Local radio host feels pain of Alex Jones custody woes

Alex Jones flashes a friendly thumbs up as he exits a Travis County courtroom. (Photo: CBS Austin News)

It seems everyone including Stephen Colbert is talking about Alex Jones' custody battle with his ex-wife. She's trying to use Jones' frequent public rants against him. But he insists the rants are just for the camera.

Jones has a lot at stake in this custody trial. In the media wars he’s found a way to stand out and keep followers coming back for more. But it's tough to do what Jones does on-camera and now try to convince people you're really a nice family guy.

At Newsradio KLBJ there's one host who can feel his pain. Like Alex Jones, he’s juggling public and private lives with an entire career on the line.

Even long-time local radio personality Dale Dudley will accept Alex Jones can sometimes be good for a laugh. But watch Jones politely wave as he comes out of a courtroom where he's fighting for his kids and even Dudley will cut him some slack. Dudley explains, “It's a guy's personal life and her personal life. There's not a lot I want to say about it."

Dudley is usually an open book when he’s on the radio, but he tries to protect his family's privacy. Dudley says, “I guess having younger kids at my age, to me I just think about the kids this week."

Jones is fighting for more than his kids. He's built an entire media empire around his on-air presence. And experts say he's risking it all by insisting now that he's a "performance artist" on-air and perfect parent material when he's home. That has UT Journalism Professor Robert Jensen wondering aloud, “If he says essentially ‘I've been conning my listeners with a performance that's not really me,’ it's not only going to lead to listeners saying ‘Well maybe he's not who he says he is,’ it may lead them to say he doesn't believe what he says he believes. And at that point I believe his audience will disappear."

Jones media empire includes a YouTube channel with more than two million subscribers and more than 1.2 billion views. Then there's the Infowars web site with its loyal following. If Jones was to fall, it would be a very long fall indeed.