So what is Locast's motive in providing this service? Are they really doing this out of kindness in their hearts for the poor souls who cannot obtain local broadcasts by any other means? I didn't get that impression during the incessant interruptions for donations during the broadcast.17 U.S. Code Section 111 (a) (5)
[The secondary transmission of a performance or display of a work embodied in a primary transmission is not an infringement of copyright if-]
(5) the secondary transmission is not made by a cable system but is made by a governmental body, or other nonprofit organization, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage, and without charge to the recipients of the secondary transmission other than assessments necessary to defray the actual and reasonable costs of maintaining and operating the secondary transmission service.
That is the peg that Locast hung its hat on. A specific law referring to the specific act that they specifically performed. The charge to recipients is specifically limited. They would need to rely on separate donations for expansion or other costs.
"In 2020, Locast's operating costs were $2.436 million while revenue for the year totaled $4.372 million."
Well over the "actual and reasonable costs of maintaining and operating the secondary transmission service".