UPDATED to clarify that Alex Jones is not involved in the station.
A pirate radio station in Texas that broadcast conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s show has dropped off the air amid an intensifying fight with the FCC.
The Department of Justice filed suit against Walter and Rae Olenick, accusing them of operating an unlicensed radio station out of their Austin apartment complex since at least 2013.
The FCC sent the couple multiple letters, warning of the dire consequences of broadcasting without a license, including fines, seizure of equipment and even criminal sanctions. It called upon the operators of Liberty Radio to “cease immediately.”
The Olenicks responded that the agency lacked jurisdiction and to “kindly never bother us with your harassment … again.”
The FCC imposed a $15,000 fine on the Olenicks in 2014 for their willful and repeated violations, which they refused to pay.
The U.S. Attorney filed suit (read it here) Friday in U.S. District Court in Austin, seeking to force the couple to pay the penalty. The Austin-American Statesman reported that religious programming was airing on 90.1 FM on Wednesday, in place of Liberty Radio.
The Texas Liberty Radio’s website informed listeners that “due to circumstances beyond our control,” its broadcast tower no longer was available as of December. It suggested alternate ways to tune in, via streaming apps such as TuneIn, WinAmp or Shoutcast or by calling the “listen line.”
The pirate station, whose programming lineup includes The Alex Jones Show, has been described as the commentator’s flagship outlet. That characterization that raised the ire of one of the station’s hosts, Danny Seesom, who said TXLR merely rebroadcasts Jones’ show. Calling it anything else amounted to “fake news.”
Jones’ Free Speech Systems wrote Deadline to say it has no involvement in the ownership, operation or conduct by the radio station, and it is not his “flagship” station.
However, the 90.1 FM frequency has long been associated with Jones, notes NPR. When the FCC first penalized its operators in 2014, the Austin Chronicle noted Liberty Radio had earned the nickname ‘Alex Jones Radio’ for airing New World Order warnings for more than a decade.
Jones is finding it increasingly difficult to locate outlets for his show as major technology companies including Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify refuse to distribute the content, citing concerns about hate speech and incitement of violence.
Twitter, a lone standout, this week imposed a suspension over threats of violence against the media.