When the print media rang Paul Fidler to ask whether the James Ashby he knew 10 years ago was the same one that’s currently making headlines with his accusations against Peter Slipper, he had no idea what they were talking about. “I don’t think I could have named the Speaker of the House,” the ACE network’s FM Music Director and Afternoon announcer told radioinfo.
It seems that the newshounds had tracked down Fidler after looking into James Ashby’s police records where they found he’d been charged a decade ago for a series of highly abusive phone calls. At the time, Fidler was working at Newcastle’s NEWFM using the name Jim Morrison. Ashby was at rival NXFM when he began to make anonymous threats against Fidler.
According to a report in News Ltd media, In one call Ashby physically threatened Fidler, stating: “Next time I see you riding on your f … ing bike I’ll hit you, you idiot, all over the sloppy road you dumb prick.”
In another call recorded by Fidler and used as evidence in court, Mr Ashby said: “F. .k it, if I was your mother I would have drowned you at birth.”
Why did Ashby pick on him? Fidler recalls, “Before moving to NEW FM I had spent three and a half years at NXFM doing Drive and as Music Director. I was consistently number one and had a high profile locally known as Jim Morrision. After I “left” NX, he was hired in the same shift and was known as Jimmy on air. I suspect his desire was to put me off my game.”
Fidler, who’s notched up nine years doing Afternoons on the ACE network’s Mixx stream out of Horsham, says he was surprised when the press rang to bring up an incident that occurred so long ago in Newcastle. “Initially, when the story broke Fairfax rang to find out if it was the same James Ashby. Then News rang to check background. At the time, I had no idea what they were talking about. It seemed to be widely reported then that James Ashby had a previous conviction.
“I don’t know how they found me. I suppose we are all easy to find nowadays, one newspaper had my mobile number, the other had left messages at my current station. I blame google :), says Fidler.
He says, “The story (in the media) is mostly accurate, ‘so shaken, I quit and moved’ is a stretch though. In hindsight it was probably a contributing factor, it didn’t do my performance or confidence any favours at the time.”
How did it end up? “I didn’t take it to court, it was a police matter. The calls were made anonymously, it was a few days before the police confirmed where they had come from.
“I did not go to the court proceedings to hear what the judge said, There was no settlement, he was fined, put on a good behaviour bond and then “resigned” i believe. Its in the past for me”, says Paul Fidler.