The service, which launched in Madison Jan. 16 and doesn’t require an antenna, is free to users, but Locast asks for donations of $5 to $25 a month or $60 to $100 a year to help cover its costs. The service is only available to those living within a specific designated market area as defined by Nielsen Media Research. So, those living in the Indianapolis area, for example, can only get television programming from Indianapolis television stations, not other media areas around the country.
The Madison media market, ranked 81st in the country, includes more than 343,000 television households in 11 southern Wisconsin counties, according to Nielsen. Dodge, Jefferson and Walworth counties are part of the Milwaukee area, which does not yet have Locast.
In the Madison area, Locast offers 34 stations that include the ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS affiliates plus their digital channels, like WMTV’s 15.2, 15.3 and 15.4. Sports are not restricted, so viewers can watch the Super Bowl on CBS while shopping at Woodman’s Market or sitting in an ice shack on Lake Mendota. Locast does not stream cable stations such as ESPN, CNN, HGTV or Discovery. Likewise, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks games on Fox Sports Wisconsin are also absent from Locast.
Other stations available from Locast in the Madison area include COZI, home to classic television shows like “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Munsters,” “Frasier” and “Rosanne.” There’s Court TV, True Crime Network and Sonlife Broadcasting Network, an extension of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. LAFF has sitcoms like “According to Jim,” “Home Improvement” and “How I Met Your Mother.” GRIT features westerns and ION has crime dramas like “Law & Order” and “Chicago P.D.”