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Shiver Me Timbers

Pirate Radio Station Tells FCC to go Walk a Plank

BY KEVIN BRASS

Deborah Stevens with radio co-host Randall Kelton at the Travis County courthouse

Nine months after the Federal Com­mun­i­ca­tions Commission moved to shut down an unlicensed Austin radio broadcast, the pirate station is still on the air, openly defying the government order.

“I’m not giving up, because this is about the truth,” said Deborah Stevens, the public voice behind the station, as she eats quiche at a South Austin diner. Her voice rises a couple of octaves when she mentions “the truth,” Barack Obama’s birth certificate, or “the cartel” – especially the cartel. “It’s all about the cartel, the monopoly cartel, the Texas Association of Broadcasters and the FCC protecting their cartel illegally,” said Stevens, part of a group loosely known as Radio Free Austin.For more than a decade, the group has used frequencies at 90.1FM and 100.1FM to broadcast shows discussing what they see as the government cover-up of 9/11, the growth of the police state, and the accuracy of various prophecies. Their guru is Alex Jones, self-styled leader of Infowars, man’s last hope against the much-discussed and constantly feared New World Order. Some commuters may know the station from the handmade signs touting liberty and the station’s frequency occasionally unfurled on a fence along MoPac, north of Downtown.

Last November the FCC ordered Stevens and her husband, Jerry, to pay a $10,000 “forfeiture” for operating the station without a license. Also fined was former Travis County Sheriff Raymond Frank, 84, who served as sheriff in the Seventies and ran for the post again in 2008 on a platform that included reducing penalties for marijuana possession. For many years, the station broadcast from a transmitter on an old 80-foot-tall wind tower on Frank’s Mount Larson property.