RALEIGH, N.C., June 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Locast, America’s only nonprofit, free, local broadcast TV digital translator streaming service, is now delivering 40 local TV channels via the internet – for free – to the nearly 3 million residents living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, TV market, which includes Fayetteville, Chapel Hill and Rocky Mount. Raleigh is Locast’s 33rd market.
Within the Triangle – consisting of North Carolina State University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Shaw University, and others – Locast will help local residents, students and military families stay informed about major storms and hurricanes, health updates, local news, weather, and sports through their local broadcast TV stations. Especially in hilly regions where over-the-air broadcast reception can be unreliable, Raleigh-Durham residents can use Locast to watch their local TV channels via the internet on their phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices.
Raleigh-Durham and nearby Fayetteville are also home to many military families who can qualify for the Locast Cares Program – a way for users who cannot donate financially to watch their local TV channels without receiving donation-request interruptions. The program is open to the first 25,000 applicants and available for one year. Military personnel, first responders and low income households, among others, can apply at www.locast.org/cares.
Locast delivers 40 local TV channels in the Raleigh designated market area (DMA), including WRAL NBC 5, WTVD ABC 11, WNCN CBS 17, WRAZ FOX 50, PBS, PBS Kids, as well as DABL, Univision, Antenna, CourtTV, Mystery, MeTV, TrueCrime, the CW, GetTV, BOUNCE, Quest, LAFF, COMET, HSN, GRIT, COZI, and more.
Locast is accessible to viewers in 23 counties in the Raleigh-Durham DMA including Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Nash, Northhampton, Orange, Person, Sampson, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson. The DMA also covers Mecklenburg, Virginia.
So-called “cord cutters,” who cancel their increasingly expensive pay-TV subscriptions, and “cord-nevers,” who have never subscribed to pay-TV services, represent a significant proportion of Locast users. For those who cannot afford pay TV or cannot receive an over-the-air signal, Locast is often their only link to local broadcast news, emergency information, weather, sports, and entertainment.
Locast was started by consumer advocate David Goodfriend, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who founded the nonprofit advocacy organization, Sports Fans Coalition, in 2009. He helped lead the fight against the NFL and large media companies by petitioning the FCC to end the 40-year-old, anti-fan Sports Blackout Rule. Sports Fans Coalition won in 2014 when the FCC voted unanimously to end the practice, giving fans greater access to watch their local football team. Goodfriend founded Locast in 2018 to help ensure widespread availability of local TV channels.
Locast now has more than 2.7 million registered users nationwide in 33 markets – large and small – reaching more than half of the U.S. population. Compared to most streaming services, which charge fees, Locast is available for 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.