The FCC is aware of scams targeting low power FM (LPFM) radio station applicants. Applicants report they have received emails or letters offering to "jet start" an LPFM station or telling them to buy equipment or services that may not be useful or necessary. Perpetrators of these scams may refer to the equipment or station as a "Part 15 device" or "Part 15 transmitter."
Part 15 devices or transmitters are low-power, non-licensed transmitters. Examples of these types of transmitters are cordless phones, baby monitors, garage door openers, wireless home security systems and other types of common electronic equipment that utilize very little power. Operators of Part 15 devices are not required to obtain a license from the FCC to use them.
The scammers advertise the Part 15 devices as a means to start an LPFM radio station. Some perpetrators have advised potential applicants to use their expertise/services for a fee to prevent FCC rejection of their applications.
Ways to reduce risk
Don't be fooled into buying an unnecessary product or service. Buying a Part 15 device or transmitter will not automatically allow you to start an LPFM radio station. The FCC authorizes all construction permits and licenses for LPFM radio stations. There is no cost to file an application for a permit to construct an LPFM station or for a license to operate an LPFM station. An LPFM radio station construction permit is required before construction or operation of the LPFM radio station can begin.
To start an LPFM radio station, potential applicants must file an application during a certain time frame, when their applicable filing window is open. When new filing window dates are announced, notices are posted on the FCC's web page at fcc.gov/lpfm. Information about how to apply for an LPFM radio station construction permit is included there.
Low Power FM Radio Scams (pdf)