How to Listen On HD Radio
For listening in the car, you can connect a portable HD Radio to the auxiliary port on your existing stereo using an audio patch cable.
Once you have your radio, tune to 88.7FM and wait for the HD logo to light up.
For more details about HD Radio, see below.
How to Listen Online
The simplest way to listen online is to visit our Listen Live page. Open it on your desktop or mobile device and press play.
Table of Contents
Listen to News 88.7 Over-the-Air
Analog FM Radio
KUHF, Houston Public Media News 88.7 transmits at 88.7MHz on the FM band. It is broadcast at 100,000 watts from a 1,722 foot tower located southwest of Downtown Houston, midway between Sugar Land and Pearland outside of Beltway 8.
Due to height of the tower and the relative flatness of the terrain in the Houston-Galveston area, KUHF’s signal propagates pretty evenly. Since FM relies on “line-of-sight” propagation, areas around the Galleria and Downtown can experience issues due to the grouping and density of the buildings.
This map illustrates the predicted coverage area of KUHF’s analog transmitter. The area inside the red circle represents what the FCC regards as a “city-grade” signal, meaning it averages 70dBu or above. The purple circle represents an area with an average transmission power of 60dBu.
Digital HD Radio
HD Radio™ is a proprietary digital broadcasting format created by Ibiquity Digital Corporation that allows for broadcasters to send multiple compressed audio streams within one over-the-air signal. To be able to receive HD Radio™ content, you will need to purchase an HD Radio™. It is also recommended that you purchase a high quality antenna.
A variety of antennas can be purchased from these retailers:
Many HD-capable radios for both home and automobiles are available from these retailers:
Houston Public Media broadcasts its HD Radio™ content from the same tower on 88.7MHz. Once your radio is connected, you can listen to one of our three HD channels:
- HD-1: A simulcast of KUHF News 88.7’s news and information programming
- HD-2: A simulcast of HPM Classical’s classical music and arts programming
- HD-3: Mixtape, which features contemporary alternative rock from XPoNential Radio, a service of WXPN in Seattle
Though the transmission tower is the same as KUHF, our HD signal does not reach as far as our analog signal, due to FCC restrictions on HD Radio™ transmission power. Currently, HD broadcasts are limited to 10% of the power of their analog brethren, meaning our HD signal is broadcast at 10,000 watts, as compared to KUHF’s 100,000 watt transmission. The HD antenna is also located at 1,460 feet on the same tower, which is lower than the analog KUHF antenna.
As you can see from the above map, while the area covered is fairly large, the transmission quality can drop greatly the further from the transmitter you are. Unlike analog transmissions, digital broadcasts suffer from a phenomenon called the “Cliff Effect.” Analog signals gradually degrade over distance, as signal strength decreases and more electromagnetic interference is introduced. Digital signals represent data that is transferred in either a perfect, complete state or not at all. That’s why you can receive HD Radio™ signals at roughly the same strength and quality to a point, and then not at all.
Listen to News 88.7 Online
Listen Live Page
Our streams are also available through several outside services that you can listen to using your browser.
Standalone Media Players
If the Listen Live page doesn’t work for you, or you simply don’t want to listen in a browser, our streams are also accessible through standalone media players. We have tested our streams in the following players and can recommend them:
- Windows Media Player (Windows)
- Winamp (Windows)
- VLC (Windows, OS X, Linux)
- iTunes (Windows, OS X)
- Nightingale (Windows, OS X, Linux)
- Rhythmbox (Linux)
- Amarok (Linux, Windows)
All of our available streams have been compiled into one playlist file that can be opened in your media player, or you can choose which stream is best for you.
AAC (short for Advanced Audio Codec) is an audio encoding format that provides a very high quality-to-bandwidth ratio, meaning you can receive a higher quality stream on a slower internet connection. However, due to licensing and patent issues, not every player supports AAC.
Supported players: VLC, iTunes, Winamp, Nightingale, Windows Media Player (with plugin)
MP3 is an audio encoding format derived from the MPEG-1 video format. As it is an older specification, it can’t deliver the quality-to-bandwidth ratio that AAC can. However, it makes up for it by having near ubiquitous support across media players.
Supported players: VLC, iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, Nightingale, Rhythmbox, Amarok
HLS (short for HTTP Live Streaming) is an Apple-developed streaming format that has widespread support on mobile devices (see below), but spotty support on desktop. Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 currently support it. The main benefit of HLS is that it allows for adaptive bitrate delivery, meaning that the quality of the stream will change depending on the available bandwidth of your connection. Supported players: VLC, iTunes
Listening in iTunes
In iTunes, our News 88.7 stream is available in iTunes Radio. In the Music section of iTunes, click the Radio tab and do a search for “Houston Public Media.”
If, for some reason, our stream in iTunes Radio doesn’t work for you, you can also try listening to our HLS stream directly. In iTunes, click File > Open Stream… (or use the shortcut Ctrl-U on Windows, Command-U on OS X), and paste in this link:
If you use the HTTP link listed above in iTunes, it won’t work, so you have to provide this link with its iTunes-specific protocol at the front.
If you are experiencing intermittent interruptions in our streaming, there are a few things that you can check. If you’re connected to Wifi, check your connection strength and try moving closer to your router.
If you live in an apartment or similar area and are connected to Wifi, you may need to check your router’s configuration. Most modern Wifi routers broadcast in the 2.4GHz range by default. This provides a good mix of range and bandwidth, but within a densely populated area like an apartment building, this slice of electromagnetic spectrum can become saturated, which can greatly decrease the strength of your connection. Newer Wireless N and Wireless AC routers can also broadcast in the 5GHz range, which may be helpful to use if available. The 5GHz signal doesn’t provide as great of range as the 2.4GHz signal and can’t penetrate walls or other objects as easily, but is usually less crowded.
It might also help to try some of the different streams listed above, as we use several different streaming servers. Your connection to one may be better than the others, which could improve your experience.
If you cannot access our streams at all, and are trying to connect to us using an office or corporate network, then your company’s IT department may be blocking streaming altogether. In order to save bandwidth and ensure quality-of-service for their users, many companies block video and audio streaming on their networks. We don’t necessarily enjoy that practice, but we certainly understand and apologize for any inconvenience.
Houston Public Media App
Houston Public Media has a native streaming application on both iOS and Android, which also provides access to schedules and other content from the Houston Public Media website. Both apps can be found in their respective app stores:
Streaming Service Apps
News 88.7’s streams are also available in a number of other streaming apps.
If you’re using an iOS device, you can also find us in iTunes Radio. Open the Music app, tap on the Radio tab and do a search for “Houston Public Media.”
Listen Live Page
Listen to News 88.7 on TV 8
If you watch TV 8 over-the-air, you also have access to a simulcast of News 88.7 on channel 8.6. Once you connect to Channel 8 on your TV, you should be able to hit channel up on your remote until you reach 8.6. If 8.6 isn’t available, you may need to rescan for channels on your TV.
Houston Public Media also provides a third content stream called Mixtape, which features contemporary alternative rock from XPoNential Radio, a service of WXPN in Seattle. It is broadcast over-the-air on KUHF 88.7FM’s HD-3 channel.
If you wish to listen to Mixtape in a standalone player, all of our available streams have been compiled into one playlist file, or you can choose which stream is best for you.