A radio station is nothing more than your home audio system, computer and mp3 player hooked up to a radio transmitter. Simple right?
But radio stations cost $1 million dollars, don’t they? Not necessarily. Sure, big licensed stations are expensive. They’re increasingly hard to come by. However, obscure rules published the FCC that allow for your wireless car lock and router also permit, up to a limit, the ability to broadcast to your neighborhood. Look at the back of your key fob or its manual. You’ll see reference to it complying with “Part 15”. Now imagine a community radio station for about $5,000.
Ever pick up the signal of your neighbors router on your own iPhone or android? Yeah, it’s broadcasting a signal to you.
This is not pirate radio if you stay within the existing FCC rules. The term “Part 15” refers to the technical rule under which hobby broadcasting is done. Currently there are more than 100 known micro-stations in the US, with some in Canada.
So, yeah, the quarter to half mile is a small broadcast zone. A larger broadcast area is not hard to overcome. You simply add another transmitter down the road from the first. There are other technical tweeks to make a signal go further, that are legal and within the rules.