THE YEAR OF LIVING O.J.;RADIO FEEDS ON TRIAL

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Radio stations have used live "gavel-to-gavel" coverage from the O.J. Simpson trial to garner new advertisers and listeners.

CBS Radio, ABC Radio Networks, Westwood One Radio Networks (via CNN Radio) and Group W Broadcasting provide live feeds from the courtroom for use by affiliates. The networks couldn't say exactly how many stations are taking pieces of the trial from their feeds, but CBS said 15 to 20 stations are carrying the whole thing. Ten or more ABC affiliates are carrying the trial full time. Three Westwood affiliates are carrying the trial.

CBS affiliate KNX-AM in Los Angeles, the only station with gavel-to-gavel coverage in the city where it's all happening, has added Dribeck Importers' Beck's beer, Hewlett-Packard Co., Saab Cars USA and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. since the trial began. Audience share hit 3.7 for winter 1995 from 2.2 for fall 1994, said Sales Manager Mike Masterson, and ad rates have doubled during certain time periods.

Two Chicago stations, WMAQ-AM, which carries the CNN feed, and ABC Radio affiliate WLS-FM broadcast the trial all day. WMAQ, which has been carrying the trial since the beginning, has seen ratings jump to 3.6 from 2.2.

WLS only began coverage about eight weeks ago. Operations Director Drew Hayes said: "We wanted to put the trial on our FM station because there is a huge interest in it and there are 3 million or so people who are downtown in office buildings every day and can't get a good AM transmission."

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