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FCC Upholds $15,000 Pirate Fine

Texas couple told FCC its rules don’t apply there

A proposed $15,000 fine against Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick has progressed to a Forfeiture Order.

The FCC says in its decision the Olenicks operated an unlicensed radio station on 90.1 MHz in Austin, Texas. In 2013, agents traced the unauthorized signal to their apartment building, and found an antenna mounted atop an approximately 50-foot tower attached to the building. A coaxial cable ran from the antenna to a utility or maintenance room, according to the agency.

The Olenicks didn’t deny they operated the pirate station, and admitted they own the tower. However they asserted “they are not subject to the jurisdiction” of the agency because they’re in Texas, and the agency’s rules don’t apply there, according to the commission account.

The FCC disagreed, and warned them that continued pirate operation may result in higher fines, equipment seizures and criminal prosecution.

The Olenicks have 30 days to pay or the case may be turned over to the Justice Department for collection.