Residents in the Tri-Cities market gained a new, free option Monday for watching local TV channels on their phones, tablets, computers or streaming media devices like Roku.
Locast, America’s only nonprofit, free, local broadcast TV digital translator streaming service, is now delivering more than two dozen local TV channels via the internet to the nearly 700,000 residents living in the Tri-Cities.
Locast delivers 27 local channels in the Tri-Cities designated market area (DMA), including WCYB NBC 5, WEMT FOX 39, WJHL ABC/CBS, as well as DABL, Antenna, CourtTV, Mystery, MeTV, TrueCrime, the CW, Grio, BOUNCE, Quest, LAFF, COMET, ION, GRIT, Charge!, and more.
Locast is accessible to viewers in 19 counties in the Tri-Cities DMA, including Leslie and Letcher counties in Kentucky; Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties in Tennessee; and Bristol City, Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Norton City, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Wise counties in Virginia.
The Tri-Cities is the 32nd Locast market, and the nonprofit teamed with Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) for the location of the Locast data server. BTES is a city-owned electric utility that also provides an advanced fiber optic network that supports its electric system and offers internet, telephone and cable TV services.
“We’re pleased to assist Locast in its not-for-profit mission of delivering local TV channels via the Internet to those who cannot afford pay TV or cannot receive an over-the-air signal due to the topography found in northeastern Tennessee,” said Mike Browder, CEO of BTES.
BTES serves 33,000 customers in a 280-square-mile service area in the City of Bristol and Sullivan County.
“At Locast, we understand the challenges consumers face when trying to watch their local, off-air broadcast TV channels in an area with steep mountains, rolling hills and valleys like those surrounding the Tri-Cities,” said David Goodfriend, founder and chairman of Locast. “We’re pleased to have BTES aid in our mission by providing us the ideal data center for delivering dozens of local news, weather, sports and other TV channels via the internet to consumers’ phones, tablets, laptops or streaming media devices. Reflecting their commitment to public service, BTES is helping to bring Locast to consumers in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia throughout the entire Tri-Cities market, even to people living outside of the BTES service area.”
As a nonprofit, Locast provides a critical public service by increasing access to important local news, storm coverage, emergency information, COVID health and safety updates, election coverage, sports, and entertainment programming on the go, over the internet, on any device.
Locast now has more than 2.6 million registered users nationwide in 32 markets — large and small — reaching more than half of the U.S. population. Compared to most streaming services, which charge fees, Locast offers free TV.
Locast is available for streaming at www.locast.org, app stores, TiVo, streaming device providers Google Play, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon, and ROKU, and on DISH Hopper/Wally receivers or select DIRECTV receivers. Locast also offers Spanish-language access to the Locast app’s user-interface, log-in screens, and program guide.