Locast announced this morning that they have added Madison, Wisc. to the list of cities in which they are available. That means residents in Madison and the surrounding rural areas will be able to watch all of their local TV stations, including WMSN (FOX Ch. 47), which will air the Green Bay Packers vs.Los Angeles Rams NFL playoff game this Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET.
Locast is now accessible to viewers in 11 counties in the Madison designated market area (DMA) including Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Marquette, Richland, Rock, and Sauk.
In addition to FOX. Ch. 47, the free, nonprofit, local broadcast TV streaming service delivers more than 30 local TV channels in the Madison DMA, including WISC-TV CBS News 3, WMTV NBC 15, WKOW ABC Ch. 27, 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’s user base is made up of cord cutters and cord-nevers meaning Madison’s tens of thousands of college students can access meaningful local broadcast news, emergency information, weather, sports, and entertainment for a $5.50 a month donation.
Locast has more than two million registered users nationwide in 26 markets reaching nearly half of the U.S. population. In 2020, Locast added more than one million users, launching Puerto Rico, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indianapolis markets, among others.
In August, they expanded to the Midwest becoming available in 50 counties in the Minneapolis and St. Paul markets in Minnesota, as well as seven counties in western Wisconsin.
Since July 2019, Locast has been battling ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, which claim the service is in violation of copyright laws. In their lawsuit, the networks argue that when Locast retransmits their signals, it strips out vital information, including Nielsen codes that are used to measure ratings. In addition, the networks also claim that if Locast is truly a nonprofit, and not helping AT&T and Dish, then there is no reason to require registration or gather its own consumer data — both of which Locast currently does.
In a countersuit filed, Locast accused ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS of collusion. Locast claimed the networks interfered in a potential partnership with YouTube TV by disallowing it to provide access or Google would be “punished by the big four broadcasters.” The broadcasters — which own cable channels such as ESPN, Bravo, Fox News and Showtime — could band together and pressure Google as well as other pay-TV operators by refusing to sell their cable channels, Locast suggested.