Sacked: 6PR terminates Howard Sattler
RAW AUDIO: Howard Sattler's on-air contract is terminated effective immediately, announced live on 6PR Perth radio by the station's general manager Martin Boylen.PT0M35S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2o949 620 349 June 14, 2013
Perth Radio broadcaster Howard Sattler intends to take legal action against Fairfax after he was sacked from radio station 6PR following Thursday’s bizarre interview with the Prime Minister.
Ms Sattler said he had six months left on his two-year contract, and is ‘‘flabbergasted’’ at how events have unfolded since the interview.
6PR host Howard Sattler interviewing Julia Gillard in the studio. Photo: Courtesy Channel Ten
"I've given 28 years of my life to this station," Sattler told assembled journalists. "I don’t want a medal or anything for it but I’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. I’d like to think I could have done more good."
Mr Sattler said he was sorry, but says he told Ms Gillard it would be a candid interview and she should have known the question was coming.
In a statement read on air late on Friday afternoon (AEST), the station apologised "unreservedly" for allowing questions about the sexuality of Ms Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, to be raised by Sattler on his Drive program.
Whoops: this photo, since taken down from the 6PR website, was posted after Howard Sattler's bizarre interview with Julia Gillard on Thursday.
"In the wake of yesterday’s interview, Radio 6PR suspended Mr Sattler from Broadcasting pending a review of the matter today," the statement said. "The station has now decided to terminate Mr Sattler’s engagement."
Sattler had been taken off air indefinitely after questioning Ms Gillard on Thursday. Earlier on Friday, Mr Boylen said reaction to the interview on the station’s website had been “pretty much one way” in condemning it as disrespectful and irrelevant.
6PR is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.
Sattler, who later apologised on air for the interview, has found few supporters among his fellow broadcasters.
Former 3AW broadcaster and Seven Network commentator Derryn Hinch branded the Fairfax Radio employee a “coward”.
"This is just low-life stuff and Howard is being a coward on this," he said. "This was low life and it diminished the office of prime minister."
"I thought the prime minister showed a lot of class, a lot of style," Hinch added.
"She should have leaned across the desk and slapped his face."
Sydney radio talkback host Ray Hadley said he would never ask about anyone’s sexuality.
“Of all the things ... I could ask her, that would be the last thing I would choose to ask the prime minister," Hadley told ABC radio. "The sexuality of anyone, be it her partner or anyone else is no one’s business."
Melbourne broadcaster Neil Mitchell said Sattler was a “nice, gentle man” before going on to condemn the interview, which he described as “stupidity on a stick”.
“Now, we all make mistakes, but this was a beauty,” the 3AW presenter said.
In addition the sacking, Mr Sattler has also been dropped from a Liberal Party function, which he was scheduled to host next month in Mandurah.
A party spokeswoman said the fundraiser event has since been called off.
It has been suggested that Sattler’s contentious line of questioning was prompted by sliding listener figures.
Last month his ratings were down 1.1 points to just 8.4 per cent of the audience in his timeslot.
Sattler has also had some widely publicised health problems, reportedly suffering a stroke last year.
Recently, the 67-year-old has spoken about his treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.
No stranger to controversy over the years, New South Wales-born Sattler was caught up in the cash-for-comment furore in 2000 when the Australian Broadcasting Authority examined deals he had with Optus, Qantas and Mitsubishi.
He is also known for being unpredictable in his positions, most recently castigating parents who refused to vaccinate their children.
"Predictable is boring,” he said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2000. “I’ll roll with the flow. I’m prepared to chuck the whole three hours [of scheduled material] if something better comes along. There won’t be any situation where I’m locked in - I’ll throw premiers out of studios, prime ministers off the air, if something better comes along."
Perhaps, his most infamous on-air moment - until yesterday - came when he made the comment “good riddance to bad rubbish” in response to hearing about the deaths of three indigenous car thieves.
He has since repeatedly made the point that he did not know that the dead were aboriginal and therefore the comment was not racist.
A spokesman from Fairfax declined to comment when contacted by The Age on Saturday.
- with AAP and Caroline Zielinski