By David Altaner, Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--Apr. 1--WTDT, Worldwide Target Demographic Television, in Deerfield Beach produces magazine-style infomercial shows with soft-sell formats.

Hosts including Robin Leach and Dr. Joyce Brothers introduce magazine-style shows that are so low-key they often don't include an infomercial staple, an 800-number for ordering the products.

``People don't want to be hit over the head, they prefer soft sell,'' said Daniel Dailey, president of WTDT and a former stockbroker who lost his securities license in 1993 for making unauthorized trades.

One customer liked how a segment he bought on a WTDT show had the tone of a newscast. ``It's more important to use the medium to explain rather than sell,'' said Robert Kilgore, marketing director for Ithaca, N.Y.-based computer company, C-Bord.

But Jack Shember, editor-in-chief of ResponseTV in Santa Ana, Calif., said that without an 800 number, there is no way of judging the success of such a program.

Although WTDT's shows are low-key, some of its clients claim WTDT's pitch is hard sell. Customers are pitched by salespeople called ``associate producers'' as if it is an honor to be chosen for the show, even though they are asked to pay $10,000 and up to be on it.

WTDT sales literature touts boards of advisers for topics such as high technology and medicine. But some ``board members'' were surprised to hear that they were on WTDT's board.

``It really upsets me they are using my name,'' said Chuck Lauer, publisher of Modern Healthcare. ``Apparently they use it as a way to get in to talk to other people.''

Of the complaints from supposed board members, Dailey said those people ``might have been sent a letter in 1993'' about being on a board. He says he no longer uses the boards.

WTDT solicits corporate clients who pay $10,000 and up for a 3- to 5- minute segment on a show. The promised package usually includes magazine ads, airings on cable and a tape of the show segment.

Eleven suits were filed in Dade and Broward counties by clients or contractors, eight since last May. Many have been settled.

Several claim that the full package isn't being delivered to clients. A suit filed by Krieger Watch claims the company was promised an ad in Details but was offered Cigar Afficionado instead. In a settlement reached in January, WTDT agreed to pay Krieger $10,000. Europa Time of Boca Raton's still-pending suit claims that neither news releases nor magazine ad was delivered, and the video segment was unacceptable. Dailey said his company reshot the segment more than once to please Europa.

He said he knows the company's strategy doesn't always work perfectly. ``That's why I spend money on make-goods,'' or followup airings, he said. ``I either try to solve something, or I work it out with the client.''

Although WTDT brochures feature big cable companies such as CNBC, Discovery Channel and Nostalgia Network, some airings actually appear on Channel America, which has a relatively tiny audience and costs substantially less.

Dailey said WTDT uses Channel America for followup airings after shows appear on a major cable channel. END!K&3?FL-INFOMERCIALS

AP-NY-03-31-95 2125EST

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.