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Spot Check is a quarterly survey of spot radio purchasing activity in the top 20 markets compiled by Horizon Media, New York. Markets are ranked by spot radio availability after second-quarter sales.

TOP 20 OVERVIEW: A surge of retail, fast-food, automotive and entertainment spot radio buys has created "the strongest demand we have seen for the last several years," said Bill Koenigsberg, president of Horizon Media. Second-quarter spending is projected to be up 11% to 13%. The third-quarter outlook rides a slightly weaker wave, with projected spending increases of 8% to 10%.

VERY TIGHT-Time nearly sold out with short lead time.

Atlanta: All categories are up, especially auto, retail, beverages and entertainment.

Chicago: Very healthy. Automotive and TV are up, retail is down.

Cleveland: All categories are up, with political ads leading the way.

Detroit: Up 20% from second quarter '93. Automobile is strong.

Houston: Retail, entertainment and beverages are strong. New advertisers, MCI and AT&T, are spending.

Miami: Market is strong although local business is down 5%. National is up 23%. Automotive is flat. Beverages, retail and entertainment are up.

Los Angeles: Up overall 10% to 15% due to earthquake. Key categories: computer, auto, airlines, Sav-On Drugs, political and building suppliers.

Minneapolis: Market is up 20% from last year. Most stations are nearly sold out.

New York: Some highly ranked stations sold out weeks in advance. Fast-foods, beverages, beer and seasonal products dominate the little time left.

Tampa, Fla.: Fast-food and retail are up 15%.

San Francisco: Overall market up 15% to 20%. Key categories are auto, grocery, airlines and political.

Washington: All categories are up, except retail, with a lot of last minute placement.

TIGHT-Time available, but demand keeps prices stable.

Boston: Market is retail driven in third quarter, due to extreme weather conditions.

Dallas: Local spending up 15%; national up 7%. Retail and automotive up; last minute business had a big impact on second-quarter sell-out situation.

Denver: Market is up 10% from last year. A lot of outdoor activities dominate the airwaves: speedways, amusement parks, two big concerts and Colorado Rockies baseball games.

Philadelphia: Very strong; up 8% to 10%. Automotive, retail and beverages are up.

Phoenix: Market up 15% from second quarter '93. May was sold out. Beverage and entertainment are up.

Pittsburgh: May sold out. Overall, up 20% from last year. Automobile, retail and fast-food are up.

Seattle: Up 15% nationally and 30% locally. Beer is backing off this summer.

St. Louis: Market is up more than 12% from last year and is very tight for June and July.

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