Media Watch

Dip in the Downtown Radio Stream

Downtown Radio, the low-power station that broadcasts at 99.1 FM, has taken an important step in efforts to enhance its reach. As of June 1, the station, an eclectic collection of songs spanning a loose and expansive definition of rock as well as specialty format programs, has received solid, positive support since its launch in September.

But as a fledgling product on a shoestring budget, it took time to get the pieces in place to make streaming a possibility.

"We've been planning it for awhile, and we have a tech committee, but nobody had the experience to start streaming," said station manager Jason LeValley. "I was introduced to Andrew Gaskins, and he was able to get us through the process really quickly. It was less than a month from meeting him that we got it all working."

Streaming is a fairly common thing among radio stations. If there's a station with a terrestrial signal, more than likely there's a way to hear what the station is playing through the assistance of that Internet thing. But because Downtown Radio wasn't able to launch online at the same time as its terrestrial presence, that created a repeated demand among listeners to take the next step.

"We've had hundreds of people ask about it," said LeValley. "They live or work out of the range of the signal and expressed to us they wanted to listen. This fixes that. Other people wanted to be able to listen while at work, and don't have traditional radios nearby or on the job."

It also increases the possibility people can access the website,, or its presence on the TuneIn app, and listen from anywhere they want.

"I think it speaks to how unique our programming is that we can attract an audience from various places," said LeValley. "There just aren't that many stations that are doing what we're doing."

Get your Heroes and Icons on KTTU

Some folks like to think of Memorial Day as an opportunity to spend some time with family and friends, and maybe just wind down a bit.

It's probably not a normal practice to scan the market's available TV antenna channels because COZI TV on KVOA's alternate antenna signal at channel 4.2 has screwed up the weekday viewing schedule, which begins with Charlie's Angels at 10 a.m. and Hart to Hart at 11, and replaced it with an insipid Baywatch marathon.

But after an initial frustration, which always includes terrible signal strength as my not-so-top-of-the-line antenna tries to wrangle enough picture quality for Antenna and MeTV, I encountered a pleasant surprise.

Something called H&I on KTTU TV 18.

I immediately recognized frizzy-locked Stepfanie Kramer, and realized I had stumbled upon television gold. I think the mental response was something like, "holy crap, something called H&I is playing Hunter," and then in my head remembered that I liked Hunter, a Stephen J. Cannell produced '80s cop show that aired on NBC and starred former football standout Fred Dryer as a hardnosed, no-nonsense, almost-always-shoot-first-and-get-the-ladies-second LA detective. Largely because critics considered it the most violent thing on network TV.

But there it is, on my TV. Heroic. And Iconic. And then I'm thinking this is the first time I've enjoyed anything on KTTU in years.

Well, that's not quite true. Spanish language TV offering Estrella on 18.2 can be pretty darn amazing sometimes.

Anyway, here's the deal. H&I stands for Heroes and Icons, and it's available on the KTTU piggyback signal at 18.3 on your antenna. No cable. No satellite. Antenna only.

It's owned by Wiegel Broadcasting out of Chicago. That's the group that also runs MeTV, which airs in Tucson on KOLD's 13.2.

The H&I lineup includes a bunch of western shows from the '50s and '60s in its morning schedule, which is pretty much part and parcel for these networks, then branches out into some cop and sci-fi territory, highlighted by afternoon showings of Hercules starring Kevin Sorbo and Xena with Lucy Lawless.

But for me, that's mostly just fill. I'm digging the two-hour block of Mannix from noon to 2 p.m., and looking forward to putting time aside to catch up on Renegade, the '90s former-cop-on-the-run-who-rides-a-motorcycle extravaganza starring Lorenzo Lamas. Renegade is sort of one part Fugitive, one part Chippendales. It's another Cannell production, and even featured Cannell as the dirty cop, Dutch Dixon, who framed fellow alliterative officer Reno Raines (Lamas) in the first place.

Now sure, I could use my antenna television time to check out some travel or cooking show on PBS, or watch Estrella or Telexitos to hone the foundation for something beneficial like learning Spanish (that does happen with some frequency when Telexitos plays episodes of VIP, which is a way better Pam Anderson show when dubbed in Spanish than any Baywatch episode in English), but that might cut into the things I've learned in the geriatric commercial breaks on these other antenna offerings.

I'm pretty up to speed on the Consumer Cellular phone plan, and I might be your go-to source for life insurance policy info and anything you need to know about the Foot Angel ankle bracelet.