WGAY-FM (99.5), with television commercials touting its "beautiful music" format as an audio tranquilizer, maintained its stress-free position as the leader of the local market in the latest survey by Arbitron Ratings.

The most noticeable gains during the summer went to the urban contemporary stations, particularly WHUR-FM (96.3), which leaped from sixth to second place, attaining its highest ratings ever.

"It shows we are homing in on what the listeners want to hear," said James Watkins, acting general manager at WHUR.

He was reluctant to define the specifics of WHUR's latest success, which saw the Howard University station beat WKYS-FM (93.9) at the urban game for the first time in six years. In the spring ratings, WHUR, WKYS and WDJY-FM (100.3), which all feature a predominantly black-artist play list, lost considerable shares of the audience.

In the latter part of this rating period WHUR lost its lead personality, Melvin Lindsey. One indicator of how it intends to keep its momentum going may be its new mini-format designed by program director Jesse Fax and called Softtones. Last week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the station started playing what Watkins called "mid-rhythm" music, which he described as less ballad-based than its nightly "Quiet Storm" program, which was Lindsey's hallmark. In addition to WHUR, many stations are following the influence of the "lighter" styles of WGAY and pop WLTT-FM (94.7).

The Summer 1985 Arbitron Ratings, compiled between June 20 and Sept. 11 and released last week, are: Rank/Station/Summer 1985/Spring 1985/Winter 1985 1. WGAY-FM 8.6 9.0 7.2 2. WHUR-FM 7.8 5.6 6.5 3. WKYS-FM 7.5 7.1 8.0 4. WMAL-AM 6.7 6.4 7.6 5. WWDC-FM 6.5 6.8 5.9 6. WRQX-FM 5.7 5.7 7.3 7. WMZQ-FM 4.1 4.6 3.6 8. WTOP-AM 4.0 3.9 4.4 9. WAVA-FM 3.9 4.8 4.7 WLTT-FM 3.9 3.9 3.5 10. WCLY-FM/WPGC-AM 3.8 3.8 3.4 11. WDJY-FM 3.1 2.8 3.3 12. WASH-FM 3.0 3.1 3.2 13. WPKX-FM 2.7 3.1 2.9 14. WXTR-FM 2.3 2.0 2.2 15. WBMW-FM 2.1 1.4 1.1 WGMS-AM/FM 2.1 3.2 3.2 16. WWRC-AM 1.9 2.4 2.2 17. WHFS-FM 1.1 1.0 1.6 WTKS-FM 1.1 1.2 .7 WYCB-AM 1.1 1.7 1.0 18. WOL-AM 1.0 0.5 1.1 Shift Changes

Bill Cerri, a veteran of 15 years on WETA-FM (90.9), has added Saturdays 6 to 10 a.m. to his schedule. He will still hold down the 5 to 10 a.m. slot weekdays . . . Paul Anthony's "Jazz Unlimited" on WGMS-FM/AM (103.5/570) has moved to 8 until 11 p.m. on Saturdays. The Chicago Symphony will be heard from 6 to 8 p.m. . . . WDCU-FM (90.1) has temporarily added a daily gospel show from 10 p.m. to midnight. A Sad Note

Ron Sutton, a sportscaster and announcer in Washington for nearly 20 years, died earlier this week. Sutton, a graduate of the District's Armstrong High School and the Columbia School of Broadcasting, worked as the sports director and announcer for WHUR for seven years and also worked at WGAY. His funeral will be held today at 11 a.m. at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Specials

Today until 8 p.m. WWRC-AM (980) will spotlight the music of the late composer Nelson Riddle . . . WMAL-AM (630) is celebrating its 60th anniversary tomorrow by playing the favorite 60 songs listeners voted for all week . . . WXTR-FM/AM (104.1/1560) is playing pre-Beatle pop music for the Columbus Day weekend, and Sunday from 8 p.m. until midnight Dick Lillard is featuring Memphis rockabilly -- Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley & Co. Money Matters

WMDO-AM (1540) will present a check to officials of the Mexican Embassy today for $5,000, part of the $11,000 the station raised for the victims of the Mexican earthquake. Datebook

On the agenda today of the National Black Media Coalition, currently meeting at the Shoreham Hotel, are Jerry Lyman, former general manager of WGMS and now vice president of RKO General, on the topic of "Successful Radio," and Cathy Hughes, owner of WOL-AM (1450), on "Black Radio -- Past, Present and Future" . . . Charlie and Harrigan of WAVA-FM (105.1) will appear at the Stroh's "Run for Liberty" tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. The five-mile benefit for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty starts at the J.W. Marriott . . . John Murphy of WBMW-FM (106.7) will participate in a cake-cutting tommorrow at noon with Effi Barry, the wife of Washington Mayor Marion Barry, to celebrate the second anniversary of the Post Office Pavilion . . . Adam Smasher of WWDC-FM (101.1) will host the first of two "psychedelic supper parties" Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Network in Pasadena, Md. The next night at the Bayou in Georgetown, Cerphe will hold forth at 10 p.m.