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Piped-In Music From Radio Station Also Brings Ad From Competition : LIGHTER SIDE OF BUSINESS

Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Callers to businesses that are either understaffed or awfully busy often get stuck on hold by the switchboard. It can be irritating, and it can pose problems for the business.

A recent caller to the Costa Mesa office of Malibu Savings & Loan Assn., for example, was stuck on hold with a phone system that included music piped in from an area radio station.

The idea obviously is to soothe or at least entertain customers while they wait. But by using a commercial radio station, Malibu S&L; also provided its customers with paid advertising.

On this particular day, the caller was startled to hear an advertisement for a competing S&L.; The ad touted the competitor’s low loan rates and urged listeners to call or stop by as soon as possible for the fastest service and lowest rates around.

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