Writing in his regular column in TV News Check yesterday, Harry Jessell said something pretty close to what I said a couple of months ago. He wrote, “I don’t know it for a fact, but I know that it’s true that Charlie Ergen is the money behind Locast,” the non-profit over-the-air TV streaming service.
Jessell pointed to most of the evidence that I mentioned earlier, that Locast founder David Goodfriend used to represent Dish in Washington, and that it’s a heck of a coincidence that the Locast app is now on the Dish Hopper receiver. And Jessell also provided the principals’ public denials, noting that Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen declined to comment about the Locast connection during Dish’s Feb. 13 earnings call. About the only thing of mine that Jessell didn’t use was Locast’s otherwise odd choice of Ergen’s home, Denver, as the smallest of its first markets.
As I understand it, the key to Locast’s survival is its non-profit status. That way it can use the chunk of copyright law originally meant to encourage repeater towers to send local free TV over the internet. And that’s why Ergen and Dish have to stay at arm’s length; I’m surprised the Locast app is already on the Hopper. Then again, maybe it’s all just a coinincidence.
By the way, I’ve been meaning to note that my previous difficulties with Locast have evaporated. If I use a GPS emulator on my Android tablet to appear to be within one of Locast’s TV markets, I can see that market’s channels. Since the enabling copyright law was designed for spreading free-TV signals beyond their original reach, I feel like I’m just taking advantage of the world’s best repeater.