FCC Chairman: Action on Pirate Radio Was Not Related to Alex Jones’ Show

Ajit Pai
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — FCC chairman Ajit Pai said efforts to enforce a fine against a pirate radio station in Austin, Texas, were not related to Alex Jones’ show, which the outlet aired.

In fact, the enforcement action dates back to 2014, when the FCC imposed a $15,000 fine against Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick for operating an unlicensed FM station in Austin, which went by the name of Liberty Radio. They did not deny operating the station from an antenna attached to their apartment building, but according to the FCC, they insisted they were not subject to the commission’s rules and regulations.

The latest action was a lawsuit that the federal government filed to collect the $15,000.

“Normally, our pirate radio enforcement efforts don’t make national news, but this one has because the pirate radio station in question was airing Alex Jones’ show,” Pai said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday. “Some have criticized the FCC for removing Mr. Jones from the airwaves in Austin — allegedly for the content of his program — and others have praised us for allegedly taking that same action. It is important to make clear that our pirate radio enforcement efforts — including this one — have nothing to do with the content pirate radio stations air.”

He added, “We act against pirate radio stations because they are violating the law by broadcasting on the FM airwaves without a license. Indeed, in this case, the operators of the FM station received a warning from the FCC that they were broadcasting without a license, yet refused to come into compliance with the law.”

Liberty Radio stopped over-the-air broadcasts in December, according to its website, although the station is still available via streaming.