Madison, Wisconsin – Jan. 15, 2021 – Locast, America’s only nonprofit, free, local broadcast TV digital translator streaming service, has launched more than 30 local TV channels via the internet – for free – to more than 650,000 residents living in the Madison, Wisconsin, TV market starting today.
For the first time, residents in Madison and the surrounding rural areas will be able to watch all of their local TV stations via the Internet on their phones, tablets, laptops, or streaming media devices. Locast provides a public service by giving access to important local news, storm coverage, emergency information, election coverage, sports, and entertainment programming to internet-connected devices.
The Green Bay Packers will face off at home against the Los Angeles Rams this Saturday at 3:35 pm CST on Madison’s FOX Ch. 47, which is available for free on Locast.
“I was born and raised in Madison and graduated from Madison West High School and Beloit College,” said consumer advocate and Locast founder David Goodfriend. “I volunteered at the local NBC and PBS affiliates as a teenager. So launching Locast in my hometown means a lot to me personally.”
Goodfriend’s nonprofit advocacy organization, Sports Fans Coalition, fought the NFL and large media companies several years ago when it petitioned the FCC to end the Sports Blackout Rule, especially when a Packers’ playoff game was threatened with a local blackout in Green Bay. It was one bridge too far for Goodfriend, a lifelong Packers fan. Goodfriend eventually won that fight when the FCC voted unanimously in 2014 to end the Sports Blackout Rule and the NFL voluntarily suspended its local blackout policy. Today, Goodfriend continues to fight for Packers’ fans.
“I’m proud to bring Locast to my hometown and provide greater access to local TV channels and our Packers as they battle their way through the playoffs,” said Goodfriend.
Goodfriend also recounts the story of his mother not being able to get over-the-air broadcast signals in her rural Wisconsin home. “Ever since stations went digital, my mom can’t get all of her over-the-air signals. So when I launched Locast, she kept reminding me to hurry up and launch Locast in Madison. Maybe now she can finally get what the government always promised her: free local broadcast TV,” said Goodfriend.
So-called “cord cutters,” who cancel their pay-TV subscriptions, and “cord-nevers,” who have not used pay-TV services, represent a significant proportion of Locast users. For Madison’s tens of thousands of college students – many of them already cord-cutters and cord-nevers – Locast can provide a meaningful link to local broadcast news, emergency information, weather, sports, and entertainment.
A recent six-month disruption of several Madison broadcast channels caused by a broadcast tower antenna replacement underscores the importance of providing an alternative, internet-delivered local channel service like Locast. Many people living in the Madison area who relied on over-the-air broadcasts were unable to get local TV while the full-power antenna was down. As a nonprofit, Locast performs a critical public service by increasing access to local broadcast channels – on the go, over the internet, on any device – to help consumers avoid being cut off from local broadcasts.
Locast delivers more than 30 local TV channels in the Madison designated market area (DMA), including WISC-TV CBS News 3, WMTV NBC 15, WKOW ABC Ch. 27, WMSN FOX Ch. 47, PBS Wisconsin and PBS Kids as well as CourtTV, AntennaTV, The CW, BOUNCE, Movies!, LAFF, Mystery, GRIT, ION, CometTV, True Crime, Charge!, Azteca America and more.
Locast is accessible to viewers in 11 counties in the Madison DMA including Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Marquette, Richland, Rock, and Sauk.
Locast has more than 2 million registered users nationwide in 26 markets – large and small – reaching nearly half of the U.S. population. In 2020, Locast added more than 1 million users, making it one of the fastest-growing live TV streaming services. Compared to most streaming services, which charge fees, Locast is free.
Locast operates under the Copyright Act of 1976 that allows nonprofit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster. The federal statute (17 U.S.C. 111(a)(5)) states that a nonprofit organization may retransmit a local broadcast signal and collect a fee to cover the cost of operations. Locast asks viewers to donate as little as $5 per month to help cover operating costs. The donation is voluntary and not required.
Locast is available for streaming at www.locast.org, app stores, TiVo, streaming service providers Google Play, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon, and ROKU, and on DISH Hopper/Wally receivers or select DIRECTV receivers. Locast also offers Spanish-language access to the Locast app’s user-interface, log-in screens, and program guide. Complete local TV guides are available at www.locast.org.