James Ashby talks to radioinfo about his day in court

NX FM announcer James Ashby, who resigned after he was charged with “verbally harassing” a rival broadcaster, told radioinfo about what happened in his court appearance last week.


radioinfo: The court appearance is now over. What was the verdict? Ashby: 3 years good behaviour and a $2060 fine.

radioinfo: What actually happened? Ashby: What turned out being an initial joke was taken a little too far and taken a little too seriously.

radioinfo: Did you expect the reaction from Jim Morrison (Paul Fiddler)?

Ashby: I didn’t expect the reaction, that’s why I called Jim immediately after I found out he’d taken them the wrong way and apologised. This was well before any charges were being laid.

radioinfo: How has the court appearance affected you?

Ashby: The court appearance hasn’t affected me at all. It’s made me realise that a lot of what we do in radio can land a lot of us in a the clink if we’re not careful.

BEWARE… Any prank call whether it’s a GOTCHA call or something more serious is regarded as a misuse of the telecommunications act and you CAN be CHARGED for it. Tough lesson to learn, but now I’m aware of it I certainly won’t be doing it again…

Remember that FINE LINE rule PD’s talk about? It exists and I overstepped it.

radioinfo: You resigned from NX FM while the court action was happening. What will happen now – will you seek re-employment there or do you have other plans?

Ashby: I have no plans to seek re employment back at NX… I actually met one of the hopefulls the other day, but I know the position has been filled and that guy’s going to love working with the team here.. That’s the one thing I’ll miss most. The TEAM attitude that lacks in most other networks and stations. Austereo have the team work thing down pat.

radioinfo: Where have you been in your radio career so far?

Ashby: Did a bit of Community radio in Buderim in a station called Access FM… Try saying that every break… Started my first commercial gig in Roma and lasted 6 weeks before leaving.. Didn’t like the 46 degrees everyday.. Went to Gympie and was there for 12 months before being made redundant along with about 4 other people.

Went to Mix FM on the Sunshine Coast where I got so much guidance from a bloke who I hold in high regards – Ross Newth. He rates as one of the best in my books. From Mix FM I went to Rockhampton where I was originally employed to do Mornings but was moved to Breakfast in a matter of weeks on 4RO. I was taken under the wing of Olivia Nelmes now Olivia Scott, who patiently taught me a bucket load to do with Breakfast radio. She later left to have her baby and I helped develop the new Sea FM. I was then partnered up with Sydney yuppie Jo Spargo who was fresh out of radio school and we hated each others guts… but that soon changed and we put together a number 1 rating breakfast show… I unfortunately left on bad terms with Sea FM Rockhampton and was told I would never work in radio again. Famous last words. Did make a lot of good friends up there but also made some of my biggest enemies up there too : )

I was given an opportunity to prove myself at Triple M Brisbane under the guidance of Dave Wilson who I’d spent a little bit of time with when he was PD of Sea FM on the Sunshine Coast and Al Dobie. It wasn’t made easy, with 2am starts to do an OB BBQ.. There I was at 5am in the mornings turning sausages, but still wearing the all important Triple M apron… But I think I re earned my stripes and after just 6 months of working with Triple M Brisbane, was offered a full time position with NX FM Newcastle. Takes a lot of trust for someone to give you a second chance and I still thank Dave and especially Al for that second chance. It was a tough battle staying at NX as long as I did considering RG Capital bought 50% of the business the same week.


radioinfo: I guess you would say this was probably the lowest experience in your career. What has been your best experience in your radio career?

Ashby: No, the lowest experience was seeing my ex breakfast partner hauled through massive media attention for an on air topic relating to indigenous people and not being able to do a thing to help her.

My best experience I’ve had is seeing almost everyone I worked with in Community radio and little country towns like Roma and Rockhampton make something of themselves.. Ron Stanton was PD in Roma and is now music director at Nova Melbourne, Justin Couslon I worked with in Rockhampton and is now at B105. Chris Monahan was also in Rockhampton with me and is now in Perth awaiting the launch of Nova. Olivia Scott was PD in Rocky and is now doing the Mum thing and still working hard casually on the Gold Coast and Jo Spargo, one of my ex breaky partners is doing really well with the ABC down Melbourne way. I think I’ve achieved what I’ve done because the people around me have been of high standard too.

radioinfo: Anything else to tell me?

Ashby: I wouldn’t mind another job : ) Nah, life’s a big lesson and looks like I just learnt another one. Life’s going to be a bit of a holiday jet skiing on the Sunshine Coast until something else comes up and I’ve even thought about going on a three month holiday to the UK to live and learn a bit more. Just need to be a good boy for the next three years.. That means if I upset you, just smack me out, don’t file a law suit.

Also thanks for the support that was offered from the entire staff at NX FM. They’re a really amazing bunch of people who know how to rate their arses off and do it with style. To Mike D and Mike B, it’s been a pleasure and thanks for your support through the whole thing. They were the only two who knew what was going on from start to finish and always stood by me. Cheers!

A replacement for Ashby has now been announced. “Choosing a new Drive host for NX FM was no easy task,” according to the station. There were over 100 formal applications and “most of very high quality.” In the end the services of 2 new recruits were secured.

Daniel Cassin from The River 105.7 at Albury starts on December 16th. Cassin will host Drive and help out Matty as Assistant Music Director.

Also at NXFM, with Doogie’s move into image production Kerryn Atkinson starts as Late Night host, Hot 30 panel operator and Audio Transfer Manager (carting). She is from 2NZ/Gem FM in Inverell.

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