At the American Magazine Conference held this week in New York City, it was predicted that spending on advertising wouldn't improve until the middle of 2002. "July is the earliest we think we'll see a pickup," said David Verklin, CEO of the Carat North America ad agency. Because of low third quarter profits, businesses have cut back on or delayed ads. Some are waiting, according to a Dow Jones report, as long as possible before deciding on future ad purchases. Bottom line: magazines more than any other media sector face tough times ahead. Television isn't exempt as a related wire service story reports the National Football League's pricey television contract is in jeopardy because of reduced spending by advertisers.