Locast launches in Tampa Bay area

Tampa skyline
Tampa, Florida (Pixabay)

Locast, a local broadcast TV streaming service, said it now offers more than 45 local TV channels for free in the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater TV market in Florida.

Locast is streaming Tampa channels including ABC 28/40, NBC 8, CBS 10, FOX 13, PBS, PBS Kids, Telemundo, The Florida Channel, Univision, Telexitos, MOVIES!, Estrella TV, Azteca America, MyNetworkTV and CourtTV. The organization said it’s now in 19 U.S. TV markets and has more than one million users.

“For the first time, Floridians located anywhere within the Tampa DMA will be able to watch all of their local TV stations on their phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices,” said Locast Founder and Chairman David Goodfriend in a statement. “Local TV news provides the most up-to-date emergency and disaster information, and it broadcasts critical alerts about hurricanes and coronavirus-related restrictions. As long as local TV stations continue to broadcast during major storms, Locast will remain a lifeline to those living within the Tampa metro area.”

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Locast streams full-power broadcast channels in local markets to anyone with an internet connection located within the relevant Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA). The company's operational costs do not include licensing fees paid to broadcasters. The organization relies on a statute within the Copyright Act that allows a non-profit organization to retransmit local broadcast signals.

Locast is available through www.locast.org, Dish Network Hopper receivers, select DirecTV receivers, TiVo and through Google Play, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon and Roku platform. The app offers multi-language support by giving Spanish-language access to the Locast app’s user-interface, log-in screens and program guide.

Locast is a non-profit, but it asks its users for donations to help cover costs. Last year Locast received a $500,000 donation from AT&T, which said the money was intended to assist Locast in its “mission to make free broadcast content available to consumers and offer them more choice” by serving as a signal booster and alternative means of accessing broadcast stations.