A pirate radio station in Texas that served as the flagship for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has dropped off the air amid an intensifying fight with the Federal Communications Commission.
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 United States Attorney filed suit last Friday in U.S. District Court in Austin, seeking to force the couple to pay the penalty. (Read it here). The local newspaper, The Austin Statesman, reported that religious programming was airing on 90.1 FM on Wednesday, in place of Liberty Radio.
The Texas Liberty Radios website informed its listeners that “due to circumstances beyond our control,” its broadcast tower was no longer 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 programming lineup includes The Alex Jones Show, The Vaccine Myth with Shawn Siegel, who has written that inoculations are a form of social coercion, and Power Hour Nation, a station whose tagline boasts “Its All About the Truth.”
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.