FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- It is 11 a.m. in Room 206 at WTVJ-TV, Channel 4, in this beachfront city, and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) is hooked up to the "big bird." His freckled, moon-shaped face and Boy Scout grin are being beamed across the South.

"Hello, Louisville, this is Congressman Gephardt. We can go ahead," he says to WHAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Louisville, which asks why he isn't campaigning in Kentucky.

"Oh, that's not at all true. We're running an active, strong campaign in Kentucky. The reason I think we'll do very well in Kentucky is we are the only campaign that is offering concrete, specific answers," Gephardt declares before moving across the map, switching channels.

"Hello to Birmingham. This is Congressman Gephardt," he says in a neighborly manner to WBRC-TV. "Alabama is a very important state on 'Super Tuesday,' and I think I'm going to do well because I am the one candidate who is giving specific, concrete answers . . . . The other candidates, Gov. {Michael S.} Dukakis and Sen. {Albert} Gore have been very hazy."

Hello, WSAA-TV in Montgomery. Hello, WAGA-TV in Atlanta. Hello, KXII-TV in Ardmore, Okla. Hello, KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Tex. Hello, KFDX-TV in Wichita Falls, Tex.

Hello, hello, hello to every living room within reach of the "big bird" and a satellite dish. Gephardt is marching across videoland with a few presidential words and a friendly smile for everyone.

The back-to-back satellite interviews he conducted here Thursday and from Austin, Tex., Wednesday were part of a fundamental change his campaign underwent last week. With Tuesday's Minnesota caucuses and South Dakota primary behind him, Gephardt and the other presidential candidates faced the new reality of politics for Super Tuesday, March 8.

The battle is no longer for the hearts of a few hundred voters gathered in a fire station or church basement in Iowa or New Hampshire. The battle is for money and television time.

The old-fashioned way to get television time is to buy commercials or "earn" it on news broadcasts. Traditionally, candidates "earned" news coverage by flying from city to city, speaking to groups and staging news conferences and "photo opportunities" to attract attention.

Until last Wednesday, Gephardt spent virtually all his time doing this. On Monday, the last day of his South Dakota primary campaign, he spoke at 12 events, visited eight cities and never talked to more than 300 people at a time.

This changed dramatically as he moved south.

With 20 states electing 1,307 delegates on March 8, Gephardt desperately needed air time and had sparse resources to buy it.

He held seven fund-raising events during the first 60 hours of his Super Tuesday campaign. He collected $50,000 in Waco, $21,000 in Austin and $48,000 in Houston before he had finished a full day in the South.

The self-styled "populist" of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination suddenly found himself spending major parts of his day with stockbrokers, attorneys, bankers and real estate agents. Hours of "private time," in which he was to telephone donors to solicit money, also appeared on his schedule.

By the end of the week, national finance chairman Terry McAuliffe said, the campaign had raised $930,000. "It was our best week ever, no question about it," he said.

Gephardt also tried harder than ever to "earn" free television time the new-fashioned way: via satellite. The idea is simple: the campaign simply becomes a television production company for about 90 minutes a day, connecting the candidate with TV anchors hundreds of miles away for brief question-and-answer sessions.

It is surprisingly cheap -- a candidate can conduct as many as 10 five-minute satellite interviews with anchors in different cities for $5,000 or less -- and effective.

First, the campaign rents a television studio and satellite time. Then, Deborah Johns, Gephardt's communications director, contacts television stations to find if their anchor or political editor would like to interview the candidate.

The television station gets a personal interview for use on its news programs; Gephardt gets free publicity under controlled circumstances. It is all made possible by advances in technology.

"The basic concept is the congressman sits in a studio and is interviewed," Johns said. "The stations have his face and his voice available for use on the air. The information is beamed up to the satellite and then bounced down to the stations."

Johns sets up eight to 11 interviews, back to back, allotting five minutes to each. Half of that is usually taken up by greetings and hookup time, typically leaving two minutes for the interview. "I'm pretty confident that almost everything is used," she said.

Gephardt and Massachusetts Gov. Dukakis, his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, have been experimenting with satellite hookups for months.

The technology suits Gephardt. He is a disciplined, almost robot-like candidate. He can give the same speech 10 times in a day and hardly vary a word.

After two years on the stump, he has learned to turn almost every question into a discussion of his favorite topic, trade policy, and his controversial amendment, which threatens tariffs on goods imported to the United States from countries that do not open their markets to American goods.

Every time an interviewer asked him about foreign policy or his opponents, Gephardt started talking about how it costs $48,000 to buy a Chrysler K-car in South Korea because of trade barriers.

Gephardt said his plan would force the Koreans to negotiate a lowering of these tariffs. "They'll leave that negotiating table wondering how they're going to sell Hyundais in America for $48,000," he told WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Fla., Thursday.

He used almost exactly those words six times in nine satellite interviews. The example is straight out of Gephardt's standard stump speech and his best-known television commercial.

Only now Gephardt was able to broadcast it free on television news shows in five different states without leaving a studio. That's what Hello Time in Super Tuesday land is all about.