Howard Sattler to sue 6PR
RAW VISION: Disgraced shock jock Howard Sattler announces his plans to sue former employer Radio 6PR for at least half a million dollars.PT7M22S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zl9u 620 349 December 18, 2013
Disgraced shock jock Howard Sattler is suing his former employer Radio 6PR for at least half a million dollars.
Sattler was sacked from the station in June following an interview with the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in which he asked if her partner Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser, was gay.
He had six months remaining on his contract and said he was unlawfully dismissed.
Howard Sattler is suing Radio 6PR for damages including losing a three-year contract extension he says he was promised. Photo: Jillian McHugh
Sattler, who worked for the station for 30 years, claimed he'd also lost out on a three-year contract extension, which he said was promised to him by senior Fairfax management.
His lawyer, Bruce Havilah, said the reason given to Sattler for his dismissal was that he "failed to act in the best interest of 6PR, failed to represent the program in accordance with the highest professional standards and engaged in conduct which in 6PR's reasonable opinion brings it into disrepute".
But he said the station had previously encouraged Sattler's controversial behaviour.
Howard Sattler and his lawyer Bruce Havilah are confident of succeeding in the claim against his former employer. Photo: Jillian McHugh
"He was always encouraged by the management of 6PR to conduct interviews in a forthright manner and you'll know that it was often controversial," Mr Havilah said.
"It was made clear to him that this approach boosted what is an impressive history of ratings and the associated revenues enjoyed by his employer."
Mr Havliah said Julia Gillard's office accepted, in writing, that the interview would be "candid" and include questions on gay marriage and religion.
The 68-year-old said he regretted the interview only because he lost his job.
"It didn't occur to me at the time it would lead to me being sacked, it never crossed my mind," he said.
Mr Sattler made an on-air apology at the time, at the request of management, but hasn't apologised directly to Gillard.
"I haven't spoken to her privately but I have got a clear indication from her that she was happy to return to the studio later on in the election campaign," Sattler said.
"Although she was indicating that some of the questions were a bit off the wall, she clearly said she'd be back, she was happy to be back, we had to pose for a picture.
"The silly look that some people said I had on my face wasn't a look of embarrassment at all, it was the Parkinson's look."
Sattler revealed his battle with Parkinson's disease earlier in the year, but would not comment on whether he believed it had been a factor in his dismissal.
He said after being out of work for six months he could no longer afford full treatment for the disease and was relying on donations from family and friends.
Since his dismissal, Sattler has rallied his supporters together on a Facebook page – on which he has spoken publicly about his financial battles, including losing his house after the GFC - and said he was focusing his time on social media and his blog.
He said the best result would be an out-of-court settlement.
"It is tragic it would come to this," he said.
"I've given my all for that radio station."
"I still love the people I work with, not for."
Sattler said the issue vould have been rectified and his dismissal was unnecessary - also causing the "unnecessary tarnishing" of his reputation which prevented him from gaining employment elsewhere.
He hoped he would reach an out-of-court settlement with the station.
"Hopefully they will see the wisdom of mediating it otherwise it will become very public," said Mr Havliah.
Radio 6PR general manager Martin Boylen said the station stood by its decision and were consulting with its lawyers on the matter.
Radio 6PR is owned by Fairfax Media, also the publisher of this website.