How to watch your local news for free

Since the earliest days of television, the nightly news has been one of the easiest ways for Americans to stay informed on what’s happening around the world, the nation and in their own community. You’d think that all the technological advancements that have impacted TV viewing over the years would have made keeping up with your local news broadcasts easier — but they seem to have somehow made it harder.

The switchover from analog to digital TV broadcasting signals, which happened all the way back in 2009, gave viewers with over-the-air antennas the ability to pick up dozens more free channels than they were ever able to before. Unfortunately, it also muddied the waters a bit as picking up those channels became slightly more complicated than it was in the days when you just adjusted the rabbit ears built into the top of your TV and turned the dial until you found a network.

What’s more, the advent of streaming and on-demand TV over the internet in the past few years has made some people wonder whether or not it’s still possible to get your local broadcast networks for free anymore. Thankfully, it is.

Why Local News Still Matters

As news readership has shifted mostly online, local newspapers have lost countless subscribers in the past 20 years, forcing many to shrink their coverage or close completely. On the other hand, local TV news has remained a vibrant presence in many communities and a daily part of many people’s lives.

There’s something exciting and intimate about seeing places you know and hearing the names of businesses in your own area on TV. Aside from the important reporting being done on the streets in the cities closest to you, local TV networks provide services that people count on every day, including traffic updates, weather forecasts and the all-important list of school closings and delays come wintertime. On the business side, local broadcasting matters because the ad breaks you see on your local daily news are typically filled with commercials for area businesses, many of which are small. Staying up to date on what’s happening in your backyard is never a bad idea.

Watch Local News For Free

Local broadcast channels are still completely free to watch and don’t require you to have TV service from any company. The only things you need to watch the local channels in your area are a TV and an over-the-air antenna (and we’ve got plenty of recommendations if you’re in the market for one).

Once you’ve got both of those components, you can watch all of the local channels in reach of your antenna, which will usually include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS, as well as perhaps dozens of extra digital channels attached to the main networks.

Each of the iterations of the five networks listed above that are in your neck of the woods will likely have its own local newsroom and air its own live news broadcasts several times per day. The picture quality should be very good if the signal strength is solid enough.

Are you ready to start watching your local news for free? Take our short quiz to find out which antenna is right for you.

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