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LOCAL BROADCASTERS FOLLOW NETWORKS' LIQUOR LEAD

By Published on .

With most national TV and radio networks so far refusing to accept liquor ads, local stations would seem the best bet for spirits marketers eager to get commercials on the air.

Yet there are indications even that route will be filled with roadblocks.

"Almost every one of the major broadcast groups would have the same position as the networks," said Jim Beloyianis, president of Katz TV Group. "It's not a category we're actively soliciting and it's our job to go out and solicit categories-it's just knowing station sensitivities," he said.

Mr. Beloyianis said Katz, which represents 190 TV stations, has not yet been approached by liquor marketers.

ABC, CBS and Fox said their owned stations do not take liquor ads. NBC said it was up to the general managers of its stations, but the network recommends against it.

Gannett, Cox Broadcasting, LIN Television and Freedom Communications said their stations do not accept liquor ads, a policy they don't expect to change.

"We don't want to be pioneers," said Freedom Communications President Alan Bell. "The attitudes of people toward sex, religion and liquor are really not rational. The smart thing to do is avoid confrontation."

Radio on the surface has some advantages over TV because it is less expensive and marketers would be able to move quickly to air holiday ads.

Seagram Americas recently placed radio commercials in eight markets, a $1 million campaign. Stewart Yaguda, president of new-business development at Interep Radio Store, which handled the Seagram placement, said half the radio stations approached accepted the ads last month.

But some radio station groups are following radio networks in issuing bans on spirits advertising, including Infinity Broadcasting and American Radio Systems.

Mr. Halonen is Washington bureau chief at Electronic Media.

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