AT&T Donates Half a Million to Non-Profit Backing Locast Broadcast App

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—The group behind the Locast app that retransmits network O&O and other local broadcast signals over the top via the internet in geo-fenced markets will benefit from a $500,000 donation from AT&T.

AT&T said today it was donating the money to non-profit advocacy group Sports Fans Coalition NY (SFCNY) to support the group’s mission of making free broadcast content available to consumers and to give them more choices in how to access it.

Locast retransmits broadcast signals via the internet without running afoul of copyright restrictions because of an exemption permitting signals to be retransmitted if the entity involved does not make a profit, according to a report by John Eggerton in TVTechnology’s sister publication B&C. The carve-out is the same exemption used by TV translators to extend the reach of television stations in remote parts of the country.

Currently, Locast is available in 13 cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Boston, Denver, Baltimore and Rapid City and Sioux Falls, S.D. AT&T added the app to its DIRECTV and U-verse receivers in May.

SFCNY, a New York-based non-profit, began in 2017. In January 2018, it launched Locast in New York City and has added a city every other month over the past 18 months. While currently available to 32 million users, Locast aims to cover the entire country through private donations. 

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.