The nonprofit Sports Fans Coalition NY (SFCNY) today announced that Locast.org, a service that allows streaming of free local broadcast channels, is adding Washington, D.C., and Baltimore to its list of markets.
The additions bring Locast’s total markets to nine. The service launched in New York City in 2018 and has since added Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Philadelphia.
The company said that it streams nearly every full-power broadcast channel within the markets it serves. With the addition of D.C. and Baltimore, the company said it now reaches nearly one-third of all U.S. households. Locast is free to use for consumers that have an internet connection and live within the relevant Nielsen designated market areas.
“More than 87,000 people have signed up with Locast since we launched last January,” said David Goodfriend, chairman of SFCNY, the nonprofit group that operates Locast. “Locast is bringing the public mission of free, local broadcast to a new generation of cord-cutters and Internet-only video consumers. With the addition of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Locast has now provided almost a third of U.S. television households with a way to watch local broadcast TV, even if you do not subscribe to pay TV or cannot receive an over-the-air signal.”
A common question about Locast is whether streaming free local broadcast channels over the internet is legal. The company insists that it is and that Locast.org operates under the copyright statute that allows nonprofit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster. According to the statute, a nonprofit organization may retransmit a local broadcast signal and charge a fee to cover the cost of operations.
Locast.org does not charge a fee per se, but the organization does allow users to donate via credit card, PayPal or various cryptocurrencies.
Locast.org is available through the App Store, Google Play and Roku.