Abstract Unitarization of black hole evaporation requires that quantum information escapes a black hole; an important question is to identify the mechanism or channel by which it does so. Accurate counting of black hole states via the Bekenstein–Hawking entropy would indicate this information should be encoded in radiation with average energy flux matching Hawking's. Information can be encoded with no change in net flux via fine-grained modulation of the Hawking radiation. In an approximate effective field theory description, couplings to the stress tensor of the black hole atmosphere that depend on the internal state of the black hole are a promising alternative for inducing such modulation. These can be picturesquely thought of as due to state-dependent metric fluctuations in the vicinity of the horizon. Such couplings offer the prospect of emitting information without extra energy flux, and can be shown to do so at linear order in the couplings, with motivation given for possible extension of this result to higher orders. The potential advantages of such couplings to the stress tensor thus extend beyond their universality, which is helpful in addressing constraints from black hole mining.