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FCC targets pirate radio station that broadcasts Alex Jones

The Hill logo The Hill 8/21/2018 Jacqueline Thomsen
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has shut down a pirate radio station known for its broadcasts of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the station, Liberty Radio, was hit with a $15,000 fine and at least temporarily pulled from the airwaves.

The newspaper reported that a lawsuit filed in federal court in Austin alleged that Liberty Radio had functioned without a license since at least 2013, and had been transmitting from a tower at an Austin apartment complex.

Liberty Radio, or LRN.FM, stopped airing on the radio in December, but still streams online.

The FCC is charging that the station was also illegally broadcasting on an FM wavelength.

The Associated Press reported that Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick were named as the defendants in the lawsuit, and the apartment complex from which the station was transmitting is linked to them.

The Olenicks reportedly told the FCC that they would not pay the fine and would treat any agency representatives as trespassers.

Media reports, including the local Statesman, described the station as Jones's "flagship" outlet; NPR reported Thursday that it had picked up the nickname "Alex Jones Radio" over the years.

The station does air rebroadcasts of "The Alex Jones Show."

Alex Jones wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill However, station host Danny Sessom wrote in a Facebook post late Wednesday that media reports describing the station as Jones's "flagship" are "actual fake news," noting that Jones didn't broadcast from the station.

Jones, a conspiracy theorist who founded the site Infowars, has recently been banned by several platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, for allegedly violating their terms of service.

Infowars and Jones's content has also been pulled from Spotify and Vimeo, and Twitter placed restrictions on their accounts.

Jones has been forcefully criticized for some of the conspiracy theories he promotes. The parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have sued him for saying the massacre was staged and a cover-up was orchestrated by the parents of the children.

— Editors' note: This story was updated at 3:20 p.m. Thursday to reflect that Liberty Radio is a pirate station that rebroadcasts Alex Jones's programming.

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