The FCC Shut Down a Pirate Radio Station Broadcasting Alex Jones

Regulators in Texas have put a stop to a pirate radio station operating out of a crumbling apartment complex.

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Aug 16 2018, 3:24pm

Growing up in Texas, Alex Jones was a constant presence. At odd ends of the radio dial, there was always a man screaming about aliens and conspiracies. He showed up in the streets of Austin, in weird documentaries, and local films. If you were a fan in the early days, and especially before the internet, you had to chase him down. The station he was on was always changing, his broadcast pumped through a successive round of pirate radio stations before he finally caught on and landed on legitimate radio networks.

On August 15, the FCC shut down one of those stations—Texas Liberty Radio. This incarnation of Texas Liberty Radio has operated since at least 2013, running off radio equipment stored in a utility room in a crumbling apartment complex on the east side of Austin, Texas.

Following a complaint about a hijacked broadcast going out over 90.1 on the FM frequency, FCC investigators came to Austin and tracked the signal down to the an apartment complex owned by M. Rae Nalder-Olenick and Walter Olenick. The FCC has ended the broadcast and is suing the Olenicks for $15,000 in unpaid fines, which the couple have refused to pay. It’s not their first run-in with the law. In 2017, Austin paid $150,000 to evacuate and relocate the apartment complex’s tenants after the Olenicks had let the complex fall into dangerous disrepair.

Texas Liberty Radio did not exclusively broadcast Alex Jones. The radio station also ran its own programming, including a show about cryptocurrency, an anti-vaccination program, and music. "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the current location site of the tower is no longer available as of December 7, 2017,” Texas Liberty Radio’s website said. The events of December 7 are unclear. “If you are a property owner and would be interested in providing a new home for TXLR, please email us.”

Texas Liberty Radio fans can still listen to the pirate broadcast on its website, via a call-in listening line, Roku, and various other apps. The Alex Jones Show still runs on regular radio in Austin via the GCN Radio Network.

Correction: The original headline for this story was "The FCC Shut Down Alex Jones' 'Flagship' Pirate Radio Station." The headline has been updated to clarify that Alex Jones does not own or operate the station. Motherboard regrets the error.