FCC crackdown on pirate radio station ensnares Alex Jones

Alex Jones.
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Alex Jones and/or his Infowars site have been banned from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify over their hateful and demonstrably false conspiracy theories, and even Twitter just put Jones on one-week probation. Now, Jones has been swept up in another controversy, this time with the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC shut down Radio Liberty, a pirate radio station that sometimes airs Jones' programs. According to documents in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, this week, Radio Liberty had been illegally broadcasting over a local FM station from 2013 until it ceased pirating the airwaves in December and switched to online streaming and a call-in "listen line." Infowars issued a statement clarifying that "Mr. Jones does not own, operate, or have any relationship with that radio station or its owners."

FCC agents from Houston tracked the pirate radio signals to apartments in north-central Austin owned by defendants Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick, the Austin American Statesman reports. According to the FCC, the Olenicks refused to pay the agency's $15,000 fine or recognize its authority and threatened to treat FCC agents as trespassers if they returned to the property.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai clarified that the agency's actions against the pirate station "have nothing to do with the content" it aired. On Wednesday, the American Statesman said, the once-pirated frequency, 901.FM, was playing religious programming. Peter Weber

Editor's note: This article originally mischaracterized Jones' relationship to Radio Liberty. The text and headline have since been corrected. We regret the error.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.