It could have been quite a case: National Public Radio vs. The World’s Most Downloaded Woman. The woman in question is Danni Ashe, the Web porn entrepreneur whose image has been downloaded a billion-plus times from her Web site, earning her a nod from the Guinness Book of World Records. Fame may open many doors, but it won‘t win special treatment from NPR.
Ashe and her staff at her Marina del Rey offices are big NPR fans. Until recently, if you called Ashe to declare your undying love and got put on hold, you’d be listening to KCRW-FM 89.9, the Santa Monica NPR affiliate. But no more. After a scribe for the online mag Slate reported this fact, NPR‘s legal eagles wrote Ashe asking her to strip — uh, remove — KCRW from her phones.
In response, she fired off an indignant press release. “I’m amazed that anyone at NPR thinks I‘m a threat to their network,” she said. “If they’re surprised that pinup models listen to All Things Considered and Left, Right and Center between photo shoots, or that the people who call my office can appreciate intellectual stimulation, then perhaps they‘re not doing their job of keeping an open mind.”
“We are not singling out Danni Ashe’s organization,” responds NPR spokeswoman Jenny Lawhorn. “This is routine stuff.” Ashe, perhaps correctly, argues that “thousands of companies” play NPR for bored callers, but the network says its contracts with content providers don‘t cover on-hold broadcasts (though NPR stations get a waiver). So if the Slates of the world let the word out, NPR seemingly has no choice but to swoop.
Though miffed, Ashe complied with the order, and a recent caller to her office shunted to hold met with not the dulcet tones of NPR but Star-FM 98.7 in the middle of a tedious block of ads. If you’ve been ogling Ashe and want to move the relationship to the next level, maybe e-mail is best.