The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has learned of scams that apparently target low power FM (LPFM) 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 hundreds of 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.

Perpetrators of these scams advertise the Part 15 devices as a means to start an LPFM radio station. Some perpetrators have advised potential applicants to use the perpetrator’s expertise/services (for a fee) to prevent FCC rejection of their applications.

To Minimize the Risk of This Happening to You

Don’t be fooled into buying a product or service that is unnecessary. Buying a Part 15 device or transmitter will not automatically allow you to start an LPFM radio station. The FCC authorizes all licenses for LPFM radio stations. The license is free and is required before construction or operation of the 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 LPFM web page.

Remember, use discretion and don't let anyone fool or scare you into buying a product or service that may be unnecessary for the licensing or operation of an LPFM station. Research all claims and check the FCC's LPFM web page if you have a question about the application itself or how to apply for a license.

For More Information

For more information about LPFM radio stations, visit the FCC’s Media Bureaus LPFM website at www.fcc.gov/lpfm

Consumer Help Center

For more information on consumer issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.

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Low Power FM Radio Scams Guide (pdf)

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Saturday, November 7, 2015