AM radio has become more specialized to attract discerning listeners who are looking for particular programs that interest them.

If you have real estate or housing questions, then "The Real Estate Hour" on KTKK (alias "K-Talk,"AM-630) radio is for you. Hosted by Salt Lake real estate broker Craig R. Vierig, the show airs Saturdays from 2 to 3 p.m.The 4-year-old show sometimes features special guests and discusses how to buy and sell real estate, including an open forum - call-ins by listeners - every other week.

Vierig said that the program started when he called KTKK to correct some of the misinformation circulating on the radio and was offered a chance for his own show by station owner Starley Bush.

The program moved to KALL for about one year but returned to KTKK four weeks ago. Vierig said that KTKK is pleased with the show's high ratings, and it should be around for a long time.

- KUTR (AM-1320) - The station will sponsor a special autograph session with various LDS musicians and authors Saturday, April 6, between LDS General Conference sessions (noon to 2 p.m.) near the information booth in the downtown ZCMI Center.

Michael Webb, Kevin Corbett, Wanda Lindstrom, Lance and Collette Reader and many others will be on hand to sign autographs.

At Deseret Book, authors Blaine and Brenton Yorgeson and Gerald Lund will be signing autographs.

KUTR will also have registrations for various prize drawings, such as LDS book series and children's videos and cassettes. The station will also give away cassette tape samplers and free pizza certificates while supplies last.

- KLCY (FM-94.1) will award more than $25,000 in home furnishings to one lucky listener in its "Classy Ethan Allen Home Sweepstakes." The grand prize is a big screen TV, a spa, outdoor patio equipment and a complete stereo system. Second prize in the contest is a big screen color TV set.

To register, complete an entry form at one of the sponsors, announced on KLCY, or call the station during the designated song.

- MYSTERY-MURDER DINNER - Hans Petersen and Trina Eyring of KALL (AM-910) will be special guests at "Celebration Toast," a murder-mystery dinner party at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Friday, April 12.

The dinner program, which begins at 7 p.m., offers guests the chance to solve "who done it." Will Petersen be the murderer? Will Eyring fall prey to some devious deed?

Sorry, the event is sold out, but maybe Petersen and Eyring will discuss their experiences on the radio April 15 or thereafter.

- APRIL FOOL RADIO - The most common April Fools' Day joke by local radio stations was to alter their clocks. Both KLZX ("Z-93," FM-93.3) and KISN (FM-97.1) kept providing incorrect time updates to listeners. Jon and Dan at Z-93 set their clocks 181/2 minutes fast and said the Earth's wobbling required that clocks be set faster, while KISN's Fisher and Todd set their clocks a full hour ahead. Of course, some listeners called to complain, not realizing what the special occasion was.

In fact, one KISN listener received a speeding ticket because she thought she was one hour late for work. The police officer who wrote the ticket informed her that she was the victim of an April Fools' joke. After hearing of the ordeal, Fisher and Todd offered to pay the woman's $43 ticket out of their own pockets.

Meanwhile, Jon and Dan announced their candidacy for Utah governor on April 1 and stressed that this was not part of an April Fools' stunt.

- RATINGS RISE FROM GULF WAR - As expected, local AM radio stations experienced a dramatic audience increase last winter because of listeners seeking news on the gulf war.

The ratings for age 12-plus for KSL (AM-1160) on the Birch ratings service went up almost 17 percent during December through February, while KCNR (AM-860) experienced an incredible 500 percent audience increase. KCNR previously only had about 13,000 listeners, but this figure rose to almost 90,000 during the gulf war.

KCNR is a CNN station, although it didn't promote its official call letters until recently after realizing that it might not receive proper credit in the radio ratings, since KSL is also a CNN-affiliated station. With several stations carrying CNN, it was tough for ratings companies to determine which station a listener was tuned to.

In any event, KCNR is now making sure that listeners are familiar with its official name to avoid any possible mistaken identity in the future.

KALL (AM-910) also had a large audience increase in the winter Birch book, rising almost 21/2 times, and even KTTK (AM-630) had a slight increase, possibly from the war.

These Birch ratings are only audience estimates and included all listeners surveyed, age 12 and older, for the Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m.-to-midnight winter period.