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Locast Expands Its Reach in Florida, Now Available in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach

Stephanie Sengwe

Only a month after launching in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Locast has expanded into more cities in Florida. Today, the nonprofit local broadcast TV streaming service announced they are now available in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Locast will give locals access to their local news, hurricane and storm coverage, emergency information, election coverage, sports and entertainment programming via internet-connected devices.

“For the first time, Floridians located within the Miami and West Palm Beach DMAs will be able to watch their local TV stations on their phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices,” said Locast founder and chairman David Goodfriend. “Local TV news is critical for broadcasting alerts about hurricanes, elections and coronavirus-related restrictions, making Locast an important lifeline for South Florida residents and for those who can’t get local TV channels from an off-air antenna or cannot afford a pay-TV subscription.”

The news comes as the state continues to be riddled with rising coronavirus cases. The service allows for the 6.8 million TV viewers in the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas to tune in their local TV news on their mobile devices and stay informed about local emergency alerts regarding further outbreaks or closures.

Locast will give Miami and Ft. Lauderdale residents access to ABC 10, NBC 6, CBS 4, FOX 7, PBS, PBS Kids, Estrella TV, MOVIES!, The CW, CourtTV, Univision, Telemundo and more. Counties served by the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale DMA include Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe, along with the Florida Keys.

West Palm Beach viewers will have access to 28 channels, including ABC 25, NBC 5, CBS 12, FOX 29, PBS, and PBS Kids, Azteca America, Mystery, ION, Grit, Justice Network and more.

Since last July, 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 in September, 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.