Veteran broadcaster Howard Sattler has died at the age of 76 following a degenerative neurological condition.
The controversial radio host, who some credited with introducing a ‘shock jock’ style to Perth airwaves, spent most of his career with Fairfax’s 6PR, now owned by Nine Entertainment.
Over more than 30 years, Mr Sattler hosted 6PR’s Breakfast and Drive programs, but it was the flagship Mornings program where he built a loyal talkback audience with his forthright style.
Mr Sattler, who was also a newspaper editor and columnist, became a vocal campaigner for voluntary euthanasia laws in the years leading up to his death.
Early career spanned newspapers, television
Born in Cootamundra, NSW, Mr Sattler began his career in journalism at the Sydney Morning Herald as a copyboy and journalist.
He was called up for National Service in 1968, during the Vietnam War, and completed officer training before relocating to Perth to take up a public relations role with Defence.
After stints at Channel 7 and several newspapers — including the Sunday Independent, owned by mining magnates Lang Hancock and Peter Wright — Mr Sattler joined 6PR where he would make his name in broadcasting.
Radio host who courted controversy
In 1991, at the height of his career, Mr Sattler became embroiled in a public debate about juvenile crime, which culminated in legislation targeted at young offenders.
After a brief period in Sydney in the early 2000s, Mr Sattler returned to 6PR where he remained for a decade.
In 2013, he was sacked by 6PR owner Fairfax for questioning then-prime minister Julia Gillard about the sexuality of her partner, Tim Mathieson, during a live interview.
Mr Sattler sued Fairfax for wrongful dismissal and the case was settled in 2015.
Despite suffering multiple health conditions, including throat cancer, Mr Sattler continued to broadcast a radio program in his later years, The Sattler Files, via the internet.
In the final years of his life, Mr Sattler wrote on his Facebook page that he had “joined” voluntary assisted dying campaign group Go Gentle Australia.
He used the same Facebook post to urge WA MPs to support proposed voluntary assisted dying laws, which were eventually passed by the WA Parliament in 2019.
“Whether they vote in accordance with their own consciences, they should remember who voted them into office … it is their will that should be reflected when the votes are cast,” Mr Sattler wrote at the time the legislation was being debated.
He is survived by his wife Despene.