Sports TV News
Streaming Service Locast Forced To Pay Damages To Networks, Shutdown
“Local station feeds are available via an antenna but the right’s wars we so often see come from those retransmission fees.”
Locast is shutting down, and it has some debts to pay down along the way. The flailing streaming app now has to pay the four major broadcast networks copyright damages totaling $32 million.
Upon launching two years ago, Locast claimed it was a non-profit and only streaming an already-free signal over the air. That would have made them immune to retransmission fees, but ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX sued the company in 2019 for those fees.
Locast stood firm in saying it was an established non-profit, but a judge ruled in August that they misused the funds for expansion. The New York ruling stated Locast could only use the money to lessen the costs of operating their service. Instead, Locast used funding for expansion — which they have done in 36 markets nationwide.
Locast served nearly 55% of the country by the time the court ruling shut down the streaming company. It operated in cities ranging from Boston and Baltimore to Phoenix and Puerto Rico.
The streamer has been off the air since September and drew the ire of FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch.
“Clearly, the court loss for the rogue piracy business, Locast, was an important one for us,” Murdoch said to Streamable. “We will always vigorously defend our intellectual property. And it’s just pleasing to see that a threat out there or someone who thought they could steal our content for free and subvert the business model of television, broadcast television in this country, it’s pleasing to see that threat has been averted.”
Local station feeds are available via an antenna but the right’s wars we so often see come from those retransmission fees. The four major networks charge cable and satellite companies retransmission fees to profit at a larger level.
Locast tried to game the system, but the four major networks wield a lot of power for a reason and proved it’s harder than ever to get away with this type of plan.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Sports TV News
Michael Wilbon to Resume Traveling After Foot Surgery
“Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
If you watch a lot of ESPN, you are used to seeing Michael Wilbon on screen in front of a desert backdrop. That is pretty standard when the PTI and NBA Countdown star is broadcasting from his home in Arizona.
That backdrop has been seen a lot this year as Wilbon has been off the road. He is recovering from surgery to repair an ulcer on his right foot. They are part of his struggle with Type II diabetes. He had the surgery in April.
Since then, he has been getting around on a scooter, which he joked with the New York Post’s Ryan Glasspiegel is exactly what LeBron James is doing right now.
“When you’re 64 years old, you’re not gonna come back from that overnight — I don’t know if you would at 44 either.”
Michael Wilbon says that he expects to return to the road this week. From what he told Glasspiegel, it sounds like we are more likely to see him in the studio than at an arena.
“I can still work,” he said. “Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
Sports TV News
Paul Byrd, Brian Jordan Won’t Return to Braves Broadcast Booth
“Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host.”
Atlanta Braves fans will be greeted with a very different television broadcast when Major League Baseball’s regular season begins later this month. Bally Sports South has undergone a full talent overhaul.
When the network announced its talent for the 2023 season, two names were missing. Neither Paul Byrd nor Brian Jordan will return. Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that Byrd’s decision was a personal matter, while the team made efforts to bring Jordan back.
Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host. He was at the front of a season preview show, which premiered last week.
The Braves have been hit with plenty of other changes this offseason. Chip Caray will be replaced by Brandon Gaudin on play-by-play after Caray decided to leave Atlanta for St. Louis. Also, Tom Glavine returns as a game analyst after taking time away from the team in 2022.
Sports TV News
ESPN Employees Brace For Major Layoffs
“According to Front Office Sports, 700 jobs have been cut, including those of anchors, reporters and analysts, since 2015.”
As the restructuring at Disney continues under CEO Bob Iger, tough decisions regarding people’s careers with the company are being made.
The jobs of 7,000 Disney employees will be eliminated as the company tries to save $5.5 billion in costs.
Stephen A. Smith, on a recent episode of his podcast K[no]w Mercy, said ESPN is not going to escape unscathed.
“ESPN is under the Disney umbrella,” Smith said. “They’re going to have cuts coming.”
ESPN has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years. According to Front Office Sports, 700 jobs have been cut, including those of anchors, reporters and analysts, since 2015.
Stephen A., who has an annual salary of $13 million, said no one’s job is safe.
“Hell, for all I know, I might be one of them,” Smith said. “Now, I doubt that. But it’s possible. No one knows.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.