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Tributes pour in for Adelaide radio icon Philip Satchell


Renowned ABC Radio Adelaide presenter Philip Satchell has died at the age of 83.

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Tributes have poured in for the much-loved announcer who was a fixture of ABC Radio Adelaide during the 1980s and 90s, presenting in every radio timeslot at 891 during his 40-year career with the national broadcaster.

His wife, Cecily Satchell, said he died peacefully last night at the Royal Adelaide Hospital after a long illness.

“Happy for him to be remembered. He is worth remembering,” she told InDaily.

“My heart aches but what a life we’ve had together.”

The veteran broadcaster is survived by his teenage daughter Jemimah and three adult sons – Andrew, Tim and David – from his previous marriage.

Known for his calm and cultivated presenting style and his mastery of the “Satchell pause”, the veteran broadcaster was often able to elicit extra information from interview subjects by letting them fill the void left by his calculated silence.

The ABC said in a statement this morning that Satchell was a “groundbreaking” and “unique” radio figure.

“Philip was much loved by his colleagues for his warmth and generosity especially for younger broadcasters who he routinely shared his experience and insight with,” the ABC said.

“ABC Radio presenters such as David Bevan, Carole Whitelock and the Bald Brothers, Tony McCarthy and John Kenneally, all credit Philip’s support and advice for their development and success behind the microphone.”

The ABC’s local content manager Graeme Bennett said “so many people in the ABC will be very saddened to hear this news”.

“I know that many people will remember Philip’s work – the wonderful warmth that he brought to every single minute of his work with us,” he said on radio this morning.

“For a lot of people, Philip Satchell brought the news of September 11 to so many people here in South Australia, he was present at the funeral of Sir Donald Bradman – there are so many highlights.

“It’s pointless to even try and wrap up what he did in 40 years.”

Born in NSW,  Satchell started his career with the ABC in Sydney and Port Moresby in 1963 before moving to Adelaide in 1969.

He became a member of the Order of Australia in 1988 in recognition of his service to broadcasting. Best known for his time in the mornings and afternoons slots, Satchell aired his last show on September 18, 2003.

Bennett said ABC Radio’s talkback and text lines had been “choked” with the volume of tributes sent by listeners.

“Even in playing a short tribute to Philip on air this morning we were again reminded of just what an outstanding communicator he was,” he said.

-Additional reporting by Genevieve Meegan

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