've had the pleasure to hear.

Dec 22nd
Reply

Suzanne Hubbard Gerken

Parness(sp) is a serious asshole.

Dec 22nd
Reply (2)

The Everyday Bombshell

If Mike Self could have accepted his part in the company in a positive way...if only he had seen this as a safe way for horny dad to explore sexually and a safe place for women to work from where they didn't even have to take off their clothes, on a positive way, instead of seeing shame in it... this whole thing would have worked out differently for everyone involved. He was the only one that thought about giving the workers supervisor 1% of the company for all of her hard work. he obviously was the genius behind the company. Phone sex never got anyone pregnant, facilitated the spread of AIDS or even demeaned the women working there. 🤷‍♀️ Meanwhile, internet pornography is causing health issues on men. You guys weren't doing the devil's work.

Dec 22nd
Reply

Suzanne Hubbard Gerken

I just listened to a bit more and I'm furious the owner had no understanding, or caring to understand, why his employees would be upset, or homeless for God's sake, when their checks weren't ready on time. What an ass!

Dec 22nd
Reply

Suzanne Hubbard Gerken

I feel as if many, many many do not respect women in any industry. A man that is respectful and isn't threatened by women, is a rare thing-in any industry.

Dec 22nd
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

Here is a quick tip: any new technology will result in a new version of the sex industry. Duh. Name an industry: Film, audio, telephone, internet, medical pharmacology. Now consider some of the new tech industries like robotics and genetics. if you're foolish enough to think that the sex industry won't benefit from those, you are just too out of touch. Come to think of it I need to go ahead and call my financial advisor. 🤔

Dec 18th
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

No, Ted definitely took advantage of Self's hypocrisy and emotional instability. That's what happens when you're okay with cashing checks from your hard work in an industry that you fundamentally disagree with. Your values and your actions must align. If you don't see the value in this sex work you shouldn't be making a pretty penny off of it. That is why he was so easily taken advantage of. Let this be a lesson for the rest of you boys and girls. it's why I don't have a problem having sold all of my shares of the big oil companies holding this country back from clean energy and marginalizing coal miners. I don't want to make money off of such a dirty industry. Period. My values and my actions align.

Dec 18th
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

The great lesson in Victoria's firing: no matter how valuable you were in building a corporation, no matter how much time you give to a corporation... they don't care about you and they won't ever feel like they owe you anything. Don't ever give your life over to somebody else's company.

Dec 18th
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

A walkout of 500 operators would have meant the accounting department would have nothing to count. Corporations always break the backs they make their money on. It doesn't matter what the industry is.

Dec 18th
Reply

The Everyday Bombshell

See THAT'S when you became shitty people...when you looked down on the women bringing in your salary. You are no better than they are. The money in both your pockets money all came from Horny Dad, but the operators actually did the hard work to earn it. So get off your high horse and grow the eff up and respect the women who earned those millions of dollars. THIS IS MY ISSUE WITH SEX WORK. Some judgmental hoity toity stuck up bible belt hack doesnt mind making their money off your back, but they don't want to acknowledge you. They dont realize THEY are the real trash. Mike Self is the worst of the bunch. Also, I'm way too lazy for sex work. 🤷‍♀️

Dec 18th
Reply (2)

Ryan

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Dec 14th
Reply

Gerard J. Leach

Old coal sports at the Olympic Games are of particular importance, they are the basis for attracting regular visitors to the Olympiad https://oddsdigger.com/ug/rowing A deep immersion into the racing atmosphere thanks to modern broadcasts from the scene is well combined, waiting for the victory of the team to which you have a bet.

Dec 2nd
Reply

Kelly Parkinson

1. .1 and I I be there for the next t1.wo

Nov 28th
Reply

Joellen Patterson Merritt

Great show! Am I the only one who finds it ironic that it's sponsored by a call in therapy company & that's how it all started? Full circle.

Nov 19th
Reply (2)

Natti Delgado

I love this podcast!!

Nov 9th
Reply

Jocelyn Allan

i guess its November 8 somewhere but evidentially not here. no sign of a first episode

Nov 8th
Reply (2)
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