Communications and Media
Please don’t pay for wireless Internet access in Tucson. Even if your hotel doesn’t provide free access to a wireless network (and nearly all the accommodations in this book do), there’s sure to be a coffee house or restaurant near you that does. Even Jack-in-the-Box has free Wi-Fi. The City of Tucson has made pretty much the entire downtown area a wireless hot-spot. You can access the network around 101 North Stone Avenue at Jacome Plaza outside the main library, and nearby on Alameda Street near the Pima County Courthouse.
You can also access a free wireless network throughout the Pima County complex along Alameda. If that’s not enough, the main library downtown, and all of the myriad branch libraries around town, offer access to free wireless, as well as computers that can be used, with some restrictions, to access to the Internet.
If you’ve brought your laptop with you to town and it’s acting up, don’t call one of those high-priced corporate “geeks” to fix it. Instead, call Student Experts (520/762-6687, www.studentexperts.com), a local company that employs UA students who know their way around computers. Day or night, they’ll race to your home or hotel and get you back to work in as little time as possible. I have used them several times, and they have always been professional and competent. And, best of all, they charge about half as much as the big guys.
Magazines and Newspapers
The morning daily newspaper the Arizona Daily Star (http://azstarnet.com) has a local focus but isn’t provincial by any means. The weekly alternative tabloid the Tucson Weekly (www.tucsonweekly.com) is the place to go for news on arts, entertainment, politics, and local news; you’ll find it free on red racks throughout the city.
Distributed from green racks around the city (often right next to the Tucson Weekly rack) is one of the Old Pueblo’s newest publications, Tucson Green Times, a monthly tabloid focusing on green living, sustainability, environmental politics, and more. If you want to know what’s going on in Tucson in terms of sustainability—water harvesting, solar-energy research, alternative fuels, healthy living, etc.—this is a good place to start. The Desert Leaf, a free monthly distributed throughout the city at coffee houses, bookstores, and elsewhere, concentrates on the culture, lifestyles, and businesses of the foothills neighborhood, but really its editorial content is all over the map. Its articles will be helpful to anyone looking to learn about life in the high-end Southwest.
Tucson Lifestyles magazine is a slick monthly with articles about local art and culture, real estate, restaurants, shops, and, of course, people. Every quarter a new edition of the slick Tucson Guide is released, stuffed full of interesting and informative articles on Tucson and the surrounding area, with an emphasis on all that is unique about this place. The weekly tabloid Inside Tucson Business covers the local business community and is sold from racks and at newsstands and some bookstores.
You’ll find all of the above publications, plus hundreds more from around the world, along with national and international newspapers, political and literary journals, paperbacks, cigars, pipe tobacco, and cigarettes, at Crescent Tobacco Shop & Newsstand (Downtown at 200 E. Congress St., 520/296-3102; on the east side at 7037 E. Tanque Verde Rd., 520/296-3102).
Radio and TV
I can’t recommend that you tune in to any of the Old Pueblo’s network affiliates for news. This is a small media market, often used as a brief stepping stone to something bigger by all those big-smile blondes and tall-and-handsome helmet-heads that television news producers prefer. In short, the local news programs in Tucson border on the laughable nearly all the time. Just don’t watch them.
The one exception I can recommend is the local PBS affiliate, KUAT Channel 6, operated on the campus of the University of Arizona. Every weeknight at 6:30 p.m. the smart news magazine Arizona Illustrated examines Tucson’s life, politics, and culture in-depth, regularly presenting longish interviews and panel discussions with Southern Arizona politicians, movers-and-shakers, and journalists.
As for radio, the Tucson landscape is particularly bleak, filled with the corporate-run outlets with the same sounds, voices, and crude jokes you can hear in any city of moderate size. Venture onto the AM dial for several locally produced daily talk shows concentrating on politics and sports.
The local NPR affiliate, KUAZ 89.1, also at the UA, broadcasts NPR from early in the morning with Morning Edition, and then continues throughout the day with The Diane Rehm Show, Talk of the Nation, The World, Fresh Air, and, at the end of the day, All Things Considered. After 7 p.m. on weekdays KUAZ plays a good mix of jazz programming. If you enjoy an eclectic music mix and a news shows like Democracy Now, tune in to Tucson’s community news station KXCI 91.3.
© Tim Hull from Moon Tucson, 1st Edition